2010 Bahrain Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone must cancel the Bahrain Grand Prix


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2010 Bahrain Grand Prix
2010 Bahrain Grand Prix

The full horror of what has gone in in Bahrain in recent days has now emerged.

Reports have emerged detailing protesters being killed with live rounds and surgeons beaten for trying to treat the injured.

Foreign journalists have been barred from entering the country and some of those who bore witness to the government’s clamp-down were beaten as well.

This weekend’s GP2 Asia race meeting was cancelled. Ambulances that should have been on stand-by at the track were instead among those driving the government’s victim to hospitals by the hundreds.

It is easy to make arguments about ‘moral hypocrisy’, and point to questionable actions taken by other governments in countries that F1 visits.

But showing up in Bahrain and accepting their money to race days after the world has watched it murder its citizens would be unconscionable.

The difficulty in guaranteeing the safety and security of the teams’ employees and everyone else who travels with the F1 circus is a further concern.

With testing due to begin at the circuit on March 3rd the first staff will be scheduled to arrive in Bahrain next week.

The desire to ensure the smooth running of the race would likely provoke another wave of repression from the security forces.

Those with longer memories recall how Formula 1 continued racing in South Africa in the seventies and eighties long after most other sports, repulsed by the brutal and racist apartheid regime, boycotted the country.

This attracted little attention 30 years ago when F1 was far less popular. Today the eyes of the world are on whether F1 will again turn a blind eye to the plight of an oppressed people out of its eagerness to line its coffers.

It must not.

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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...

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341 comments on “Bernie Ecclestone must cancel the Bahrain Grand Prix”

  1. Today the eyes of the world are on whether F1 will again turn a blind eye to the plight of an oppressed people out of its eagerness to line its coffers.

    I agree completely.

    There are some things in life that are more important than motor racing, and this is one of them.

    1. Yes, it must be cancelled

      1. While i totally agree, the cost of cancelling the event won’t be limited to bernie. Apparently some container ships are already heading out there with the team’s equipment. So surely it would make sense to arrange a test (at least) at a circuit close to Bahrain? I suggest dubai would be more than happy to step in

        1. Ships? Isn’t it all air freighted these days?

          1. Nope. They sea freight everything they can in advance, to save on cost. They airfreight everything that has to go last minute.

        2. doesn’t matter that is what insurance is for… It would be insane to send/ tell anyone to go to Bahrain. F1 simply can’t afford to do that morally, financially or for any other reason.

          I am sure there are other tracks they can sort out testing at, and who knows maybe by the end of the season the situation will be resolved (or the money change hands) to allow it to be the last race of the season… but I doubt it.

          I just wonder how many other races are going to be cancelled/ affected by politics of a different nature than we are used to…. I very much doubt it will be the only one…. Times they are a changing.

          1. Poor Bernie – he who just love the dictators because they could “get things done” as he said.

          2. Insurance is not valid for civil unrest as I am now aware having checked my policy!

        3. I assue that FOM would have some form of insurance for race cancellations and that the organizers would have to compensate.

          FOM are very methodical with their agreements, it would be a surprise if there aren’t pages of clauses surrounding when an event should be cancelled and what happens thereafter

          I have always been against international sporting organizations, such as FOM and FIFA, supporting non-democracies. The international spotlight on sport should be used to highlight the plight of those who are less fortunate than us. The same applies for Qatar in 2022.

        1. Very appropriate IDR. By the way, I see you have a new Avatar as well., is that a Ferrari 150th …?

    2. There are some things in life that are more important than motor racing, and this is one of them.

      And even if the race was going to be beneficial to the situation in Bahrain, it’s not worth risking the lives of everyone involved with F1. I know people were saying yesterday that the Grand Prix would provide a good front for the protesters’ messages to be seen around the world – but there’s no way we can afford to put any more people in danger. I am not well educated on the situation, but I have read and seen enough around the internet to understand it’s not safe in Bahrain at the moment, so staging an F1 race would be rather silly.

