Todt’s election rival wants Bahrain race investigation

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David Ward, who is standing for election against FIA president Jean Todt, says questions should be asked over why Formula One is continuing to race in the troubled state of Bahrain.

The Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled in 2011 after the government’s suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations left several protesters dead and hundreds more injured. Despite an ongoing state of emergency in the area attempts were made to hold the race in 2011 and it was eventually reinstated the following year.

Ward told the BBC in an interview an investigation was needed into the suitability of Bahrain as a grand prix venue.

“Look at things on the ground, talk to all sides as far as is possible and make a judgement based on that.”

The FIA conducted its own investigation into the situation in 2011 which produced a favourable verdict. But the report was discredited when the race ultimately failed to go ahead.

Ward said Todt had been poorly served by the report, which was written by Spanish motoring club president Carlos Gracia.

“I think he was rather badly served in that mission [to Bahrain],” said Ward. “I felt sorry for him, actually.”

Bahrain has been allocated a place on the 2014 F1 calendar which was released last week.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”