Situation worsens in Bahrain as GP2 Asia race is cancelled

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2010

The political situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate, putting the running of next month’s season-opening F1 race in jeopardy.

The government has used security forces to break up demonstrations by protesters demanding political reform. At least two people have been killed and over a hundred have been injured.

The practice sessions for tomorrow’s GP2 Asia races have been cancelled as medical crews are being deployed elsewhere.

GP2 reporter Will Buxton said on Twitter that some of the teams are staying near Pearl Roundabout, where much of the violence has taken place:

“Hearing that some GP2 teams are staying near Pearl Roundabout and have been told not to go back to their hotels.”

There are also reports of foreign journalists being denied access to the country. Writing on his blog, Buxton added:

“We arrived in Bahrain last night, and the airport was relatively quiet. Despite this, I and about five of my colleagues had our passports taken away with no explanation.

“After a 15 minute wait, our passports were returned, again with no real explanation as to where they had been taken or what had been done with them other than that it was part of new procedure. How this will work over the Grand Prix weekend when the airport is set to become far busier and with a sudden and vast influx of international media remains to be seen.”

This week’s GP2 Asia races were scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday.

F1 is due to test at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 3rd-6th ahead of the first race of the season.

Update: The GP2 Asia race has been cancelled. The series organisers issued the following statement:

“Following the current events in Bahrain, at the request of the Bahrain Motorsport Federation, it has been decided that the remainder of the meeting which was supposed to take place this week at Bahrain International Circuit is cancelled due to force majeure.”

Follow ongoing updates from Bahrain using the F1 Fanatic Live Twitter app

Image ?? Mercedes

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

297 comments on “Situation worsens in Bahrain as GP2 Asia race is cancelled”

  1. it’s sad that f1 season will be delayed – but that is a minor problem compared to the problems the protesters have.

    1. It didn’t say that the season would definately be delayed.

      1. i am predicting it will.

        1. I suspect we are in for a very turbulent season with a very different type of politics causing huge amounts of drama.

          F1 is a hugely international sport which draws a large international media presence… I suspect that the populations of many countries will see this as an opportunity to get their voices heard and foment the kinds of pressure required to deal with the corrupt and ineffective political systems that rule many of the countries that F1 visits.

          1. If these protests in the middle east are going to be a domino effect, what are the chances that Abu Dhabi is cancelled too… :P

          2. Probability of Abu Dhabi getting affected is high, however, come the end of the season, I’m sure the issue will either have subsided or be resolved. I’m not complaining about Bahrain and Abu Dhabi being scrapped though.

          3. why not just hold the race at the Qatar circuit. it’s nearby so the freight could move by road.

          4. To the poster who postulated Abu Dhabi could be cancelled – Abu Dhabi, and indeed the UAE as a whole, is one of the more enlightened Gulf states.

            Don’t get me wrong, it’s by no means perfect, but I don’t think there’s enough discontent there to try to topple the government. Certainly, it’s a very wealthy country and a lot of the people living there are extremely wealthy foreign nationals who would have no motivation to join a revolution.

            The only problems I can foresee are issues with the many migrant workers that Abu Dhabi, Dubai etc employ in their construction industries. It is held worldwide that they are exceptionally badly treated by their employees and the government in this regard. However, much like the depression of the 1930s, one suspects that it is such easily replaceable labour that the migrants would not dare risk whatever job they already hold. It’s sad but true. I don’t foresee any problems in Abu Dhabi as far as the F1 race there is concerned.

        2. I’m hoping for a move to a different track that can accomodate F1; not a Tilke bore-drome. It’d be a win-win! The people of Bahrain get the political reform the deserve and desire and we don’t have to watch a race on that awful track!

          1. Abu Dhabi said it could host F1 test session atleast.

          2. Indy is wide open!!

          3. How about 2 races in Melbourne!!

      2. Bernie’s rubbing his hands.

        Especially if the grand prix doesn’t go ahead, the amount of exposure it will grab F1 for the actual season starter will be tremendous. Plus he’ll have stipulations and such that they won’t be losing money if the event holder pulls out.

    2. I say cancel the god damn Bahrain GP! It’s not a loss anyway. Just another Operation Dessert Storm GP. And they suck.

      1. mmmmm operation dessert storm, I can see trifles, gateaux, ice-creams and pies all flying through the sky right now, maybe Kimi will make a return after all?

      2. It’s not about the race.

        1. Karan, you couldn’t be more right. This is not about our GP2/F1 races! This is about people!

          My best to all those in Bahrain :(

      3. I AGREE. Bernie labled Europe a third-world-country-to-be and took us on a Middle Eastern/Asian spree. Now look where it’s getting us. It’s going to snowball.

    3. That’s what you get for being greedy bernie. Keep F1 where people have heard of it. Not these crazy off the wall places. He frustrates me so much. It’s sooo hard not to swear at him. I think he should give F1 fans the millions of money he got from the priceipality.

      1. Its not a crazy off the wall place… Its only “off the wall” if you are from the other side of the world. And then from the Asians side, your location is considered “off the wall”.

        You need to travel more, or at least open the windows and look outside.

          1. *(with infy) !!!

        1. No, it’s off teh wall because there is almost NOTHING nearby as far as well developed, and stable, countries. It is also a place where the outright exploitation of locals and foreigners is used by the government with little to no compensation. Income disparities throughout the middle east are frankly ridiculous and twenty years ago, these cities were not considered for much of anything, let alone a GP. They always felt to me like they were built on unstable, false wealth (credit, corner cutting, etc.) as most of these sudden “modern” cities throughout the middle east have suddenly sprung up without any real, serious improvement of the quality of life for the average citizen (hence the protests).

          1. Man why should income disparities and economic conditions be a factor for hosting an F1 race?
            According to your theory, the Brazilian GP, Indian GP and Chinese GP shouldn’t exist. This is formula 1 and not ‘1st world country racing’. As long as there are fans who enjoy the sport in a particular country, as well as a good circuit/infrastructure, the country should be able to host it.

            Dont talk your mouth off about exploitation of locals and foreigners, and cutting corners in economic growth, when you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

          2. F1 is not about politics and neither is football (another sport hosted in “off the wall”).

            Bahrainian economy is not built on credit or corner cutting, in fact with few oil reserves they have diversified since the early 90s. Especially into banking, creating a consumer economy and travel/tourism.

          3. Spaulding, I understand what you are getting at. Income isn’t a requirement, but building track specific courses costing hundreds of millions of dollars in a land where the people can’t afford the tickets to watch the race is pretty messed up in my estimation.
            Todford should take one of his own lessons on not “talk[ing] [his] mouth off” when he apparently has “no idea what [he’s] talking about.”
            I believe in the good nature of most people on this planet, but I can only guess at the sort of odd reactionary responses that are occasionally uttered on here. Those who are, apparently, so ‘expert’ in middle eastern economies should do a better job explaining what the people of those areas are complaining about it they are so “diversified” and not exploited as a few around this reply have stated.
            The signs that things are wrong are pretty apparent; we are seeing it pop up like acne on a teenager right now.

            When incomes match the ticket prices, then the people have succeeded. Until then, it is silly that such a tremendous expenditure of money be spent on tracks with countries lacking the available fans to fill the empty seats.

        2. Agree with you.

      2. he is a dictator like the rest. And brutalized the sport taking it to these places, nobody care about.
        In the perfect world, he would be acountable for the f1 crimes. Just kidding.
        But they must be thinking. Do we want to be associated with this regime? The world is changing, and they should act accordingly. I remember when they stopped going to south africa because of the apartheid. And i am sure they are thinking about it.

        1. Bernie a dictator? That’s pretty funny.

          Commercially yes he is in control, but the racing is handled by the FIA with CVC being the licence holder for the comemrcials.

          Bernie is not in control of the sport he just has a firm control on it continuing making money.

  2. The latest tweets show it looks pretty bad. No journalists being let into the country, 3 dead and 300 wounded, etc.

    I very much feel, that testing should be postponed or moved to somewhere else certainly.
    The race is another week away, but I would hope Bernie is seriously looking at the options right now.

    1. I wonder if we might be about so see the first F1 sessions at Losail or the Dubai Autodrome (i.e. the two non-F1 circuits in the area).

      I can’t see Bernie moving the race out of the Middle East, but might he consider changing the venue?

      1. Maybe a street race in Dubai…

        1. would they be able to build that sort of infrastructure in time?! it’d be extremely challenging, although not impossible.

    2. They should just stay in Europe a bit longer. They can have the test at Algarve.

      Bas Leinders has suggested they move the Bahrain GP to Magny-Cours. That seems as good as any, we need a French GP on the calendar, and Magny-Cours has all the infrastructure ready, and could probably get a group of marshalls together in a short period.

      1. I saw that as well. Good idea for the test at least. Paul ricard should be OK as well as some other places in Europe.

        Then they postpone the decision of weather to travel to Bahrain or not to see weather the situation improves or just cancel the event just like the GP2.

        1. They should just come to Kyalami. Europe is so dull.

          1. ha! no thanks! they ruined that circuit with more slow turns than an eighties perm!

          2. Didn’t you just criticise someone else for judging a different region of the world?

      2. I think Magny Cours might be a bit too chilly for a race in March

  3. hopefully the grand prix can go ahead. but if not then it must be delayed and not canceled. maybe have it towards the end of the season near the abu dhabi GP

    1. Just been watching the news. I would be surprised if this situation can be resolved before F1 arrives. Perhaps the organisers should consider another venue in the region.

      1. I suspect it probably will be resolved in the next month…. but the ramifications of how this unrest is resolved may make holding the GP difficult and or dangerous… thats assuming its possible at all….

        The entire Middle East is seething with political unrest so its unlikely that another venue in the area could be found, let along brought upto F1 standards in time… and thats before even considering what it would mean to the teams, media and supporters to shift venues. This also applies to delaying the GP…

        What happened last year with the volcano is a drop in the ocean when it comes to inconvenience when compared to troubles swapping venues or postponing races would create.

    2. I hope the protesters lose. If they win and there is reform, then its going to start a brand new cycle of corruption and poverty.

      1. As opposed to the old style of corruption and poverty?

        I’m sure that they are not just protesting because they are bored.

      2. Are you serious!

        You are standing up for a dictatorship?

        These protesters were just sitting peacefully in the square when they suffered a full on assault by the police! How can you stand up for that sort of behavior. At least if the protesters win and there are elections then there is a chance that the people will be free to elect their own leaders.

