Force India has refused to comment on claims that its television exposure during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix was deliberately kept to a minimum because of the team's decision to skip Friday afternoon's second free practice session.
The team's screen time during qualifying appeared to be very limited in Q1 and Q2 despite Paul di Resta qualifying in the top 10 in what one team member described to AUTOSPORT as "payback" for the refusal to run.
Di Resta did not attempt a lap in Q3, but did complete an in- and an out-lap. Di Resta himself admitted that he was aware of the comments about what happened, but declined to make any further comment on the situation when pressed.
"I have seen some stuff on Twitter but I was sat in the car driving," said the Scot. "So I saw my car."
Bernie Ecclestone, whose FOM company is responsible for producing the live coverage, scotched the suggestions that Force India was deliberately ignored. He insisted that fans are interested only in front-runners, hence the lack of Force India screen time.
"Nobody cares if someone is ninth or 11th," Ecclestone told the Reuters news agency . "Only the people that are watching a particular team. I spoke to our people and they were more or less concentrating on who was going to be on pole, rather than somebody going to be 10th."