      It is easy to make arguments about ‘moral hypocrisy’, and point to questionable actions taken by other governments in countries that F1 visits.

      Of course, but this is now. I know someone was commenting yesterday that every country has it’s dark side – but thankfully, most of this is history. People’s lives aren’t at risk when F1 visits Japan, for instance. And to prove I am not hypocritical, I am 100% sure that if a situation as bad as this arose in Japan, Canada, Australia or Spa, (just picked some great races that people would not like to see go, to balance the argument considering the Grand Prix under threat is none other than Bahrain…) the last thing I’d want is to see people risking their lives, just for the sake of a motor race.

      So it’s not because it’s Bahrain, it’s because it’s dangerous.

      1. So it’s not because it’s Bahrain, it’s because it’s dangerous.

        The unfortunate irony being that every motorsport admittance ticket I’ve ever seen is stamped at the bottom with “Motorsport is dangerous

        At least it’s contolled danger, though.

        1. There’s a key difference between “danger by accident” and “danger by intent” though, you never want to be in a situation where the latter could arise.

    3. If course I agree, but the cynisism behind F1 is so great that I will be suprised If we see an appropriate response from the F1 organizers. The show must go on, sadly.

      1. I know Bernie isn’t doing this for his morals but i suppose it still counts. Hope the Royal family see that they’ll still be rich and let the people have a real say in running the country.

        The show will go on – To Australia.

        1. The US fifth fleet is based in Bahrain, and is the primary overt means of force projection and regional dominance they have in what they consider te most strategically part of the world.

          Worse, Bahrain is a hastily-gathered stone’s throw from one of the world’s most oppressive and cruel regimes, where torture and murder are common and the home of violent, regressive Wahabi Islam, Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud will never allow Bahrain the become a democratic Shi’ite stye and they are one of Israel’s few remaining vocal friends since the US put the army in charge in Egypt.

          This ain’t about money, at least not in the way you mean.

          1. Stye = state. Retarded iOS.

          2. Well it does seem that Saudi are already showing their hand as it appears that at least some of the armed troops partaking in the violence were Saudi.

          3. @Gridlock I know, it’s constantly fighting me too!

          4. Retarded iOS.

            I think I say that at least once a day.

      2. hopefully they will cancel and the track is demolished.

        1. Australia should be the first race anyway.

          1. Seconded.

        2. Damn right NIck!

        3. ‘I agree with Nick’. Didn’t think I’d say that ever again ;)

      3. Sadly you say – but would you watch it?


      1. Easy to say if you live in a free country.

      2. They are fighting for their freedom in a Brutal Regime… That’s their right and you shut up!! Also, very important you forgot what a Grade schooler says??? All capital letters isn’t right..

        1. Before you say that, consider the situation if their protest didn’t suit you.

    5. Make a Poll kieth!

      1. No poll in this world will make you less ignorant!

    6. Yes, the Grand Prix must be cancelled on moral ground, but we must also add that the main reason Ecclestone gave Bahrain the race is because of the MONEY and prestige of the multimillion dollar state of the art track.
      Let’s not forget the repressive regime has been in place for ages, the torture and repression were happening when the F1 circus decided to go there.
      Democracy, human rights and respect of law are not part of Ecclestone’s vocabulary, a man who hailed dictators like Hitler as necessary to get something done!

      1. Talladega Knight
        18th February 2011, 23:17

        You must feel sympathetic towards the citizens of Bahrain and a few other countries spread across the Middle East. For all of us living in the developed, democratic world we may complain that David Cameron, Barack Obama, Julia Gillard, etc. aren’t listening to the electorate and are doing a poor job in running the, but these people have had it bad for decades.

        The citizens of the Middle Eastern region are being persecuted by unelected officials because there people want a basic human right. I for one must say that I support their cause and wish them every success, however I don’t think Bahrain will be another Egypt or Tunisia unfortunately.