        The race should be canceled and it should be made clear that it has been canceled in reaction to the treatment of innocent people by the brutality of the government. F1 should stand up and be counted.

        And if Bernie and the FIA refuse to do anything then the drivers should not turn up.

        1. Iran was protesting against the dictator (shah). They got what they wanted and now they are protesting against that.

          I’d say infy has a point.

          1. They got what they wanted? O_o you should read up on the Iranian revolution – what most people wanted was a liberal democracy, but then the revolution was basically hijacked by a single-minded, dictatorial faction; which is an unfortunate pattern in many revolutions. Infy’s comment is totally ludicrous.

  4. I know sports and politics should stay far away from each other. But to hold F1 race in a country where last night peaceful protesters have literally had their head blown off (see the extremely graphic pictures on the internet), would be a big mistake. Call off the F1 race now!

    1. Cambo, totally agree

    2. Couldn’t have said it better.

    3. But to hold F1 race in a country where last night peaceful protesters have literally had their head blown off (see the extremely graphic pictures on the internet), would be a big mistake. Call off the F1 race now!

      Formula 1 races in a country that sanctioned medical experiments on people of a state the occupied. People had their limbs removed and attached on opposite sides. They had their stomachs removed and their oesophagus attached directly to their intestines. They were injected with anthrax and the plague and subject to live dissection without anaesthesia to study how the diseases affected the body. They were hung upside down to see how long it would take them to choke to death. They had horse urine injected into their kidneys to see what would happen. They were exposed to lethal doses of x-rays. They were placed in centrifuges and spun until they died.

      These deaths weren’t a part of mass protests where casualties were almost a foregone conclusion. They were prionsers of war subject to medical torture sanctioned by the Japanese government.

      So tell me: why aren’t you protesting the race at Suzuka?

      1. Because the current Japanese government is a rather healthy liberal democracy and not the same regime guilty of atrocities during WWII, perhaps?

      2. you’re talking of WW2, that’s aeons ago. Almost every country in the world has its own skeletons in the cupboard.
        On the contrary, Bahrain protests are going on now, so we have to do something now.

      3. PM,

        This is really happening now, this moment, not last century.

        1. I’m aware it’s happening right now. All I’m trying to do is point out that some people are using politics as a front for having the race cancelled simply because they do not like Bahrain having a race in the first place. I am willing to bet a fair amount that if riots like this threatened the race in Brazil or Belgium or Monaco, people would be a lot less sympathetic towards the protestors.

          It’s like this: a large company sets up a manufacturing plant in a developing nation, paying a minimum wage to its workers. People protest this because it’s the exploitation of cheap labour. They succeed in getting the plant shut down, and they sleep well that night. But the people who were employed by that factory are now out of work, and while they were on a minimum wage, they aren’t getting paid anymore and are further condemned to poverty. This does not bother the protestors; they aren’t even aware that those people no longer have any income because of their actions.

          In the same way, people here are opposed to Bahrain hosting a race because they feel Formula 1 has no business being in Bahrain in the first place. The circuit and the race get consistently poor reviews and unparalleled criticism (despite the fact that it actually produces a lot of overtaking). Now that the protests have begun, and people have died as a result of them, fans are using the protests to call for the race to be cancelled. But let me ask you this: if the race is cancelled because of the protests, how many people will continue to express outrage over the protests once it is confirmed the race will not take place?

          I’m willing to bet I could count them on one hand.

          1. A couple of things wrong with the situation you described: firstly, in your version, the people protesting the exploitation of cheap labour are outsiders – not necessarily in the affected country. Secondly, there’s no mention of any violence committed, either by the protesters or the authorities.

            In Bahrain it’s the country’s own people protesting against what they see as an unjust form of government, and the state has responded violently. There is a credible threat to the safety of anyone in the country and a real chance that the race could be disrupted by the protests. Therefore, it’s only right that the idea of postponing or cancelling the race is raised.

            If there is anyone out there who want to use this situation to have Bahrain taken off the calendar permanently, then they’re in the minority.

          2. Sorry, can’t agree. Bahrain is a snorefest of a race. No political sub agenda here whatsoever. This is an F1 site, not a political ranting blog so I prefer to talk about F1 on this site. I’ve never liked the Bahrain track, it’s a poor layout and it looks bad on TV because all the glued down sand makes it look like a building site. Bahrain as a place or regime doesn’t enter into it because we’re supposed to be talking about F1.

          3. The race should be cancelled because the safety of those attending the GP could be in jeopardy. I have personally little interest in the protests. I have much more interest in the safety of those attending the F1 race.

            Keep politics out of it. Just assess if it’s safe to have the race for all concerned.

          4. Don Mateo:

            It has happened often where labour unions (from the same country) protest in order to get pay increases. The companies can no longer afford to operate because the minimum wage is higher than their operating budget, and as a result they shut down.

            The union was not targeting the company that shut down, they dont even know it exists. However as a result of trying to up pay, they did the opposite for some people.

            On top of that, when ever there are strikes, there is always some form of violence.

            3 deaths is nothing really (compared to the strikes back home in RSA, at least), and these stats are often blown up by the media in order to create a story or push a cause.

            Cancelling a race (and turning the track into a white elephant) due to regime change is going to force a massive loss of jobs from all sides of the industry ranging from officials, to communications, to manufacturing to catering, TV, etc, etc ,etc.

          5. Believe me mate, there are more than five of us complaining about this rant alone right now

          6. What on earth is your point though? Modern day Japan is not like that so of course no one cares about having a race in Suzuka. We’d probably have to ban every country on the calendar if we are looking at atrocities committed in the past.

            What is happening in Bahrain is happening now and its unacceptable. This is headline news on every news channel in the world for a reason, and its not anything to do with Formula 1.

          7. There probably isn’t a country in the world that has a clean bill of health on current human rights, let alone if past ones are included. If one attempted to write properly about all of those violations, there would be no space left to discuss F1.

            Ethics are important. It is important to note that there are different degrees of ethics and that everyone has different thresholds of what they can tolerate and are willing to write about. I wrote about certain elements of the ethics of racing in China three years ago; I haven’t repeated it because nothing has changed and there hasn’t been anything to add on that topic. It’s still there in the blog archive (and a short summary of part of the problem can be found in the Genocide Grand Prix? article at F1 Fanatic) and I’m still proud of it. That doesn’t mean continued expression of the same point at this time is going to do anything except possibly annoy my readers. When one starts to write politically (or even with shades of politics), timing is important.

            The “consistently poor reviews of Bahrain” are a separate matter. Partly, a lot of us have yet to see evidence of the overtaking it supposedly provides even in statistics (the only Tilke-drome that isn’t in the bottom handful for overtaking is Turkey) and partly, the consistently poor camerawork means that much of the overtaking that does happen is missed. FOM has much to answer for, if not necessarily as much as Hermann Tilke.

      4. :O

        Well then why not cancel the race at the Nurburgring? Why not cancel the Chinese GP? Hell, why not cancel Silverstone, it’s not like we’ve got a clean CV is it?!?

        Because it’s 2011, the world is [trying] to move on from past atrocities rather than getting bogged down in the mistakes of the past.

        My god, PM, you really do talk a load of BS!!!

        1. I live in Melbourne and my Pizza was late…Bernie are you listening??!

          1. Haha, Bernie does not take kindly to pizza delays

      5. that’s from thousand years ago. But even if it wasn’t, it’s a mistake of past times.

        no need to take that road again.

      6. Should we get into why we shouldn’t hold a German GP now too?

      7. Sorry mate, but honestly, you are on another planet. Some of the stuff you come out with is just insane. To boot, you always believe you’re right and I can’t remember ever seeing you post a comment where you admitted you were wrong and backed down in good spirits. This comment is bordering on the psychopathic and worries me about you.

        1. Don’t think for a moment that I don’t care about the situation in Bahrain. I’m a Resident Fellow this year, which means I’m in charge of four flats in my residential college, and I have a few people from the Middle East – not specifically Bahrain, mind you – living in them, and they have been quite distressed by what is happening back in their respective homelands. It falls to the Resident Fellows to look after the wellbeing of those people in our blocks. Most of us spent last night arranging Skype connections so that those residents could talk to their families and make sure they were safe. So don’t think for a moment that I’m insensitive to it.

          All I’m saying is that if you want to do something for Bahrain, then get out there and actually do something. Don’t sit around here posturing and claiming that you care when all you have “done” is make one post on an internet blog denouncing the Bahrain government and calling for the Grand Prix to be cancelled. Because if that’s all you’re doing, then we might as well be sitting around discussing things that happened sixty years ago for all the good it will do.

          1. Don’t sit around here posturing and claiming that you care when all you have “done” is make one post on an internet blog denouncing the Bahrain government and calling for the Grand Prix to be cancelled. Because if that’s all you’re doing, then we might as well be sitting around discussing things that happened sixty years ago for all the good it will do.

            Do you seeing me say anything about the government? Anything at all? Did I denounce anyone in Bahrain, at anytime? No. So why are you pointing that thing at at me? The thing that spouts this stuff.

            I can’t do anything for the people of Bahrain, the only post I’ve made on it carried the thoughts that I hope I get what they want and need. I don’t know what that is, a new government or what not.

            However you come out with all sorts of angles that I find hard to fathom. Tact isn’t your strong suit by more than a country mile.

            Perhaps you should be more balanced and considered with your comments so you pass your personal feelings and sensitivities through in the tone of your comments as well, if you do indeed care about the people there.

            As for suggesting I fly out to Bahrain to do some good…. that’s a fools errand. It’s their country, their revolt. their lives and their anger.

            Bahrain isn’t Egypt by a long shot, but the Egyptians didn’t take too kindly to Westerners wandering over and getting involved.. some got killed, some got arrested.. some got beaten and sexually abused sadly.

            The best I can do is be fair and balanced, with due sensitivity whenever touch the subject.

          2. * I hope THEY get what they want and need



            And you might as well be, for all the good a strongly-worded internet post will do you.


            And you might as well be, for all the good a strongly-worded internet post will do you.

            Regardless of spelling or grammar, he makes a good point PM.

          6. Could we consider why the race might get cancelled for a minute; rather than making accusation and couter accusation about individual morals or motivations?
            The GP2 practice was postponed because there wasn’t adequate medical cover available. It’s reasonable to asume that this was the ongoing issue that casued the event’s cancellation (similar to fog bound events where the medical helcopter cannot fly). F1 wouldn’t be cancelled for politcal reasons (this is Mr. E we’re talking about). Cancellation would be down to either a lack of adequate safety cover (medical or security) or an insurance issue. I can’t see underwriters being willing to sanction the attendance of a lot of valuable kit and staff (yes people have an “insured value”) at a destination that may be on Foreign Office black lists.

