Formula One leader Bernie Ecclestone has said that he is willing to meet opposition members leading up to this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, as anti-government protests continue to carry on in the country.
Ecclestone, who met with opposition group Al-Wefaq last year in both London and Bahrain, said that he was “happy to talk to anybody about this” according to Reuters’ Alan Baldwin.
“We don’t want to see trouble,” the British billionaire said. “We don’t want to see people arguing and fighting about things we don’t understand, because we really don’t understand… Some people feel it’s our fault there are problems.”
Indeed, multiple rights groups, as well as some British politicians, have called for either a boycott or outright cancellation of the Grand Prix. Allegations of the Bahrain government rounding up activists ahead of the race continue to persist, and the unrest in the country threatens to once again overshadow its biggest international sporting event.
“The race is going ahead and our position is quite simply to call it out for what it is — it is a political event which will serve to gloss over serious rights violations,” Human Rights Watch research Nicholas McGeehan said to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, 1996 World Champion Damon Hill has demanded that FIA president Jean Todt take a stance on the Grand Prix itself. He also says that the F1 paddock doesn’t want any violence to ensue because of their presence.
“I think the vast majority of the people in Formula One would like to say ‘We don’t want to come here to make things worse for people,'”‘ Hill said to British reporters at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. ” ‘We would like you to enjoy Formula One, we think Formula One has lots of positive things to offer, but please don’t, on our behalf, round up people and brutalize them.’ “‘
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.