Environmental organisation Greenpeace disrupted the pre- and post-race ceremonies at the Belgian Grand Prix to protest the activities of the race’s title sponsor Shell.
A 65-foot banner was erected opposite the pits and Paddock Club in the minutes leading up to the start of the race and Greenpeace slogans were displayed next to Shell advertising elsewhere on the circuit. Two paragliders also displayed anti-Shell banners above the circuit prior to the start.
Following the race two banners in front of the podium were activated via remote control while the national anthems were being played for the race winner. Formula One Management avoided showing the banners on the television broadcast while they were removed by an FIA official (see video).
Meanwhile more protesters abseiled onto the top of the podium to display other banners. One was halted by security while another, named by Greenpeace as Julia Ritschard, was able to display her banner.
Some of the crowd booed in response to the protesters which confused the drivers on the podium. Race winner Sebastian Vettel said: “We are a bit confused down here because the crowd is booing and cheering and booing and we don’t understand why.” David Coulthard, who was conducting the podium interviews, replied: “We’re not going to highlight why that is at the moment.”
Greenpeace said 35 people were involved in the protests, some of which were arrested.
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.