            Of course, if things settle down (which is still possible) the commercial pressures may overcome the risks, but the ultimate decision will be based on money. Cost of attendance over cost of cancellation. Simples.

          7. I think there’s more to it than that Mike, Bahrain’s reputation is at stake, it won’t want to do anything that jeapordises it while the world is watching

          8. Since a strongly-worded internet post the most good the majority of us are in a position to do (among other things, some people aren’t even allowed into Bahrain right now due to the security crackdown and many of those who can wouldn’t be in a position to afford the necessary flights, hotels and paperwork), then said posts are hardly nothing. It helps the Bahrainians on both sides know that the world is watching them, offers solidarity, improves the nature of discourse on the topic and gets people thinking outside their own little bubbles. All of which are good and beneficial things.

            Clearly you have been in a position to do more than a blog entry and have taken that chance. This is a credit to you. It follows logically that the rest of us should also be allowed to do our best with regard to our particular circumstances. Even if a blog entry is less help than establishing lines of communication.

          9. I am very much in agreement with Alianora.

            Great to hear you were able to help PM. Thanks for keeping up the discussion.

            I am currently following Al Jazeera live blog and what I am seeing there certainly warrents a feeling the test should be cancelled and the GP is in serious doubt for the near future.

            I am supportive of all people trying to help in all countries in a similar position right now as well.

          10. Bahrain’s reputation is at stake


          11. PM, Usually you make sense, but with this string of posts on this delicate subject, you should have digressed.

            been reading all the comments this far and haven’t read other than a dimming minority that said good riddance to a boring race. most commentators are saying that the race should be canceled because F1, as they see it, should not support an oppressive regime..

            your desciption of workers being undepaid and the like is irrelevant.

            Shiites in Bahrain are 70% of the pop. Sunnis are less than 30% allowing for a minority of other populations. the Sunnis rule, and not only is the ruling family sunny but they have hijacked the government and all major public position with no right whatsoever for a member of the Shiite denomination to have the chance to be elected or appointed. that is a symptom of a disease in where the SUnnies treat the Shiites are a second class, just because they are Shiites. it’s the same in Egypt (was) where the Christian Kopts were alienated and ghetto-ed in their own neighborhoods and called the Garbage-men because the only thing they could do is collect and deal with garbage (since the ruling regime saw it fit for them)

            this brief explanation is part of the problem.

            Bahrain is kind of different to the UAE, where there is more demand than supply in workforce and thus the need for foreign expats. in Bahrain the gov and big companies directed by gov are selective and rather get a foreigner rather than train a Shiite local in some cases… go figure, and you expect it to stay like that forever?

            it’s much more complicated as well, but i think that is enough to give you an idea of what is really happening…

            So i think F1 should boycott Bahrain even if it does blow over…

      8. Nigelstash (@)
        17th February 2011, 11:45

        I assume because there is a big difference between ‘last night’ and ‘last century’. Take a look at British history – plenty of reasons to boycott Silverstone if you think the sins of the past last forever.
        And casualties are NOT a foregone conclusion at a peaceful protest.

        1. I didn’t say “peaceful protest”. I said “riot”. Do you know who started it? Do you know who fired the first shot? Can you say with absolute certainty that the Bahrain police went in hot and heavy intending to dig the protestors out, rather than the protestors turning violent at the first sign of police presence?

          1. Police storm a peaceful protest in the middle of the night killing 3:

            Now stop talking ****.

          2. Certainly hardly anyone here can be completely certain, who fired a shot.

            But the simple fact the government sets riot police and tanks at the protesters combined with several deads and hundreds of wounded in the morning points pretty clearly to who is in the wrong.

            I know you like to show the other side of the argument. And you are right about the best way of doing something would be to actually help.
            But seriously, cut down the tone of the argument for arguments sake, as most of us pretty much agree on that anyway.

      9. The same family, Al Khalifa, has been ruling the Kingdom for the last 2 centuries with hardly any constitutional reform.

        You can say bad things about any country, but what these people are fighting for are for immediate effect and improve the citizens lives, not something that happened 50 years ago under a totally different government.

        If not having a F1 race will help get rid of the Al Khalifa family, then so be it.

      10. Your username is extremely relevant to your comment.

      11. Have y’all simply forgotten Kyalami ’86??? Half the grid didn’t race because they were protesting Apartheid!

        1. It was ’85, not ’86, and nothing like as much as “half the grid”:

          1985 South African Grand Prix Flashback

      12. Are you really serious? You think comparing the F1 race that is about to happen amongst violent repression of peaceful protesters is comparable to holding a race in a country that acted improperly 60 years ago!

      13. Japan isn’t in that state now though. By that argument we shouldn’t race anywhere in Germany or go to Russia and as matt88 correctly says most countries shouldn’t be allowed to host a race on that basis.

      14. Sorry PM, but I think if you dug deep enough you’d find atrocities carried out by previous governments of many countries that host current F1 races – or are about to.

        For crying out loud, the USA has some states that are willing to sentence children to death. And Britain hardly has the best record when you go back far enough.

        I say let’s go to Bahrain – F1’s a rich business, hire some ex-special ops guys to beef up security at the circuit and set up a camp for all the F1 personnel inside the circuit perimeter so they can be given adequate protection (not that I think they’ll need it because the protesters are being peaceful). Let’s use F1 to help promote democracy in the region.

        OR…cancel the race for security reasons and as a by-product of this give Melbourne the season opener it deserves!!

    4. I agree with everything you said except that (insert any one thing) and politics staying far away from each other.

      The truth is that everything is related and when injustice is inconvenient the more chance it has to being seen, heard and felt and thus rectified. There is nothing polite about revolution and athletes, deli-workers, strippers, professors, businessmen/women are people first and should therefore put political strife ahead of the tedium and gladiatorial events in life.

  5. I really liked the perspective Joe Saward gives to this in his blog, comparing it to the situation in 1848 Europe. This would seem to give hope for the people living there to make it stick, at least in time.

    1. Well yeah, except that in a lot of places 1848 only resulted in more right wing authoritarian regimes. Plus Saward’s view that even if 1848 eventually resulted in change because ruling elites understood something and took it to heart is a little naive. Ruling European elites fell because capitalism shifted power/money to different social groups and then they really went down in flames in WWI taking millions of innocents with them. So anyhoo, here’s hoping it’s more like 1989 than 1848!

      1. I like his view, showing this might prove to be the start of just such a move leading to more freedom in time (anywhere from 20 to 150 years, depending on what country we are talking about, you are right there).

        The same shifst of balances can be seen now, as in 1989 as well. But at that time it was far less violent as the regimes coming down were already on their back foot without the soviet support.

  6. This raises an interesting question. How dangerous does it have to get before Bernie is prepared to lose $$$ over it?

    1. Maybe he should see this picture just tweeted by Will Buxton from the outskirts of Manama Bahrain to convince him:

    2. Judging by his watch advert, pretty dangerous! Jokes aside i really don’t think a premier sporting event should be heald in a country, which is suffering from such unrest. The trouble is that aside from maybe nurburg, i can’t think of a non 2010 championship circuit which has the neccessary facilities in place. I recollect that dubai doesn’t have the right licences.

  7. Completely agree CamboGuido.

    All this crap that F1 ‘shouldn’t be political’ (read: go race regardless) is a fairytale. Going there is an extremely strong political statement, basically undermining the people who are dying there fighting for relatively basic human rights.

    Testing should be relocated and this race should be cancelled. A country in a situation like this shouldn’t even think of hosting an F1 race, let alone prioritize assuring investors and sponsors that it will be safe, just so that authoritarian monarch can indulge on his little backyard hobby.

    F1 has no place there, I’m not watching if the race goes as planned. Aside from saving myself from a boring afternoon, it’s the least I can do from my comfortable home.

    Sure, I can’t wait to see how the cars are actually matched, but I’ll wait until Melbourne to see them in action. Bahrain doesn’t deserve this when they deal in such a barbaric way with human beings. I really like F1, but even closely as much as I respect the lives of humans. Boycott this.

    1. BS, well put. This is not about sport, this is real life, and I think that some are missing this totally.

    2. Good comment BS, and remember, F1 is only a sport-it can be rescheduled or cancelled, and it is not worth putting thousands of people in danger for the almighty dollar.

    3. Totally agree. I know F1 is a business and needs strong investment, but I think Bernie needs try to find that little part of him that isn’t driven by money (does it even exist?) and do the right thing. It would be awful for the image of F1 to run the GP whilst trying to ignore the situation. On top of that, there will be bugger-all spectators at the track!

    4. Bahrain doesn’t deserve this when they deal in such a barbaric way with human beings.

      China is occupying Tibet and persecutes the Falun Gong movement.

      Japan had Unit 731, who committed some of the worst example of medical experiments on people the world has ever known.

      Germany had the Nazis, and we all know what they did.

      Australia is the only country to have successfully committed genocide, wiping out the Tasmanian Aboriginals.

      The United States has Guantanamo Bay and is engaged in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq that many believe are unjust.

      And yet, you haven’t protested against them. You’re not calling for boycotts of the Chinese, Japanese, German, Australian or United States Grands Prix.

      So let’s not kid ourselves. You’re not calling for a boycott of the race because of human rights violations. You’re calling for a boycott of the race because you don’t like the fact that Formula 1 goes there at all, and you’re dressing it up as being a political thing because you know that’s the only way it will stick. If you actually care about the situation in Bahrain, you can do better than lying to yourself about why you want to skip the race. Stop worrying about how you sleep at night and start worrying about how the people of Bahrain will.

      Massive loss of respect for you right there.

      1. Considering the US doesn’t even have a GP this year…..

        1. That’s your counter-argument? “They don’t have a race this year”? Have you forgotten about the race planned for 2012?

          1. No im just saying

      2. There was no Chinese GP in 1989 and present generations shouldn’t be held responsible for the wrongs of the forebearers. the killings in Bahrein are happening now and the races is in three weeks. It’s a totally different picture and going there will cause F1 a lot of harm with the general public (and it doesn’t need it).

        1. Exactly my friend

        2. the killings in Bahrein are happening now and the races is in three weeks.

