In a special edition of Reporters this week, we are looking back at the first six months 2018 bring you the biggest and best stories from that time of year.
January – Over Christmas Lewis Hamilton caused a Twitter storm after a Instagram after posting a video saying he was ‘ashamed’ of his nephew for wearing a princess’s dress. But why did that post cause so much out cry on social media?
Hamilton causes Twitter storm
Lewis Hamilton caused controversy last week because of a post on Instagram. The four times world champion posted a video appearing to mock his nephew for wearing a princesses dress on Christmas day.
Hamilton later took down the post and tweeted an apology, however, he was criticised further after he liked replies which said there was no need to apologise and give into the “PC brigade.”
In a series of Tweets, Hamilton wrote “’Yesterday I was playing around with my nephew and realised that my words were inappropriate so I removed the post. “I meant no harm and did not mean to offend anyone at all. I love that my nephew feels free to express himself as we all should.”
“My deepest apologies for my behaviour as I realise it is really not acceptable for anyone, no matter where you are from, to marginalise or stereotype anyone. ‘I have always been in support of anyone living their life exactly how they wish and I hope I can be forgiven for this lapse in judgement.”
In the initial Instagram video, Hamilton told his 5.7 million followers: ”I’m so sad right now. Look at my nephew.” The camera then moved to a young boy wearing a blue and pink princess dress and waving around a pink heart-shaped furry wand.
Hamilton asked the small child: ”Why are you wearing a princess dress? Is this what you got for Christmas?” When his nephew said yes, Hamilton replied: ”Why did you ask for a princess dress for Christmas?”
He then shouted: ”Boys don’t wear princess dresses!” That prompted the youngster to covers his ears with his hands and turn away.
January – Dan Gurney you may not have heard of him but the former driver died this week. But how did this little known American impact Formula One?
Former F1 driver and inventor Dan Gurney dies aged eighty-six
The former Formula One driver Daniel ‘Dan’ Gurney has died aged eighty-six. The American was the first driver to spray champagne on the
His first taste of F1 came at the non-championship Riverside Grand Prix, which attracted the attention of Ferrari. He made his F1 debut the following season with podiums at the Nurburgring and in Lisbon.
On his debut in Portugal, he was the fastest of the Ferrari’s, before fourth place at Monza. But his relationship with the Scuderia became strained and he left for BRM.
His time with BRM was marked only by unreliability, frustration and tragedy. A brake failure in the Dutch Grand Prix caused a crash that broke his arm and killed a spectator.
He then spent the next two seasons with Porsche where he finished fourth and fifth in the championship. His time with Porsche saw him take the first pole at the Nurburgring and his first wins at Rouen-les-Essart, plus the non-championship round at Solitude.
When Porsche pulled out at the end of 1962, he teamed up with Jack Brabham who saw his potential as a driver with a engineers brain. Dan was the man who broke through to score this new constructor’s first championship triumph, at Rouen once more.
If he had stayed with the team he could have been champion the following season, but he joined Colin Chapmen at Lotus.
He was already quicker than the proprietor himself, who in turn was quicker than the man he brought in to replace Gurney, Denny Hulme. It was Brabham and Hulme who won the titles in those two years. But Dan, having seen both Brabham and, thanks to Indy car racing, Lotus, from the inside, decided to strike out on his own as a constructor.
It was his engineering smarts that saw the invention of what is now known as the Gurney flap, a small lip to add to wings which multiplied the downforce they provided for minimal additional drag.
February – The sport has used grid girls for decades, but that practice was banned from this season. So why have the sports owners Liberty Media made the decision to axe them and what does it say about their vision for the future?
Grid girls dropped for 2018
Liberty Media has announced that Formula One will stop using grid girls from the season-opening race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix. In December, motorsport managing director Ross Brawn told BBC News that the use of female promotional models was “under review”.
In a statement on F1.com, commercial director Sean Bratches said “While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 grands prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms.”
“We don’t believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.” Last week the Professional Darts Corporation said walk-on girls will no longer be used at events.
The role of the grid had been to hold grid numbers and flags before the races. But in recent years the practice has been under scrutiny, the World Endurance Championship abandoned the practice in 2015.
A Formula One statement said the time on the grid ahead of the race would be used “as one of celebration, where guests and various performers can add to the glamour and spectacle of the grand prix, enabling promoters and partners to showcase their countries and products.”
March – The civil war and fight against Islamic State in Syria entered it seventh year this week. But new reports suggest the FIA handed grants from its Formula One cuts to the regime of President Assad via Syrian Automobile Club. So why has it knowingly done this?
US questions links between F1 and Syria
An investigation by Forbs has unearthed yet more links between Formula One and the Syrian government. Last August, it was reported that the sport’s governing body the FIA handed grants from the F1 profits to the Syrian Automobile Club (SAC).
Now its emerged that Liberty has been questioned the US government’s Securities and Exchange Commission last August and the stock market regulator the following month when it filed its 10-K annual report.
A letter from the government to Liberty asked it to explain “the nature and extent of any past, current, and anticipated contacts with Sudan and Syria.”
Both Syrian and Sundanese governments are listed by the US as “state sponsors of terrorism,” and are subject to international sanctions because of the civil wars in the countries.
Liberty says they don’t directly deal with contracts as TV rights are negotiated on a regional basis in the Middle East and Africa.
In a reply to the SEC sent on 28 August Carleton said that “neither Liberty nor any of its subsidiaries have had any direct contacts with Sudan and Syria, and any indirect contacts have been minimal.”
However, the investigation into the FIA’s links with the Syrian Government continues. Last year, an ITV investigation reviled that the FIA gave money to the government for a rally in 2013 and held meetings with the minister for tourism.
The terms of the current Concorde Agreement, allows the FIA to use the money for grants to support less wealthy ASN’s to run national championships.
But it believes that the rallies in Syria are being used as a propaganda by the Assad regime. The SAC posted in 2016 “he eleventh Championship of Rally, organized by Syrian Automobile Club, and sponsored by Syrian ministry of tourism.”
In a statement, Liberty said “It is not within our remit to influence or determine how the FIA promotes, develops and regulates motorsport, nor how its funds are applied. We are satisfied that we are in full compliance with applicable sanctions.”
The FIA added, “all grants are subject to rigorous internal scrutiny and the FIA will continue to lead the way in ensuring compliance as it strives to put in place best practice.”
May – in April, Formula One will reach a milestone a thousandth Grand Prix… but where? One idea was to hold the race where it began Silverstone. However, why was ;
No 1,000th race for Silverstone
Formula One has decided not to move next years British Grand Prix to April so it could be 1000th Grand Prix because of “sub optimal” weather.
The sports owners Liberty Media were considering swapping the Chinese Grand Prix with Silverstone, which held the first world championship race in 1950. However, Commercial Managing Director Sean Bratches admitted he had underestimated the volatility of the climate in the UK.
Bratches told Reuters “Silverstone was the first grand prix and we would have liked to see the 1,000th go back to the first. I think there’s a nice story and a nice harmony there.”
“But when I was told, being a relatively new Brit, that the weather is sub-optimal in April, they warded me off that quickly.” The race look set to be held in Shanghai, which is seen by Liberty as a key growth market,
Speaking about China, he said, “We’ve spent a lot of time on this topic and looking at different circumstances, weather patterns. China is a great place to race. It’s part of our future and we’re excited about going there for that particular race.”
And that’s all from this special edition of Reporters, next week we will look back at the first six months of 2018. Join us next week when we will look at the last six months, happy Christmas!