A press release has just ticked in on the board. Lotus F1 is letting us know, that the previous very positive statement from the organisers of the Bahrani GP, that the teams wanted to come and race in Bahrain, has nothing to do with anything the Lotus team has said.
An earlier statement from the Bahraini organisers insisted that at least two unnamed Lotus officials, were very positive about the race and that they did not expect any types of protests, perhaps only minor groups and a couple of banners.
“Yes there is a need to keep the circuit and the teams secure and they are doing this and they feel very comfortable about the arrangements. If there is going to be protestation then it will be confined to peaceful protests – you will maybe see some banners being waved and maybe some tyres on fire but that is all that they expect. We came away from Bahrain feeling a lot more confident that everything is in hand and to be honest if it wasn’t for a few more police you wouldn’t know any difference from the last year we were there.”
The above is the so-called quote from the two unnamed Lotus officials, but later Tuesday evening April 10, Lotus has issued the following statement:
Earlier today, the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) issued a press release attributing quotes to our team showing support for the Bahrain GP. These quotes were part of a full internal and confidential working document, that was also sent on a confidential basis to all F1 team managers last week. Lotus F1 Team is one of 12 contestants of the Formula 1 World Championship and we would never try to substitute ourselves for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), which is the only party entitled to determine if a Grand Prix should go ahead or not, and we endorse the FOTA statement that was issued earlier to this effect.
Aujourd’hui, le Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) a émis un communiqué de presse comportant des déclarations de notre équipe en faveur du Grand Prix de Bahreïn. Les déclarations choisies étaient issues d’un document de travail complet, interne et confidentiel, qui a été envoyé à tous les teams managers de F1, également sur une base confidentielle, la semaine dernière. Lotus F1 Team est l’un des 12 concurrents du Championnat du Monde de Formule 1 et n’envisagerait jamais de se substituer à la la seule entité habilitée à décider si un Grand Prix devait avoir lieu, la Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Par ailleurs, nous soutenons la déclaration émise par la FOTA précédemment sur le sujet.
Chairman of Bahrain International Circuit, Zayed Al Zayani, said earlier Tuesday, that
“What has been happening is that armchair observers – who have not been sufficiently interested or committed to investigate the situation for themselves – have been driving this debate, at the expense of those neutral parties who have taken the trouble to investigate the situation at first hand. This, combined with the scaremongering tactics of certain small extremist groups on social networking sites, has created huge misconceptions about the current situation.
“We have welcomed a number of people to Bahrain over the last few weeks, who have all been able to find out for themselves that the Kingdom is ready to host Formula One next month. I therefore urge all stakeholders in the sport to listen to those with an informed, educated view of the situation and to form their views on the facts of the situation, as presented by neutral first-hand observers.”
Lotus supports a statement from seven of the twelve teams, not including Red Bull, Ferrari, Sauber, Toro Rosso and HRT:
‘There’s been some media speculation recently to the effect that the Teams may seek to cancel this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix. That would not be possible. Teams are unable to cancel Grands Prix,’ says FOTA.
We race in an international series called the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and it is therefore for the FIA to offer the Teams guidance on these issues.’
Trouble is that while Al Zayani may think that he is putting out the fire by abusing ‘unnamed Lotus officials’, he is in fact making it a lot worse. The event might take place, but now the decision to go there has been left for the teams to decide. And with the statements from Bahrain and Lotus today, clearly showing two very different approcahes and two very diferent ways to inform the people, all we know right now, is that nothing is clear.