          What do you understand of the protests in Bahrain and how those deaths came about? This was not a case of police lining the protestors up and shooting them down one by one. These were riots, with the police using rubber bullets and tear gas. While rubber bullets are safer than conventional ammunition, they can still kill if fired in the wrong place. Given the anarchy associated with a riot – it wouldn’t be called a riot if it were peaceful – it’s highly likely the protestors were killed by stray rubber bullets and not deliberate execution-style slayings.

          1. PM,

            Can you not see it? These people are trying to overthrough a tyranical regime, and yes there are lots of them around the world mate. And I am sorry, but what we are seeing is a revolution, like the one in Egypt, Tunisia and I believe that there will be lots more to come. Revolutions do happen by waving flags and serving tea. This is the people of a nation saying ‘Enough is Enough, I am a human being, my life has value. Please do not compare this to anything else, because every situation of this nature is completely different.

          2. These people are trying to overthrough a tyranical regime

            When it comes to human rights, Bahrain is considered one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East. People might not have the same rights and freedoms as those of us living in America and England and Australia, but they’re a damn sight better than, say, Algeria, which has been in a state of emergency for the past twenty or so years.

          3. PM, i think the tanks out there were probably not shooting any rubber bullets this night.

            Bahrain might have been pretty good in human rights by comparison for the past years. But they have now stepped a certain line, where it is hard to back out without any serious changes.

          4. “When it comes to human rights, Bahrain is considered one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East.”

            Really? According to whom? Because I am checking Freedom House’s ‘Freedom in the World’ ranking, and Bahrain’s scores, 6 in political rights and 5 in civil liberties, seem to be pretty much in line with other regimes in the Middle East: Egypt 6 and 5, Qatar 6 and 5, United Arab Emirates 6 and 5, and Algeria, even with the state of emergency, 6 and 5.

          5. @PM. Because of my line of business I know a LOT about the Bahrein riots. Much more than what you would think and they’ve keeping me awake all night. And that’s why I consider F1 has no business going there..

          6. McLarenFanJamm
            17th February 2011, 14:04

            What do you understand of the protests in Bahrain and how those deaths came about? This was not a case of police lining the protestors up and shooting them down one by one. These were riots, with the police using rubber bullets and tear gas.

            actually, the authorities attacked the protesters camp at 3am local time whilst the protesters were all sleeping. And it has been reported that they authorities were using live ammunition.

            So next time, before you get on your high horse, make sure your well enough informed to pull off the statement you’re making.

          7. When it comes to human rights, Bahrain is considered one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East

            That’s like saying, “when it comes to dictators, Hitler was one of the least tyrannical there has been”

            (Poe’s Law… d’oh!)

          8. These were riots, with the police using rubber bullets and tear gas.

            Aren’t they supposed to be peaceful protests? I don’t think (correct me if I’m wrong) there was any trouble at all until the armed forces showed up. To me it seems that the police are more concerned by the fact it’s an inconvenience to the day-to-day lives of the Bahrainis than what they are actually campaigning for, so for them it’s simpler to scare them off with weapons. So yes, I do think it is a case of police targeting citizens.

          9. According to @NickKristof (of the New York Times) it has been pretty violent and not accidentally so…

            ” In morgue, I spoke to brother of 22 year old killed by police shotgun blast. He says King Hamad must step down”

            “Witnesses say #Bahrain police cursed Shia as they attacked peaceful demonstrators.”

            “Nurse told me she saw handcuffed prisoner beaten by police, then executed with gun”.

            That’s just a selection and only from one guy. I don’t think anyone except those in Bahrain really know what’s going on.

            Also, I hope LAK who is in Bahrain is ok (and any other fanatic of course!).

          10. PM, you are trying very hard to give the police the benefit of a doubt. The protesters were not rioting, they were sleeping. It was the deliberate, brutal and cowardly police ambush that created the deaths and massive injuries.

            According to Al-Jazeera and many witnesses, the police came storming into the Pearl roundabout in the middle of the night, around 3am, while the protesters were camping out, many with their families, most of them sleeping. About 1000 police started attacking using canisters of tear gas and rubber-coated bullets and beating people with clubs to get them out of the site. The presence of armoured vehicles attests to this being a thought-out and coordinated action.

            The Al-Jazeera website has an English version showing a lot live.

      3. PM – all your historical examples go out the window because, well we’re talking about the present aren’t we. I’m pretty sure it’s not standard procedure to boycott countries based on what granpa did during the war. Second, you assume that BS is dressing up a dislike for the race in political colours without any proof at all. And as far as China is concerned, people have been talking about the ethics of having a race there ever since it started – well I have anyways. As for the US well, the difference I guess is that the race has nothing to do with the government responsible for Afghanistan and Guantanamo – and people in Washington probably don’t even know there’s going to be a race in Texas – not exactly the same thing as boycotting a race where it might actually send some potential message.

      4. Luckily countries grow up and become what we commonly refer to as a civilization, often due to revolts exactly such as this one. I do take it to heart if people literally next to a track are dying coming up for their beliefs.

        All countries have done bad stuff across all of time. If your view is ‘bad stuff happens anyway so I’m not going to take a moral stance’ then fine, watch the race in indifference.

        I even stated I can’t wait to see the cars being tested against each other, but I’ll wait considering the awful stuff that’s going on. How you came to the conclusion my motivation is to have some race banned is really beyond me. Suggesting my incentives are anything other than the dignity and lives of human being is really, really offensive.

        Get real man. People are fking dying.

        1. Ignore him, it’s the most naive comment I’ve ever read. And that’s including mine.

        2. Suggesting my incentives are anything other than the dignity and lives of human being is really, really offensive.

          It’s how you present yourself. Reading your comments – and dozens of others like them from others who seem to think there is some connection between Formula 1 and human rights – you all come across as “We don’t like the Bahrain Grand Prix. We want it gone, and now someone is giving us an excuse to not have it”.

          Ignore him, it’s the most naive comment I’ve ever read. And that’s including mine.


          I’m sorry, but I don’t see the connection between human rights and Formula 1. They’re not exactly apples and oranges. More like apples and felt-tip pens.

          1. Do you not have a problem with people being killed yet the race still being run?

          2. Ok, put it this way – would happily send your own family and friends to Bahrain right now for 1 million dollars? Because that is what all the drivers, team engineers etc. Have to think about. Is the money gained from the event really worth the risk of human’s lives being put at stake?

          3. Is the money gained from the event really worth the risk of human’s lives being put at stake?

            Is the money lost going to help the people already living there? What would you say if the Bahrain government agreed to the demands of the protestors three days before the race was to be run, but the race was cancelled because of the uprisings and the money that would have been injected into the economy instead never showed, which in turn slowed down the rebuilding process and triggered a new wave of violence?

          4. The King offered money (~$2500) so people wouldn’t protest, completely missing the point of course. Money isn’t an issue, just one of the many things corrupting factors of the country and the people who run it.

            The Bahrain GP is hardly an economic stimulus, not comparable to the King and his superficial ways of dealing with important issues.

            Source (Al Jazeera)

          5. If the absence of formula 1 will help overthrow the family then so be it!! How do you not see that connection??! Formula 1 is big business, it will make world news.

          6. Would you have agreed to the South African Grand Prix being held in apartheid South Africa?

          7. Would you have agreed to the South African Grand Prix being held in apartheid South Africa?


          8. Heh, I know Karan, that was addressed mainly at PM ;)

      5. Actually you have forgot to add the Turkish for the Armenian genocide and the oppresion of Kurds. Italy comes into the genocide as well, Spain has its troubles with the civil war mass murders. Should I go on?

        Following this logic we should ask the US and Russia to just push the button and get rid of us for good.

        So back to reality. Bahrain is in uproar, not a good time to stage a great grand prix there.
        As for testing, why on earth would the teams ship equipment out there just to have it in danger of sitting there unused for a week they could spend testing somewhere else.

        1. The Roman’s weren’t very nice either… wait that’s Italy again…

        2. @PM, so in your words the risk is worth taking?

        3. As for testing, why on earth would the teams ship equipment out there just to have it in danger of sitting there unused for a week they could spend testing somewhere else.

          Because they’ve already sent it.

      6. Using your logic we should boycott Monza because of the Roman empire’s love of gladiatorial combat for primarily “entertainment” from about 310BC.

        Or maybe you believe we should boycott Silverstone because 25,000 residents of Dresden were killed in February 1945 as a result of sorties flow from there (among other airfields, some of which also became host to motor sport events).

        Our generation can’t re-write history, but it can influence the present. To ignore the protests now would be to ignore a chance for a real, popular reform in the Middle East (which, BTW, is what I thought Blair and Bush took us to war in Iraq for….).

        Bernie needs to see sense (and not dollars) and pull the plug on Bahrain. Let Melbourne be the opener and let’s see where things are at the end of the season.

    5. Very well said BS, I agree completely. I find it troubling that the “sports and politics don’t mix” argument has been abused to provide a convenient way for Formula 1 to wash their hands.

      Take, for example, the South African Grand Prix. I find it outrageous that Formula 1 held a race there until 1985, thus giving a tacit endorcement to the criminal apartheid regime, even years after South Africa had been banned from organizations such as the IOC and FIFA.

      That was misguided policy. And if the situation in Bahrain continues, holding the race there would be as well.

      1. I find it outrageous that Formula 1 held a race there until 1985, thus giving a tacit endorcement to the criminal apartheid regime

        Formula 1 is not a political party or a nation.

        1. Neither is other forms of entertainment and leisure, but won’t the absence of those put more pressure on the government? Especially something as big as F1?

        2. Neither is the IOC nor FIFA.

  8. There’s still twenty-four days until the race is due to be run. A lot can happen in twenty-four days. Twenty-four days ago, there was no sign that Tunisia or Egypt were a pair of powder kegs waiting for a spark to set them off. So I see no reason why the situation could be resolved in time for the race.

    1. PM,

      Go to dangerous places around the world, live amongst the populous, and you would have a completely different take on situations like this. The facts are that they are far too fluid to predict and the end game can take months and months to completely resolve. This is about:

      1. having a little respect for fellow human beings.

      2. looking at other alternatives to Bahrain, that’s all – because I will be shocked if this situation resolves itself before the start of the season.

      1. No, this is about actually doing something for the people of Bahrain. And from where I’m sitting, writing out rhetoric-fuelled posts on an internet forum demanding a race be cancelled is about as effective as pouring a glass of water into the ocean and claiming the water level rose because of it.