        It’s early February and I am naturally ravenous for some racing, however the race must be cancelled. Even if Bernie decides to be greedy and proceed with the race, I would hope the teams boycott the race. The F1 championships mean nothing in morale terms, so the F1 community should show their support to the people by removing this GP from the calendar. If this race is held, what does that say to the people of Bahrain? This is how we will be judged

      2. Talladega Knight
        18th February 2011, 23:24

        You must feel sympathetic towards the citizens of Bahrain and a few other countries spread across the Middle East. For all of us living in the developed, democratic world we may complain that David Cameron, Barack Obama, Julia Gillard, etc. aren’t listening to the electorate and are doing a poor job in running their respective country, but the people of these Middle Eastern States have had it bad for decades.

        The citizens of the Middle Eastern region are being persecuted by unelected officials because the people want a basic human right – the right to vote. I for one must say that I support their cause and wish them every success, however I don’t think Bahrain will be another Egypt or Tunisia unfortunately.

        It’s early February and I am naturally ravenous for some Formula 1 action, however the race must be cancelled. Even if Bernie decides to be greedy and proceed with the race, I would hope the teams boycott the race. The F1 championships mean nothing in morale terms, so the F1 community should show their support to the people by removing this GP from the calendar. If this race is held, what does that say to the people of Bahrain? This is how the democratic world will be judged by the citizens of Bahrain.

        The running of this GP would not sit right with me and I hope my fellow F1 Fanaticers agree.

        1. Talladega Knight
          18th February 2011, 23:28

          Sorry for the partially finished first comment – Android small buttons + big fingers = annoying mistakes!

  2. Agree, the Authorities are already trying to put down unrest “damaging the economy”. They would be increasing that to secure the GP.

    Thanks for the article Keith.
    Bernie, Todt, FOTA take note!

  3. May this be the opportunity for F1 never to return to that boring track…

    I hope that the situation in Bahrain is sorted in the way that best suits the population of the country and that no-one else has to die for their cause.

    1. Considering Jerez was abandoned because of a swap in people giving the prizes to the podium finishers, and considering this is much worse, the FIA should sanction Bahrain, to show they are against this type of events.

      1. Absolutely. It would be good to see the FIA take a little power away from Bernie for a change as well.

  4. VERY well said Keith.

    1. Very much seconded. Holding races in South Africa under apartheid after the international boycott was a real low point for Formula 1, much like the England rebel cricket tour.

      It’s also been great to read the debate over the last few days on these pages hosted by Keith.

  5. Agreed.
    They should skip Bahrain or move it somewhere else ! I am NOT going. I hope Bernie hears this.

    1. Nigelstash (@)
      18th February 2011, 14:53

      If the race goes ahead I will not watch it. People have a free choice how they respond to this situation, but the only way F1 fans can register a protest is through viewing figures.

      1. I’ll watch it

        1. I probably would too, But I’m ashamed to admit it…

          1. I’ll watch too… But I’ll cover my one eye in protest!

  6. This begs the question, whilst these countries are willing to pay top dollar to host a GP is it sensible to do so in such unpredictable / unstable regions?

    1. It wasn’t really an unstable region before this. It had it’s problems, but the ruling family has been in place for 250+ years.

      1. It has only been kept this stable through the oppression of the citizens.

        1. Stability nonetheless unfortunately :/ China gets away with it.

          1. Nuclear weapons get you a lot of leeway.

  7. Fantastic peice Keith. I completley agree, now F1 has such prestige, we cannot be giving it to despots.

  8. Ecclestone’s interjectional supposed threat was nothing short of obscene. Cancel the Grand Prix and having the testing transferred to somewhere else and schedule more for what would’ve been the race weekend. Simple as that

  9. What if…. the government has been over turned within the next few days?
    What if…. by the time the race comes round, the revolution has occurred?

