Force India absent from TV coverage of F1 qualifier

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 22-04-2012

Questions have been raised in Formula 1 after images of Force India cars were excluded from the hour-long television coverage of the qualifying session for today's controversial Bahrain Grand Prix.
The team's cars were absent from the TV feed of both the final practice and qualifier, just a day after the Silverstone-based team declined to participate in Friday's second practice due to safety concerns in the Gulf island state.
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, whose company provides the international TV feed, claimed the move was not deliberate.
"It could be technical, but I suspect it was more to do with the Bahrain laws on no alcohol advertising. They have a whisky company prominently on the car. They should have taken it off. The TV could not show that," Ecclestone is quoted as saying by UK newspaper The Sun.
Following his comments, the McLaren and Sauber teams have both reportedly now removed advertising for alcoholic drinks from their cars for the race.
Ecclestone added that his TV crew "were more or less concentrating on who was going to be on pole, rather than somebody going to be 10th" (the position Force India's Paul Di Resta finished in Saturday's qualifying session).
Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley declined to comment to journalists.
Four members of the Force India team were caught up in an anti-government protest in Manama on Wednesday (18 April), where riot police used tear gas to dispel protesters throwing petrol bombs. Two Force India team members have since flown home over security concerns in Bahrain.