        1. Then what do you suggest? A protest in front of the state library? My mate was helping to organise it.

        2. Well what should people be doing then, huh?

          1. What they can. Nothing I can do or say in the here and now can help the fifty million people trapped by the violence. I know that. I accept that. But I can help the fifty Islamic students living in my college right now, who are really quite distressed at news from their homeland. My friends and I spent most of last night trying to establish Skype connections on college computers so that those students could contact their families.

            Action, not words is what is required.

          2. We should all be aware of what our government is doing and be prepared to protest if the government turns against the people.

          3. What they can. Nothing I can do or say in the here and now can help the fifty million people trapped by the violence. I know that. I accept that. But I can help the fifty Islamic students living in my college right now, who are really quite distressed at news from their homeland. My friends and I spent most of last night trying to establish Skype connections on college computers so that those students could contact their families.

            Action, not words is what is required.

            We appreciate you helping your fellows, and we know when it comes to F1, everyone on this site is a huge fan. That’s why we are all here. We are all friends here because of F1 and the fast cars. Lots of people hold different views and we should respect that.

        3. PM,

          Sorry mate, you have managed to lose so much respect in the last couple of days. People know you on this website as a very knowledgable, well informed and fair fan of F1. But when you leave the confort and safety of your armchair, you turn from Fanatic to Fascist :>)

          I am writing from a guest house in Islamabad, you really have to see what it is like when things break in society, it is something that happens and there is no controlling it, especially when the people become one.

          Go make yourself a cup of coffee and have a chill pill mate.

          1. But when you leave the confort and safety of your armchair, you turn from Fanatic to Fascist :>)

            Why? Because I believe actions speak louder than words and that writing a strongly-worded post on an internet blog doesn’t do any good?

          2. Why? Because I believe actions speak louder than words and that writing a strongly-worded post on an internet blog doesn’t do any good?

            How do you know we aren’t doing our bit? Some people literally can not do much, but keep an eye on their government and be sure to vote, and protest when the government does not listen to the people.

    2. PM,
      1) You point about why the U.S. GP will not be the subject of protests is well-taken.
      2) You are dead wrong on how no one could see the Egypt revolt coming. See John Bradley, The land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of Revolution (2008)- and scores of others. You didn’t see it coming only if you believe the self-serving P.R. printed in the Times of London or New York.
      3) Your idea that a riot caused the deaths in Bahrain is your most pernicious lie. The protesters were sleeping at 3 a.m. when they were attacked. By your logic, the Blitz happened because Churchill refused overflight rights to the Germans.

      1. And Maciek’s retort- that the US government has got absolutely nothing to do with that GP- was even better.

      2. My friends and I spent most of last night trying to establish Skype connections on college computers so that those students could contact their families.

        Unfortunately, not every F1 Fanatic member is in that position. I’m sure most of us would do the same in that situation actually. But we can’t – and so we won’t. I’m just saying, Prisoner Monkeys, there isn’t anything we can do other than discuss it over the internet. Most of the comments are suggestions and people concurring with these suggestions – not internationally relevant material by any means. No-one that can do anything significant about the problem will be reading the comments section of an F1 blog for solutions, so why can’t we have a conversation without it being strongly condemned. Perhaps we’re all not as good at changing the world as you, you know, through action, not words.

    3. There isn’t 24 days before a decision concerning the race has to be made. There are travel issues involved, such that a decision would have to be made on either a week next Monday or the Monday prior to the race (depending on whether Abu Dhabi’s offer to stage the final test is accepted/Bahrain becomes safe enough for the last test to happen – delete as appropriate). That’s either 11 days or 18. It’s pretty difficult to win or lose a revolution in 18 days flat. Even the Egyptians relied on the incumbent powers being obtuse rather than violent.

      In the case of the media the deadline’s even tighter – they need a decision by February 25 because of the particular complications of journalists’ visas. That makes it 8 days to get a decision on whether the race will run.

      There have been signs that Egypt in particular was a powder keg for years; it’s simply that Tunisia provided the trigger for the Egyptians to finally pull off the revolution.

  9. This reminds us that F1 expansion in the recent years actually means that many races now take place in undemocratic countries where the local citizens have to face restrictions on freedoms, human rights violations, abuse of authority and social injustice. I guess that Bernie doesn’t give an f-duct about it and I’m not saying that the situation would improve if F1 fraternity avoided these countries. However, you can’t blame the citizens of Bahrain for disagreeing with Bernie. Every nation that lives in tyranny is once going to stand up against its authoritarian leaders. It is a question of when, not a question of if. And this time F1 cannot hide in the paddock and pretend that everything’s fine. Welcome to the real world. I am not happy for the chance of F1 season opener being delayed by 2 weeks but if that happens, I think it is just what the F1 folks, myself included, deserve.

    1. I agree completely. But steer clear of the “social injustice” bit. Because depending on your political views that could extend to many western countries as well.

      1. I second that Mike

  10. Okay, in sixty-plus posts, I haven’t seen a single person give a straight and clear answer to the biggest question that has been asked but gone unanswered. So I’m going to spell this one out, and I’m hoping someone will actually be able to give some sembalance of an answer to it:

    How does cancelling the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix benefit the people of Bahrain?


    1. You know it probably doesn’t, but a protest could be started at the race to gain extremely large publicity, and it benefits all of the F1 personnel, who won’t have to say goodbye to their families knowing that there is a greater than usual risk of them not coming back.

      1. it benefits all of the F1 personnel

        That’s not what I was asking. What I want to know is how cancelling the race helps the people who live in Bahrain.

        1. Well it most likely doesn’t,but these poor people are not the only people who are in danger if F1 did go to Bahrain next month

          1. How do you know they’ll even be in danger next month?

            If the race is to be cancelled, it should be left until the last possible moment. And FOM and the FIA should make it plain that the cancellation was because of concerns for the safety of drivers and teams, and not because of some political agenda.

          2. Its like drink driving – better safe than sorry

        2. Bernie’s comments aside, this is about a security situation, which is very fluid and very unpredictable. This about the safety of F1 personnel, sp staff and spectators. This is also about, showing some compassion to oppressed people, perhaps empathising a little.

          So to answer your question, cancelling the F1 in Bahrain will mitigate the risks to visitors to this country.

          1. Precisely

        3. 1) By robbing their crooked leader of international legitimacy and p.r. (Obviously the main reason for holding an F1 race to begin with). Why do you think China liked holding the Olympics? P.R. = Legitimacy. Legitimacy = Power.
          2) By denying the country’s crooked leaders profits from the race (of course that can hurt regular people, too, but as much as the country’s feudal owners? Unlikely).
          When people revolt against dictators, the goal is to bring them down. It is not to sell more sodas that week at your store, or sell a few T-shirts out at the track for one day. Anything that weakens a feudal dictator, I would argue, is in the true interest of the people. That is why canceling the race is in the interest of the people of Bahrain. Question answered?

        4. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
          17th February 2011, 18:44

          I don’t believe it does, however what it will do is avoid putting other people in unnecessary risk. If the race is to be cancelled the decision will need to be made soon as the teams will need to prep and send the gear, so Bernie and the FIA can only make a decision based on what they see.

          So, to answer your question, it doesn’t but it prevents more from beng in the same situation

    2. Formula 1 is big news and big business. If the race is cancelled it will make headlines everywhere, putting more pressure on the family to step down.

      If the absence of the Bahrain race will help overthrow the regime, then so be it.

      1. If the race is cancelled it will make headlines everywhere, putting more pressure on the family to step down.

        When was the last time you opened a major newspaper – like, say The New York Times or the The Guardian – and saw that the headline article was about Formula 1?

        1. What I said was:

          > If the race is cancelled it will make headlines everywhere

          When was the last time a Formula 1 race was cancelled?

          1. Still no reply…hmm

          2. When was the last time a Formula 1 race was cancelled?

            Do you honestly think that if the race is cancelled because of the violence, every major newspaper is going to run a headline reading:

            (By the way, there was more violence in Bahrain)

            If the race is cancelled, it will be newsworthy, yes. But the world does not revolve around Formula 1, and I find it very unlikely that it would be so newsworthy that it would get a front-page spread, much less inspire people to do something about Bahrain.

          3. If the race is cancelled, it will be newsworthy, yes. But the world does not revolve around Formula 1, and I find it very unlikely that it would be so newsworthy that it would get a front-page spread, much less inspire people to do something about Bahrain.

            Of course the cancellation of the race will show how bad things actually are over there.

            To show that people are dying because their government will not listen to them will show people around the world to be ready to protest when the government stops listening to you.

        2. Yes but what about Indy 2005, that was pretty big news right?

          1. Yes. I think PM is testing us to see if we are as intelligent as him.

          2. Pfft i do maths c, im intelligent enough to know how the world works

          3. I think PM is testing us to see if we are as intelligent as him.

            No, I’m testing you to see where your actual motivations lie.

          4. No, I’m testing you to see where your actual motivations lie.

            My motivations lie in saying that the cancellation of the F1 race will help overthrow the government, and you think it won’t.

        3. Guys. There is little point trying to have an ADR debate with blowhards like Prisoner Monkeys.

          He’s very much like the loudmouth a school who always has to shout the loudest.

          Clearly this forum is his only outlet in life.

        4. Actually, I heard it mentioned in the bylines about the situation in Bahrain tonight, and certainly in the news part of my newspaper as well (not sport, probably only if it is cancelled); I suspect news tomorrow might have a blurb about GP2 cancellation, and leading to F1 GP maybe being cancelled too.

    3. Well, having the Bahrain grand prix there is supporting the government. Happy?

      Now before you spout rubbish about it helps the economy and that helps the people, A) Bahrain does not make money from the GP and B) These people live in a very different world, One where BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS mean nothing to the people in power, It is our duty as HUMAN BEINGS to help them.

      Or, you can say “stuff you, stuff the lot of you” and go live your happy safe life with no thought that others may not be as fortunate as you.

      1. These people live in a very different world, One where BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS mean nothing to the people in power

        Then why is Bahrain considered to be one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East when it comes to human rights? I admit they’re not perfect, but they’re better than, say, what you might find in Myanmar.

        It is our duty as HUMAN BEINGS to help them.

        Does writing strongly-worded internet blog posts count as doing your duty? Because if that’s the case, you’re doing a really good job of it.

        1. You can’t say “this person can’t complain because there are kids in Africa that are starving to death.”

          According to that logic, only one person on the planet can protest at a time right?

        2. Myanmar is not in the Middle East.

          Does writing strongly-worded internet blog posts count as doing your duty? Because if that’s the case, you’re doing a really good job of it.