    Would it be disrespectful to race?
    Would they ask F1 to race in the new country?

    With the president set of Tunisia, and Egypt.. the speed of the revolution could happen quickly, maybe days, or weeks before the race. Then what colour would the presence of F1 take?

    Fair enough, it hasn’t happened yet, and maybe it’s a bit cold to set those questions up, but this site isn’t shy of a debate based on the last Bahrain thread.

    1. But even if that happens, I think the people in Bahrain might have better things to do in the coming month than prepare for a formula 1 GP – they will then have to sort out the country.

      1. Well, I’m working on the basis that people need jobs, and money, and are already prepared for the arrival of F1. They’ve just had GP2 visit, even if it was cancelled.

        The point is, if a revolution happens in a few days, the race is a month away.

        Would the people, as kind, warm, hospitable, proud of their country that they are, want to show themselves to the world immediately afterwards. The cogs are in place, the decision is whether to turn the handle.

        The two examples prior, Tunisia seems to have settled down somewhat…, while Egypt still has protests for pay rises etc.

        Maybe they wont be up and running for sometime. I don’t know if the people of Bahrain could imagine what they could feel in advance, to be in a situation they’ve only dreamed about.

        But maybe pride, love of their own country.

        It’s sheer speculation to be honest, and there’s no way one can make that assessment from an armchair. But it’s interesting to hear what people think. Especially anyone from Bahrain. ( Although you may think me ignorant for asking, I dont know! )

        1. Do you honestly think a country that has just overthrown its dictators will be stable enough to host a world class event with all the press and foreign visitors that attracts? Do you not think that there could be a period of instability caused by Islamist extremists trying to gain footholds? It is not a safe place at the moment for anyone especially when ambulance crews are banned from helping people and doctors are being threatened with rape along with journalists having passports taken and being beaten. There are two reasons to cancel the F1 and that is firstly to ensure the safety of all the teams, media and spectators and secondly to show Bahrains leaders that F1 does not support the killing of innocent citizens by a barbaric government. If bernie can’t get over his greed then I hope the drivers and teams refuse to take part.

          1. Nope. I’m posing the question, as it’s another angle for the sake of the debate.

          2. What if the revolution happened, and the race was put back 6 months?

          3. Maybe it could be put back 6 months, But I think to be honest, your naming your chickens and they are only just being laid…

        2. Egypt and Tunisia were not revolutions. Revolutions are terribly nasty and protracted struggles that last for years. They represent a total change in the way a country sees itself and how it is seen by others. The only change in Egypt and Tunisia is in the leaders. There are no real changes in how the people live work or interact with one another. Maybe in the future but not now.
          If there is going to be a revolution in any of these countries we can expect the death tolls to be in the millions. A African American name Frederick Douglass said before the American Civil war “power concede nothing without a struggle, it never did, it never will.” There are some very messy struggles ahead and some of them will spill into our own countries.

        3. Unfortunately this probably isnt going to happen. There is one major difference in Bahrain over Tunisia and Egypt. The bulk of their security forces are not locally recruited, many of them come from Pakistan. As such their loyalties are very different from the previous uprisings. This doesn’t bode well and makes for a much more volatile situation, which unfortunately will got down a different route i think.

    2. turn-around to a new STABLE government doesn’t happen that quickly… in parts because the new government kinda has to prove itself.

      1. Megawatt Herring
        18th February 2011, 12:40

        If the royal family steped down there would be a power vacuum in the country and then there would be the long process of fighting and arguments about who should take over. In short It won’t be sorted in a mounth either the people will be oppressed and the royal family stays in power or there will be continued unrest whilts a new system is implemented.

        1. yes, there is no way this situation can be resolved before March. absolutely no chance whatsoever. look at egypt – supposedly they have achieved their aim (getting rid of mubarak) but it will be months or years before anything really changes.

          in bahrain, they haven’t even got as far as that.

