The Bahrain Grand Prix had all the ingredients. Tight qualifying, great racing, appalling pit stops by a top team. Only two cars not classified as finishers. Obscene little index fingers pointing in the air. Fizzy water, and banal and pointless, fear controlled, interviews. Not fear of the Bahraini people but fear of retribution for not towing the official FOM line, with one notable exception:
"Yeah, I am pleased the weekend is over. There should be no real celebrations today. We can leave. We saw the size of the crowd today."
said Mark Webber on Sunday
According to one of the organizers, Hamad Al-Khalifa (recognise the name?) it had a massive crowd, one tenth of the entire population of Bahrain turned out to see the race, over 28,000 ecstatic F1 fans were in attendance, really? (Apparently this is about one quarter of the crowd for the British Grand Prix). WHERE WERE THEY?
Photos taken on the grid show the main, and almost only grandstand had pale blue seats, and hundreds of them were empty. Aerial shots of the circuit on race day show the massive car parks to the rear of the grandstand to be only about a quarter full.
The crowd size was impressive compared to first practice on Friday when someone counted the crowd at the beginning as 58, swelling to almost double by the end.
Why, oh why, do these 'officials' continue telling lies and pretending that all is well in Bahrain, when social media and photographs (pall of black smoke, from burning tyres, north of the circuit during the race) prove otherwise.
Bernies treatment of Force India for their stance on Friday, his totally uncalled-for sarcasm, offering to ride with them if they were afraid, was deeply offensive. The blanking of Force India cars throughout qualifying as a punishment (and the totally b******t, booze logo's according to Bernie, excuse for it). In case you are wondering Force India featured, in the background of other cars for three tenths of a second in one hour of coverage.
The pre-eminent re-emergence of Force India on race day, almost to overkill proportions, following massive internet postings about manipulated television coverage, still bearing logo's for Kingfisher Beer, White & Mackay and Vladivar vodka.
If blatant and overt manipulation of the media and outright lies is the future of Formula One then it is going to lose a lot of support in the future, if it hasn't done already.