          The hypocrisy of that statement is mind boggling.

          At any rate, I’m off this site for awhile. Hopefully the conversation will be back on topics relevant to motor racing when I return. And, mind the sitter while I’m gone…

          1. Hopefully the conversation will be back on topics relevant to motor racing when I return.

            The potential cancellation of the first race of the F1 season is not sufficiently relevant for you?

    4. Ian Pannell, BBC News, Manama

      “I am at the Salmaniya hospital. We have just confirmed with the hospital authorities that more than 300 people were admitted and treated for injuries. Details of some of the injuries are pretty horrific – one man appears to have been shot at very close range in the back of the head.

      A number of people are reporting that not just tear gas and rubber bullets but also that live rounds were used at some point. We have just spoken to a doctor – he was at the protest site last night as a volunteer to help people with basic medical needs. He was attacked and is in intensive care with severe injuries. He gave us graphic details of how he was beaten and cursed and how he feared for his life.”

      You must be pretty naïve to think that cancelling the Grand Prix would not be a statement in itself.

      1. Yes, cancelling the Grand Prix would be a statement. To the rest of the world – that Formula 1 does not endorse the actions of the Bahrain government. But to the actual people and the government of the country? They probably won’t even notice. Cancelling the Grand Prix is an exercise in self-preservation and moral surperiority. It may well be the right thing to do, but let’s not be under any illusions as to why we’re doing it. Or do you honestly think that cancelling the Grand Prix will make Manama sit up straight, re-assess themselves and start listening to the protestors?

        1. Its NOT safe. Its really simple. It is not safe enough. This will not be like an aparteid protest by F1, this was not yesterday, this is today and the situation has escalated significantly. Very fluid, very uncertain, and very unsafe.

          1. I’m very new to F1, and to this site, so maybe I am missing something or am out of line, but it seemed to me that the Brazil GP last year was not very safe. If I recall several people from FI were robbed at gun point, and even Jenson Button’s car was approached by an armed gunman, but no one called for that race to be cancelled.

            Yes the situation seems more dire in Bahrain, but as far as safety is concerned, they seem pretty similar.

        2. In this case what is wrong with self-preservation and moral superiority? Its the LEAST that F1 or any other organization that has international members could do. Of course all of us could do MORE but we don’t all have the same resources or clout.

    5. well idk about you, but I just want all of the drivers on the grid as well as their personnel to be *safe*. We already lost Robert this season, I don’t want, say, Jenson getting attacked with rubber bullets or a car with Williams engineers to get blown up by a tank.

    6. I’m no expert, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that it would help remove some of the government’s legitimacy. The GP is a big deal to Bahrain, and cancelling it would be an ever bigger deal to the opposition

      1. As I said somewhere else, you could just as easily argue the opposite. The protesters have highlighted that they will target the GP for protests – by cancelling it, that removes one outlet to the rest of the world that they were banking on.

        Cancelling the GP could be seen as denying protesters a chance for their views to really be expressed on the world stage, and thus an endorsement of the government.

        As I say, I don’t really believe that this is the case. The decision will be taken entirely on safety and not on politics. But it’s not as cut-and-dried as you suggest.

        1. I don’t think anyone would realistically make the case that ‘the race should go ahead so protesters have a target’. Would they?

    7. Accidental Mick
      17th February 2011, 15:52

      If you haven’t seen the answer to “how does cancelling the GP help the people of Behrain” you haven’t been reading very carefully.

      It shows we care. I know you spent the night giving practical help (you posted it twice) but most of us cannot do that. All we can do is to give up something we have been waiting months for – the start of the season. It is not practical help but it is a symbol.

      1. @PM
        If you haven’t seen the answer to “how does cancelling the GP help the people of Bahrain” you haven’t been reading very carefully.

        Thank you. My thoughts exactly.
        There are also a lot of unanswered questions directed at PM that have been selectively ignored.

        I, for one, take exception to the “I’m the only one who truly understands” tone in all of PM’s lectures. But that’s nothing new, and I suppose being a Resident Fellow (with some Middle Eastern residents) would ensure he is well positioned to provide expert commentary and analysis on the subject.

        My opinion, and that’s all it is: The test or race shouldn’t proceed if there are any questions about the safety of the F1 circus and all who sail on her.

        I also believe that the cancellation of the race will bring further attention to the plight of the Bahraini protestors. The amount or nature of attention isn’t important, just that it’s MORE. It puts more pressure on Global leaders to comment, which places more pressure on the Bahraini Govt/Royal family to take steps to appease the protestors. Why? To save face, to ensure a continuation of international relationships, and the longevity of their reign.

        That is my opinion/belief/understanding based on what little information I have on the subject.

        Do I want the test or race cancelled? No way. I’ve been waiting MONTHS for the season to start – we all have. But given the circumstances, I would understand any cancellation.

        On the subject of a hastily organised alternative race. I feel the likelihood of this happening is extremely slim. I think we’ll just have one less race for this year, and a longer wait for the season to kick off.

    8. Hewis Lamilton
      17th February 2011, 16:55

      I believe the message of cancelling the race would be aimed at the Government, to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to act in a civil and humane manner. People aren’t saying stop the protesting or we won’t race. The people of Bahrain that are protesting could care less about F1. The government, that is another story altogether.
      So to answer your question, canceling the race in Bahrain is sending a CLEAR MESSAGE to the Government. The message shouldn’t be “we are cancelling the race.” The message should be to the Government of Bahrain: “We will cancel the race if this is not resolved in X amount of days. Your actions are not acceptable.”

      You need to get off of you high horse and stop trying to think you are so high and mighty PM.

    9. Up to this point, I hadn’t seen you ask the question (having instead seen several other questions asked by yourself), so it’s not surprising nobody answered it. Here’s my attempt at answering:

      By the F1 people not going to Bahrain, it highlights the difficulties Bahraini people face – if it’s not even safe enough for a known low-morality sport like F1 to turn up, people will understand the magnitude of the violence and put pressure on the Bahraini government to cease the violence and solve the issue through diplomacy and other peaceful means instead. Blog entries, yes, but also international condemnation and other powerful voices will become more pronounced. Bahrain wants the approval of the Western world and such condemnation, backed by the act of withdrawal of the economic benefits of the Grand Prix, should drive the point home that the Western world shuns violence once cognizant of it.

      The withdrawal of the Grand Prix would give the Bahraini people something else to add to their arguments that the current route of violence is wrong. This should cause peer pressure to reduce the “debating temperature” by a reasonable number of degrees, so that a solution that makes sense to the Bahraini people becomes possible and expressible.

      It means fewer people from the Western world getting caught up in the crossfire, thus reducing the amount of bad press the innocent and relatively innocent contingent of the population receive. With only locals, ex-pats who’d be present anyway and dedicated political correspondents in the country, the focus will be on wrongdoers, not people randomly getting caught in crossfire because they didn’t listen to travel advice – or because they were seen as “easy press” by the small percentage of malicious rabble-rousers that any group of sufficient size with violent thoughts acquires.

      Also, the Bahrain Grand Prix is one of the few blue-riband international events it hosts. Cancellation would reduce Bahrain’s ability to attract other blue-riband international events would reduce, meaning other events would not take the focus away from the current political events. Having the world’s eye focused on an event can have a major effect – it’s not just quanta that are affected by observation.

      In short, the cancellation of the Grand Prix would increase the amount of pressure that could be brought to bear upon the wrongdoers in this scenario, encourage flexibility in the minds of the powers-that-be and demonstrate powerfully that violent behaviour will have negative consequences for everyone. So cancellation would cause the Bahraini citizenry a lot of good in an indirect fashion.

      Anything can move with a big enough lever and what those governments that rely on F1 to make them look good perhaps don’t realise is that F1 can be a large lever under certain circumstances.

      1. Awesome comment… informed, eloquent, deliberate yet controlled. Emotional yet measured.

        I learnt an insight from you in colours that I haven’t seen anyone else paint with.

        1. Ali has been painting with those colours for forever. Your description / response is typical and accurate IMHO

    10. The answer to your question is fairly simple: Cancellation will not benefit the people of Bahrain. But if this is your “biggest question” then you have a skewed sense of what is important and what is not.

      Cancelling the GP is so irrelevant to the people of Bahrain as to be utterly not worthy of comment. There are times when sport can unite / elevate / redeem … and this ain’t one of them.

      Cancelling the GP is a slight annoyance to the ruling family of Bahrain. It is a trivial embarrassment at best, a visible and slightly humiliating put-down at worst. But it is nothing compared with a square full of people protesting, so if Bernie decides to cancel, some money will exchange hands (not sure of the direction) and that will be that.

      Cancelling the GP is not trivial to the many people who will travel to Bahrain in the next few weeks to support the race. To potentially put them in harm’s way would be irresponsible. The problem is, the decision to cancel must be made sooner rather than later. The logistics of moving F1 teams are pretty intense, and while some stuff may already be in Bahrain, the irreplaceable stuff (PEOPLE!) are largely not.

      Of course, it is impossible to tell how this will play out. But I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that there will be elevated safety risks to the teams, participants and fans regardless of the outcome of the protests.

      So, I have spelled it out in cold, simple terms without really addressing the validity of the protests or the appropriateness of the government responses to date. Satisfied?

    11. Wow, I got to say I’m amazed. PM was on the spot in pretty much all of his posts. But so many “armchair revolutionaries” in one place…never thought I’d see that. But I guess it’s the new age trend or something – join a facebook group, a blog post here, forum post there and think that you did something to show you care.

      Won’t comment about postponing/canceling the race, nor about should dictatorship be overthrown or not since that’s not always a good thing, not for all people anyway (Moldavia is a proof of that, but I guess most of you never heard of that country anyway).

  11. I really wouldn’t mind if Bahrain was cancelled. Of course the situation over there is terrible, but instead of watching the 2011 season start at midnight and falling asleep from the race, I’ll be in Melbourne for my first grand prix!

    1. At least you have the decency to admit what you’re actually doing. Even if saying it does seem in bad taste.

  12. Totally agree with PM, although examples mentioned hold no water. F1 has no political influence and should not have one either. So if it appears to be dangerous for the staff and fans, the event should be cancelled and other soluition has to be found, despite how sorry we all feel with those who have to fight for their civil rights in Bahrein.

    1. F1 does have political influence, even if it desperately tries to convince people otherwise. Just repeating some empty statement does not make it true.

