411: Kubica, Bahrain and The Chain

Think it’s about time I started these up again, a truckload of gossip/rumour/news has gone down since the last 411, so without further delay…

Update on Robert Kubica:

When Robert Kubica seriously injured himself in Italy during a rally stage in Andora, it was the power of Twitter that alerted the world to what was going on. 140 characters weren’t enough to convey the exact details, but as the day went on one thing was clear, Kubica was not going to make it to Bahrain. He had crashed, at high speed, into a church wall, then into a barrier not long after the start. From images taken of the severely damaged car, a section of the barrier had entered the driver’s footwell. It took the rescue crews on site an hour to remove Kubica from his Renault Skoda Fabia, and after being airlifted to hospital reports began surfacing regarding his injuries. Inflammatory reporting from Yahoo! led some to believe that he was undergoing an operation to amputate his arm. However an official press statement was released by Renault we understood the extend of his injuries, diagnosed with multiple fractures to his right arm, leg and hand.

He has remained stable since arriving at the hospital, but the most worrying aspects of his condition were sparking thought in the F1 community. Broken bones heal (see Mark Webber), but the intricacies of the hand structure could leave Kubica with mobility issues that would surely end his career. The damage to his right hand was the biggest concern to the team, but the skill of a surgeon resulted in a successful (7 hour) surgery and a positive press conference afterwards. Extolling the virtues of quick healing athletes, fans and the industry rejoiced.

As it stands today, he is in good spirits after being visited by many of the drivers, including Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and teammate Vitaly Petrov. Although his desire for Vitantonio Liuzzi to replace him fell on deaf ears, the German driver Nick Heidfeld has instead been offered Kubica’s seat after topping the timesheets in Jerez on day two. Robert Kubica remains in hospital, and has so far endured around 24 hours worth of surgery. But his situation isn’t far from the paddock’s thoughts, in Jerez teams added a little something extra to their liveries.

UPDATE:

Robert Kubica has now been moved from the Intensive Care Unit into rehab, and so commences the long and ardous task of getting back behind the wheel of his car. Reports from the hospital say that there are no post-surgery infections and the Polish driver is determined to return to the grid before the season ends. I suspect a full race might be out of reach this year, but I’m sure we’ll see KUB flying around a Friday practice or two before November ends.

Bahrain GP in peril:

A wave of protests have swept North Africa and the Middle East, echoing the events in Egypt over the last few weeks, and violence is escalating in Bahrain. The demonstrators are out in peaceful force demanding full democracy for their nation, they want an elected prime minister and the monarchy to assume a ceremonial role. In conjunction with this they also want to see an improvement in general living conditions. For us already living in a democratic society, it hard to truly comprehend why this means so much to those protesting. As it stands Bahrain’s royal family is in total control of the country, the King’s uncle is the prime minister and has been for 40 years.

Regards to the situation in Bahrain and the impending Formula 1 test and season-opener, it’s not looking good. Today two GP2 races in the Asia Series have been cancelled. originally the Thursday practice had just been delayed, but after medical staff were advised to remain at hospitals in case of emergency, it was deemed unsafe to continue. Reports vary, but between 2-4 have been killed, and at least 250 have been injured. Tanks are making their presence known on  the streets, and rubber bullets have been fired as police cleared a camp near the capital Manama.

Huge doubts are being raised against the possibility of Bahrain being able to host the testing session the week before the first race on March 13th. Jean Todt has declared he is taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach in order to avoid making a rash decision. Bernie Ecclestone has spoken to the Crown Prince this morning, but seemingly hasn’t gained any extra information. His stance on the subject is a little more negative, “It’s not good is it?” The teams are heading to Barcelona as I type for their 3rd round of testing ahead of the 2011 season, no doubt this will be the hot topic of conversation for all involved.

UPDATE:

As of 21/02/2011 the Bahrain Grand Prix has been postponed and the last round of the Winter testing has been cancelled and has been relocated to Barcelona. The first race of the season will instead be held in Australia. Bernie Eccelstone has been in communication with Prince Salman and allowed Bahrain to make the right decision for themselves. Praise (and relief) has been offered from all levels of the sport teams and drivers alike, and the FIA has released a statement supporting the decision.

On a lighter note:

Things might be looking dire, but there is some good goings on as well. Not least #BEARDWATCH, a call to take over Belgium and an idea to replace the stricken Bahrain race with a rousing game of F1 2010 (with the drivers of course)

Hamilton 2.0

It’s rather unfair to call him this, but let’s be honest, it’s hard not to. Nick Hamilton is following his big brothers well placed footsteps and, at 19 years old he’s competing in the UK Renault Clio Cup. He has just received his National B Race Licence, and has made preparations by testing the 2010 Clio Cup car. What make this challenge harder is doing it with cerebral palsy, but he hopes that he “can inspire others who face various challenges in their lives.”

Get the Chain to Number One!

Why ever would you need this explained? It’s simple, follow them on twitter > @thechainnumber1 like them on > Facebook and of course, buy the single at the right time! With all the drama going on at the moment, it would be nice to showcase Formula One to the global stage as a group of passionate fans who love their sport, and who, unlike others, can come together regardless of who they support. The Chain signifies (for BBC viewers at least) that it’s F1 time, those heart stirring beats creeping out of the speakers can make the hair stand up on your neck. The countdown is over, Eddie Jordan is momentarily silenced, the lights go out…

If you love F1 (even if you have it already) you have to buy this track, #TeamF1, #teambutton, #teampitgirls it doesn’t matter…go buy it!

UPDATE:

Due to the first race of the season now being in Australia rather than Bahrain, the dates have shifted. To get it to be number one at the correct time, start buying on the 13th March to get it to the top of the charts by March 20th.

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