    3. What if…. the government has been over turned within the next few days?
      What if…. by the time the race comes round, the revolution has occurred?
      Would it be disrespectful to race?
      Would they ask F1 to race in the new country?

      If that happened the race would, if it will be hold, during the end of the season, but this would make a needless chaos.

      1. And yet Bernie goes and says in the BBC he hopes it goes ahead. That F1 doesn’t do religion or politics.

        People seems to know everything when they make assertions here.

        Personally, I have no idea how it will pan out. I just wish the people the best, and that the recent killings are the last. I really feel for people, families and kids in that country and situation right now.

  10. Yeah you’re right Keith: the peoples’ safety (both Bahraini & F1 personnel) is a priority.

    Well Obama, maybe you should invade Bahrain?! ;-)

    1. Chrizz,

      Oh stop it! The US & UK has willingly supported these countries even if it has a tyranical dicatator(just think oil). It only matters when the said dicatator is no longer playing ball with Washington, then the Marines go in. I am sure that I might be right in saying that the US has a military base in Juffair, which evidences my point. The much used word ‘Freedom’, is a joke in the context of global politics. Any country that is still being ruled by a monarchy in the 21st century is living in medieval times. I wish the Bahraini my best in the coming weeks.

      1. lgs, your right there are US bases in Bahrain, they even hold the US Fifth Naval Fleet!

        1. And another term I first heard at uni is ‘blowback’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowback_(intelligence)

          It happened with Saddam Hussein, it happened with Osama bin Laden, and their support for Middle East dictators could well come back to haunt them in the coming weeks. The US government really is incompetent

          1. Take your jingoism elsewhere. Not only am I sick of Europeans (to make a harsh but broadly accurate generalization) taking every opportunity to point out what a terrible country the United States is, and how we bear direct responsibility for all the world’s ills, but this isn’t the forum (literally) to be airing your grievances.

            My country’s government is far from perfect, and I was largely ashamed of the Bush White House’s actions, but the knee-jerk (and usually hypocritical) blame we receive for any given world event just about makes me want to get out a ten gallon hat, buy a pickup truck with a gun rack, and sing country songs.

          2. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            18th February 2011, 18:19

            I think the only reason your country gets stick from the rest of the world is because they are always the first to plunge into war even when there is no benefit from doing so. Personally, I like America think it’s a wonderful place but you have to admit you do seem to be the most war hungry western civilisation.

          3. @PeriSoft, yes we get a bum rap, but not always entirely unfounded. As Americans we do have to bear some responsibility for the actions of our government. I’m not sure that this is necessarily off topic here either, given what’s going on in Bahrain at the moment.

            @Jarred, yes, very war hungry. Unfortunately the Military Industrial Congressional Complex is such an incestuous glad-handing club between our defense contractors and politicians, that much of our economy in the US relies on the military, which accounted for 20% of our country’s federal budget last year. There’s an excellent documentary on the subject called “Why We Fight.” I highly recommend it to Americans and non-Americans alike.

            @Ned, Blowback is also an excellent book, about the consequences of American Imperialism. http://www.amazon.com/Blowback-Second-Consequences-American-Empire/dp/0805075593

          4. Oh, and for the record PeriSoft, I already own a 10 gallon hat. ;-)

          5. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            18th February 2011, 22:55

            @USPeter, Ahh, I wasn’t aware that your military provided economic benefit to you, like most people I just assumed it was only a drain on the budget.

      2. I’m doing a module on Military Geographies at uni atm. Apparently the US has more than 700 military abroad… that’s just staggering

        1. 700 military

          Not quite sure what that means, was there a thousand or million or something left off there?

          1. he means 700 militaries, duh! For example, one soldier counts as 0.001 of a military. Science.

        2. Whoops. 700 military bases

          1. Oh. Yeah. That’s kind of disturbing. The largest is Okinawa I think. It’s the subject of the entire second chapter of Blowback in fact.