      Holding a race organized by the crown prince himself legitimizes a regime that violently beats down and kills protester demanding basic human rights.

      GP2 was cancelled because the medic staff had real things to do within their country. F1 has absolutely no place there at this time. Going there would not only be an affront to F1 itself, but more than anything undermine the people fighting for basic human rights.

      F1 going there is just as much a political statement as F1 deciding not to. Except one is offensive, the other the right thing to do.

    2. You are wrong. F1 does have political influence because it is symbolic of the rest of the international community. Drivers, constructors, fans. If the international community comes to race, it gives tacit approval to the kingdom. If the race is canceled, it means that the rest of the world does not approve.

      1. Forget the politics, it is unsafe, just think basics.

    3. Of course F1 has political influence! Why on earth are various countries with little previous international motorsport involvement having money poured into building circuits by their governments – not by individuals with an enthusiasm for racing – if it isn’t to gain global exposure to attract investment from other countries and corporations or to try and improve their profile at home?

      Unfortunately the Bahraini government are finding that for some reason hosting an F1 race isn’t making the population forget about the problems they are facing.

      Cancelling the GP will do little except to focus attention on what the rulers of Bahrain are doing and there are many companies and countries that won’t want to attract negative press by being seen to be investing in a country that does not uphold the same human rights that other countries purport to. Saying “oh well Algeria is worse” is a facile argument: would you have accepted Hitler justifying himself by saying “Yes I kill people but only ones I don’t like – Stalin just decides to randomly execute his allies”.

      The race going ahead will tell the world that F1 doesn’t care if people are being shot by the police a few miles away, as long as the sponsors get their day out.

      1. Dobin,

        I agree with every word. But this is very simple, it should first and foremost come down to security and safety, and Bahrain just ain’t safe and there is nothing to suggest that the situation will improve. Safety and Security is not really that subjective at this level, but looking at this from a political perspective, it becomes very subjective, which I don’t mind and I am rather enjoying actually. Regards.

  13. One thing people seem to have forgot in all of this is the fact that most, if not all teams, have already shipped out equipment to Bahrain (I remember Virginf1 tweeting this a month or so ago) Another thing is that testing is (obviously) a very important part of the season, and Formula 1 cannot sit and wait for the protests to stop, so I reckon we will see the testing moved to Abu Dhabi or Portimao.

    Doing so will buy another week for everything to subside, or for Bernie to decide whether the race will go ahead, be postponed, or be replaced

  14. 1. A better question: How exactly does having an F1 race help the citizens of Bahrain? You know that the majority of the money goes to those in power and they will not give it to the people. Unrest will continue.

    2. Canceling the race now can put some pressure on the government (or kingdom) that the rest of the world doesn’t want to come play in your troubled sandbox. Fix the problems, address the concerns of your citiznes, and we’ll consider coming back sometime.

    1. 1. Since when is Bernie the president of UN? Why should a whole nation benefit of the F1 race?

      2. F1 is a commercial sport, not a department of UN. Or do you think F1 should be involved to realize worldpeace?

      I think you’re missing the point of the existence of F1.

      1. Is the point of the existence of F1 to make Bernie and the kingdoms some money? If you think that then you are quite jaded and callous.

        F1 is an international symbol of friendly competition, cooperation, teamwork and advancement of automotive technology. It is bigger than Bernie and more that a simple commercial enterprise.

      2. I suspect several of the sponsors might actually care. I guess, for example, Shell would like to not be blamed for this too, as would all the oil companies who already could get some flak, while they need to work with the middle east countries. This might be a cheap way for them to appease a possible new government or hide behind safety issues if that doesn’t happen.

        Perhaps phone companies aren’t yet strong in the Middle East, but I can’t help but think that, for example, Vodafone would like to say to the, predominantly, young people who buy their most stuff and use their service, that the McLaren launch wasn’t the only “by the people, for the people” sort of event they are interested in.

        Maybe these companies aren’t bothered about it all, or my examples are flawed, but potentially for a lot of sponsors their image is the thing they are building with F1, and they definitely have something to loose there for their buyers.

        But ultimately, I think that F1 can’t afford it’s people being injured due to this, and not having medical staff because they are busy working on victims of unrest seems like a rather valid reason to not have the race.

  15. Maybe they could throw together a track in Cairo real quick?

    1. lol yeah but it wouldn’t be up to Grade 1 (F1) standard :s

      Also I feel sorry for anyone in Bahrain or planning to go to the (scheduled) races.

      Finally, I hope the F1 isn’t cancelled!

  16. Seriously guys,

    Bahrain doesn’t exist for F1 only. It was there before and even if Bernie decides not to have a race there, Bahrain wil still remain on the maps.

    The fact that F1 is one of the most international sports, it doesn’t mean it should be used for political agendas!

    In other words, if Italy has problems with Uk, should Ferrari not race at Silverstone and Mclaren not in Valencia?

    1. I presume you mean Monza

    2. If citizens of the UK are being beaten and killed by the government standing on Piccadilly Circus demanding basic human rights then Ferrari would have an excellent (moral) reason to pass up on Silverstone and I would fully support them in staying clear.

    3. What does ‘problems’ mean? Bitching about fishing quotas? Berlusconi insulting a British politican? War?

      If the problems involve the deaths of innncent civilians then maybe yes, F1 teams would think about not racing somewhere.

    4. These events are not average political or trade disagreements between countries. People are being beaten and killed in the streets next to the hotels where many fans, personnel, and reporters are and would be staying. Perception is reality and by racing or not racing F1 will be making a political statement whether you want it to or not.

      Does F1 really need to conduct business as usual when a revolution is occurring a few miles from the track? I say no.

    5. I think it should be used for political agenda when people are dying just to get their voices heard.

  17. FWIW, I think the race should go ahead provided the safety of the teams and spectators is assured. That would be my no.1 priority.

  18. I have read most of the comments above and i side with PM here.What he is pointing out is the hypocricy.If Bahrain doesnt deserve to hold the GP then neither does the USA or UK unless all their forces are withdrawn from Iraq.USA does not deserve to host the grandprix(i know its in 2012) unless it stops all the civilian losses in drone attacks in my own country,Pakistan.There is no country in the world not responsible for the loss of innocent civilians but some are shown on tv and others are swept under the rug.If the race in Bahrain is to be cancelled,it should be because they cant guarantee a proper and safe race.

    1. Does that mean Silverstone is safe since Britain pulled out of Iraq last year?

  19. If it did get cancelled and we needed a track to go to, where would you like to go?

    (This is a purely hypothetical question, I know its highly unlikely.)

    1. Abu Dhabi already said they could host the test session, so probably that would be the number one choice.

    2. i would have to say magny cours france or A1 ring austria as it is closer to the testing venues and is probably cheaper for the teams

      1. It doesn’t matter if its Magny Cours os A1 Ring, the problem is who’s going to pay Bernie and co?? it needs money

  20. Great shame GP2 has been cancelled. I was looking forward to that this weekend. Thoughts are with the people of Bahrain though, it must be bad :/

    Let’s hope that the situation improves.

  21. I wish the protesters all the luck in reforming their country, but would like them to add the removal of that horrible new section of the F1 track to their demands!

    1. They’re not racing on that bit this year. Well, that’s if they race on any of it.

  22. It was Monza I meant; my bad.

    So if F1 should be used for political agenda’s, who does deside the topic’s? Bernie, The teams, the sponsors?

    When I mentioned that I agree with PM, I didn’t stated that I support Bahranian government, (nor has PM). The point is, although I support the people fighting for their human rights, it shouldn ‘t be F1 to have any involvnment in this issue. If they would, the where is the limit? Perhaps F1 can use their influence for Italy to get rid of their democratic dictator?

    1. If F1 holds the race, it is getting involved because the venue is government funded, sponsored, owned, whatever you care to name it. You said it, F1 shouldn’t be involved.

      The hyperbole regarding Italy is pointless. The Italian government (police) are not brutalizing the citizenry in the midst of race preparations.

      As a shrewd business owner I’m sure Bernie does not want to be exposed to the inevitable negative press if the race occurs in the midst of human rights violations.

    2. F1, by the fact it is even scheduled to have a race in the country at that time, has already become involved. All that can be done now is to decide what to do about it.

  23. I can’t see the Bahrain authorities being quite as stringent with Visa’s etc with the big players in the F1 circus. All a cancellation of the race will do is bring even more attention to the situation…something I doubt the authorities will want. They will rely heavily on tourism for the economy so I bet the F1 race is high on their agenda.

    1. I believe the Bahraini protesters have already suggested that they will target the GP for special attention, in order to bring global attention to their protests. In that case, it could be argued that cancelling the GP would be in the government’s interests, and a tacit endorsement of the government’s side in the dispute.

      (It wouldn’t be, of course, it would be a decision based entirely on safety – but it’s just as legitimate a position as stating that F1 withdrawing from Bahrain would be expressing solidarity with the protesters).

      1. Even silverstone is not safe. I saw what happened there in 2003.

  24. Let them race at Daytona instead!

  25. By your logic,yes.

  26. I can’t believe they are still considering it!

    Why don’t they just stay in Jerez?

    1. Well for starters they’re in Barcelona now. Who wants to see two races there?

      1. Probably no one would like to see that. And most of the bigger stuff was already sent to Bahrain by boats several weeks ago.

        So the test might be redirected to Abu Dhabi I suppose, but having 2 GPs there is just about as bad as 2 x Barca!

  27. If this cancelled, Do we have to wait an additional 2 weeks……aaaarggggh !!

  28. why is it done?

  29. As an Australian, i’d HATE for the season opener to be in Australia.

    I like to go to my event with the knowledge of the pecking order of teams before I go. This stems from years of going to Melbourne thinking Webber was in with a shout, only to quickly realise he was driving yet another *******.
    Bahrain, get your **** together and stop complaining. The royal family always knows what’s best for you.;)

    1. I like to go to my event with the knowledge of the pecking order of teams before I go.

      And there was me thinking that the essence of sport was its unpredictability.

  30. I can’t imagine for one second that the GP will be cancelled. Not a chance in hell.

    Despite the medias love of F1’s posturing, it’s a commercial sport, not a political one. Bernnie didn’t build this empire to make a point; he built it for a profit.

    Think about it this way; the Royals have invested millions, if not billions into securing not just a GP, but the season opener, and paid a huge premium for this slot. Abu Dhabi is just down the road from Bahrain; the only reason they don’t get consecutive GP’s are because the first and last are the most high profile ones they can get without a historically important track.

