Rumours are swirling after qualifying in Bahrain that Force India was deliberately excluded from Saturday’s ‘world feed’ television coverage.
That coverage is controlled by Formula One Management, the sport’s Bernie Ecclestone-run company. F1 chief executive Ecclestone is believed to have been angry on Friday that Force India sat out the second practice session over security fears.
The 81-year-old Briton offered to ride in the Silverstone based team’s hire vehicles after dark with frightened mechanics and personnel, but revealed late on Friday that they had turned down the offer. Then on Saturday, as Force India returned to the track for the third practice session and qualifying, television viewers noticed that the orange, green and white cars were conspicuously absent from their screens.
That was despite Paul di Resta racing all the way through the three-part qualifying session into Q3.
“You could say it was Bernie’s revenge, I couldn’t comment,” The Times’ Kevin Eason said on Twitter.
Another journalist, Adam Hay-Nicholls, joked that the Force India blackout “could be season-long unless the team goes grovelling to Mr E”.