      3. Any country that is still being ruled by a monarchy in the 21st century is living in medieval times.

        United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

        1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
          18th February 2011, 18:20

          Yes, but the UK also has an elected government that has equal control, Bahrain doesn’t

          1. Of course I agree UK is freer than Bahrain. That is an absolutistic monarchy.

          2. And a minority doesn’t rule a majority of a different race.

    2. Shhhh! He might hear you.

  11. Excellent post Keith and completely agree. I really hope for the people of Bahrain that they protest peacefully and show the shameful, brutal policing to the rest of the world for what it is. F1 should not race there, certainly not at this juncture in Bahrain’s political history.

  12. I totally agree. There is no way that F1 needs the bad press that would go along with helping to promote a country that does this sort of thing to it’s own people. This isn’t the 70’s, you simply can’t get away with being associated with this sort of action.

  13. I wonder if it is possible to swich from Bahrain to some other track?

      1. Well, preferably a track that is fully laid down, and doesn’t have a couple of JCB chicanes 2/3rds of the way through

      2. Come on Bernie..cancel it!

        As a fan, I dont want to loose a race, hence he should it move it Doha, could be a night race as well?

        MotoGP kicks off in Doha on March the 20th, so the place will technically be setup for a race 10 days before I would think.

        Bernie should move the race and not charge Doha for holding the event, he should do it for the fans!!

        Could Bernie wave his magic wand and make this happen? I doubt he will give in.

        1. Bernie should move the race and not charge Doha for holding the event, he should do it for the fans!!

          When has Bernie ever done anything for the fans? Bernie does for Bernie’s pocketbook.

          1. Bernie reads Ayn Rand. He is a stanch capitalist.
            When Lenin said a capitalist will sell the rope to hang himself he had Bernie in mind.

          2. If logistically it is possible to run an event in another nearby country then I think they should. Economically I imagine it would stack up. The FOM would probably still get their fee from Bahrain, race or no race, I imagine the contract would have some sort of clause that if the country is unable to safely host the event they are still required to pay the fee.

            Having said that I still believe that the Bahrain race should only be cancelled if it is physically not safe to be in the country, and judging by media reports the King has asked his son the Crown Prince to start a dialog with all parties involved in protests in order to try and restore piece, may be with an open dialog, it might be possible for a peaceful resolution.

            Furthermore F1 has no right to get involved in a countries internal political issues. Most Formula 1 people previously had no issues with the Shia Muslim majority being repressed (it’s not a new thing), it’s a little bit hypocritical to now suddenly be saying that F1 shouldn’t be going to Bahrain because of the repression of the Shia Muslim majority.

      3. Drivers better get a Skoda Yeti then :)

    1. Teams have already sent containers with material to Bahrain, gonna be diffucult I think for them to send it to an country in time.

      1. I would think that if an alternate venue was in the Gulf region then it would be fairly simple to divert the freight there.

        I would assume they’ll already have contigency plans in place given the current situation – if they haven’t then that’s a strategic blunder that dwarf’s Ferrari at Abu Dhabi 2010..!!

        1. You can’t have a contingency plan for an F1 race being cancelled. The plan is the race happens. If something like this happens one month before, it is a force majeure – it’s not reasonable to plan for a cancellation.

  14. Hi Keith,
    I totally agree and am disgusted at the news stories I am reading. Please start a poll – should F1 race in Bahrain. I know we are all fans and can’t wait for the first race but as Jake Humphrey put it on twitter, sport comes second to issues like this.

  15. alonso_elmatador
    18th February 2011, 10:22

    Cant they go to Qatar/Doha??its kinda good circuit.

    1. C’mon, really? I’ve drawn better circuit layours on Post-It notes. It looks like a Scalextric track, and not a good one either.

      1. Yeah don’t forget we’re comparing this to Bahrain though.

        1. That did make me laugh. As long as a decision is made quickly,with the people of Bahrain in mind, I don’t mind where the GP may be held. (Ruling out Bahrain of course).