    I think that if protests threaten the season opener, Bahrain will do what these vile dictatorships do the world over – a crack down on the protesters.

    Six hundred million people around the world watch F1. There’s no way the Royal Family would allow its one weekend in the world media spotlight to be used highlight the fact that the nations people are revolting against the tyranny they live under.

    If there is a crack down, I for one will make this the first GP I’ve not watched for 2 years.

    1. I can’t imagine for one second that the GP will be cancelled. Not a chance in hell.

      We have no way of knowing how the situation will develop over the next few days. If the situation remains as it is now, there will be no Bahrain GP. And a decision will need to be made fairly soon.

    2. I think I confused my point there…

      Bahrain gets a lot of international recognition from this event. Its an advert for the nation just as much as it is an advert for the F1 sponcers.

      If the GP is cancelled, it will be widly known amoung 600 million people that the nation is undergoing a revolution. The Royals wouldn’t want that kind of embarrisment visited upon them or their nation. I imagine the protesters will be kept far, far away from the track, and from the media there to focus on the race.

  31. cant they postpone the bahrain gp
    and start in australia then malaysia then china and ect

  32. how about we just let all the drivers do the race on F1 2010 for the Xbox/Ps3 and just go from there..

    1. Hamilton will punt them all off the road.. Did you the see the video where he raced his brother? He went on the grass too to find shortcuts… we’d need stewards!

      1. wasn’t that his brother doing that.. then hamilton said that thats how they would normally play at home :)


    Still planning for F1 to start in Bahrain, but the shipping point proves a interesting point about the issue of changing testing location.

  34. As the great Ayrton Senna once said:
    “The rich cannot live on an island
    Surrounded by poverty.
    We all breath the same air.
    We should give eveyone a chance.
    At least a fundamental chance.”

    At some point fundemental human rights must transend entertainment. I think now is one of these times. May justice and peace come to the region soon.

    1. Some very prophetic words from someone who was much more than just a great racing driver.

      There have been a lot of posts on here today that have a lot of meaning, and a lot that is utter rubbish.

      At the end of the day, if the GP was this weekend it would be cancelled. If things are not sorted in time for the GP, it will be cancelled.

      Yes the track is crap, yes there are no fans, but that is neither here nor there.

      The middle east does deserve to have 1 grand prix. But not 2 right next to each other. (and the same goes for spain too)

      1. dammit.. where’s the ‘like’ button when you need it ;)

  35. The only real reason for Bahrain to be cancelled is if F1 is targeted and the teams/drivers etc are going to be in danger.

    F1 doesn’t have much of a precedent for taking a political stance and regardless of what my personal and political opinions are I’m really not sure if F1 should get involved. F1 afterall does have a contract with Bahrain and although it is clearly in a fragile state right now there are other countries we do visit which havce questionable policies and human rights. If we get involved now it’ll be hard to draw the line and F1 should for its own sake perhaps be fairly selfish in that regard.

    1. There was once a (non-championship) Grand Prix in Cuba, just as the revolution was gathering pace. The rebels kidnapped Juan Manuel Fangio!

      Though I suspect both political activism and the safety-consciousness of the F1 circus have moved on since then.

  36. I think a lot of people saying they could host it in Magny-Cours need to get real, a new F1 race cannot be organised in one month. There’s the tickets/refunds, marshals, freight and people to transport, sponsorship. Not to mention Bernie demands that the circuits pay ever increasing fees to host a race, how do you think he’s going to feel when it’s the circuit who holds all the cards and not him? All of this needs to be dealt with quickly and efficiently and to be honest I simply don’t think it can be done in time.

    If the race is cancelled that will be it, they’ll be no replacement and we’ll wait another two weeks for the first race in Melbourne.

    1. They were still toying with the idea of moving the Korean GP to Qatar that close to the inaugural Korean GP last fall… But I agree, it would be difficult to reroute sea freight that’s already floating.

  37. i never got the hate towards the bahrain circuit as its produced some pretty good races over the years.

    2004 was good with a lot of good racing, 2005 was much the same. 2006 was a great race which featured more of the overtaking everyone seems to want than any dry weather race since untill montreal last year. 2007 was good as well with a fair bit of passing. 2008 wasnt quite as good but wasnt terrible, 2009 wasnt great and 2010 was the worst.

    its also produced some fantastic gp2 races, one of the best gp2 races ever was the 1st at bahrain last year on the old circuit. the 2nd gp2 race weekend on the new f1 loop was terrible which shows how bad that new loop was.

    1. I think it could actually be a great circuit if they just ran the outer loop rather than the standard GP loop.–Outer_Circuit.svg The speeds would increase, the laps would be shorter, meaning more traffic, and they could run lower downforce for better slipstreaming meaning more opportunities for overtaking.

  38. I feel for our brothers and sister in Bahrain. We need to support their plea. Also
    F1 needs to find another venue to test instead of Bahrain.

    I got the medicine though: I f Bahrain doesn’t happen. We can all duke it out on the ps3 f12010.

    whad’ yeah say?

  39. To host an F1 GP is an immense honor because of all the attention it brings. Any country with this level of disrespect for its own people does not deserve that honor in the first place and obviously it should be cancelled immediately because nobody should hold the magnitude of power that F1 does without using it in a politically responsible way.
    It is that simple really, but unfortunately Bernie’s only concern is money!

  40. I think the this update should have been a separate article. Especially the amount of opinions that would have changed before and after the cancellation.

    It’s hard to keep track of 250 posts +

    1. It’s hard to keep track of 250 posts +

      Especially when so many of them are filled to the brim with vitriol.

  41. Maybe we here in the US will finally get a Grand Prix! Nah! The rich midget wouldnt allow it….:(

  42. Isn’t LAK from Bahrain? I hope our fellow fanatic is keeping safe.

    1. I think he is, or at least has residence there.
      Keep up and all best!

  43. Reroute the ships to Daytona!

  44. Does anyone with a bit more knowledge of the middle east think that this could spread to Abu Dhabi. because losing a race a the start of the season is one thing but losing a race just before the end could change the whole championship outcome.

  45. Fire Of Starter
    17th February 2011, 21:26

    Why not a race out of Bahrain?

  46. What should do is go to spa, and race the circuit in reverse. I mean c’mon, who wouldn’t want to see these mean machines at full-pelt going DOWNHILL on Eau-Rouge?

    1. would love to see them try, would hate to see the deaths at the end of the race.

      1. Thinking about that they would end up landing in the GP2 pits after La Souce.

  47. Well, the Adelaide circuit is set up for V8s the week before Melbourne… there’s a decent replacement right there. They’d have a hard time shifting the tin tops off the circuit though. Not to mention changing the track back to the longer version and increasing the run off areas.


    Bernie dropping hints of cancellation… giving them till next week to sort things out.

    Surely they could switch it to Abu Dhabi or even Qatar?

  49. If the Bahrain race is cancelled it apparently cannot be held at another track due to all the teams’ equipment sent by sea freight to Bahrain a month ago. If necessary the race will be cancelled and not moved.

    1. stevensan (@)
      18th February 2011, 1:12

      but it surely can’t be difficult to route it from Bahrain to Qatar or Abu Dhabi?

      1. Surely it CAN be difficult as sea freight means that each team will have few containers on a 6,000 container freighter sailing from their region. Now please try to convince the freight company to go to a different port!

        Why is so important? There are plenty of other races.

        1. I would guess the captain of the 6,000 container ship will have contacted his shipper and the insurance company and stay at sea until he has a guaranteed safe passage anyhow.
          Even if that would be 2 weeks after the tests and GP weekend.
          After all he is responsible for the well being of his crew, ship and the goods on board, in exaclty that order. Not a bit problem to have him head for another harbour.

  50. After seeing people die on Sky News, and to qoute….

    Ecclestone added: “I spoke to the Crown Prince this morning. He doesn’t know any more than you or I, but they’re monitoring exactly what is going on.” I dont know the exact political situation, but someone is lying.

    I think it would be a sham to hold a display of opulence and over indulgence in a time when the middle east is staging a uprising against oppresive regimes and diabolical conditions.

    I like if permitted to post a link that sums it up. When Jarre performed this at Gaza on 31st Dec till 1st Jan 2000 He had to adjust it to be called `evolutions` and was banned of mentioning the word `sex`.

  51. On the positive , it may be a message to Bernie Ecclestone to carefully consider having GP’s in countries with potentially volatile political history.

  52. With due respect for those who have been killed trying to bring a more benevolent form of government I think I would find it hard to sit and watch the race. I will wait for the next one.

    1. …and that is exactly the point motocan. If Bernie can’t run politically decent show then a lot of people will start banning the sport.

      Unfortunately I am afraid that the opposite is the case as Bernie’s pressure could be the reason for the suddenly calmer (military controlled) situation… but on the expense of the shiites suffering even worse.

      If that turns out to be the case I am afraid that I will have to turn off the TV forever!

  53. Poul, I never thought of your point of view, as I see it you are implying that the major input of funds that F1 injects into the economy is so important that F1 and Bernie’s influence are part of reason for the extraordinary crack down on the citizens of Bahrain. Wow! I guess you may have a point as scary as it seems. Money talks as they say. It disturbs me that you maybe right and if you are right as supporters and fans of F1 we do have a small influence here. I do not want it to be part a sport that leads to such suffering. As I said, I will not watch the race if it takes place.

    1. I am afraid that could be the truth since F1 is a top priority event for such a small state.

      I am glad that Keith stood up and did the right thing by posting the article stating that the race MUST be cancelled.

      All together we may even have a little bit of power after all, if articles like that reaches the attention of the people surrounding Bernie.

      I doubt that he has any moral considerations but he may at least realize that a damaged reputation is also a damaged business!

  54. This is big news here in Canada as well as the rest of the world. I am watching the CBC at the moment which has been covering comments from all sides. No one has even mentioned F1. There are many issues that have motivated the people of Bahrain to protest and to assume that F1 is a great issue for the people of Bahrain is a bit self centered. What the sport does not need is to be another reason that adds to the troubles that exist in the country.

    1. In that case I am not sure you get my point. Obviously the people and especially the Shiites couldn’t care less about the race itself in this situation. An obviously the general media doesn’t care to report about some sporting event being in jeopardy when people are dying. BUT the government – and especially the crown prince – cares A LOT and will without a doubt go through great measures to maintain the event in which they have invested heavily. Nothing appeals to them more than the ultimate symbol of status and decadence!!

Comments are closed.