          It took 15 minutes for some entering the country to get their passports checked, with the amount of people entering the country, it will not do anyone any good, although possibly pleasing Bernie.

    2. exactly! its only a few hours away by road. all the eequipment already in bahrain just needs to be loaded onto a truck and bob’s your uncle!

  16. Lots of F1 insiders and journalists in my Twitter timeline have commented how hospitable Bahrain has been towards them in the past what a lovely place it has been to visit. It’s apparent that the F1 circus has always seen (ie. been shown) the best of Bahrain, which clearly is not the same view the majority of its population gets.

    While I agree that there are other F1 races hosted by questionable regimes, the patent brutality demonstrated by Bahrain’s ruling elite this week would make this Grand Prix uncomfortable viewing.

    Bernie has an opportunity to “do the right thing” here, just this once. I will boycott the event if it goes ahead, for what it’s worth.

    1. “It’s apparent that the F1 circus has always seen (ie. been shown) the best of Bahrain, which clearly is not the same view the majority of its population gets.”

      Exactly, they used a global sports even that is F1 to create a false image of the country.

      1. Same could be said here – they’re not exactly holding the olympics in Glasgow are they ;-)

        Couldn’t really care about events in the middle east, crap circuit though. Won’t miss it.

        Can’t they just hose the protesters out the way and keep them at bay with water cannons?

        1. Can’t they just hose the protesters out the way and keep them at bay with water cannons?

          No, I think you’ll find the police prefer to shoot them in the head with actual bullets.

        2. Can’t they just hose the protesters out the way and keep them at bay with water cannons?

          if that was an attempt at humour – it’s a total fail. You do realise water cannons are just tad more powerful than a backyard sprinkler, right? Whether that was a joke or not, it’s sick thing to say.

          1. Why is it sick? That’s what water cannons are for. I tell you what’s sick, the relentless media frenzy supported by dribbles of ‘witness’ testimony from opposition activists, and politically biased ramblings from a supposed F1 journalist. Any decent journalist should use point/counterpoint to avoid bias, rather than just regurgitating the opinion of the Guardianistas 24 hour rolling news coverage.

          2. 3 people are dead with hundreds injured… Do you not register this?

        3. I suppose not, that’s why they used tanks and bird shot supported by tear gas.

          Not very funny.

        4. Commonwealth games are in Glasgow in 2014!

          In all seriousness though, there are areas of the Middle East that are perfectly safe and very pleasant, and these included Bahrain for a number of years.

          My sympathies rest with the people – let’s face it the worst thing we lose here is that we get ‘only’ 19 races across the globe.

          The protesters are fighting for basic human rights.

  17. Agreed. I hope it’s canceled as there is simply no need to add to the risk already faced by people within the country.

  18. Well said Keith I agree… is there a petition we can sign somewhere

  19. couldn’t agree more. f1 has to make an example of bahrain and show that it is an ethical sport.

    it cannot ignore this and go ahead with the it’ll be alright on the night mentality, there is far too much risk involved.

    hopefully sense will prevail, even if it was to, “calm down” in bernie’s words, today i don’t think there would be enough time.

    they aren’t going to be bringing every other race forward and it’s too late to organise a race elsewhere. we may be waiting a little longer for 2011 to get under way.

  20. Well put Keith and I completely agree.

    Even if the situation resolves itself quickly, it wouldn’t look good for F1 to return there this year, or maybe even the next few years, if ever.

    1. That may be a little overkill. The people of Bahrain haven’t (appeared) to have done anything wrong, so why shouldn’t they deserve it? It’s just the unjust and oppressive regimes implemented by the government that are causing all of this mess. I do feel deeply sorry for all of the innocent people caught up in this – and the protesters. But I am sure there is another side to the story, so I’m holding my firm and final judgement for a while.

    2. That would be going to far. Cancel this year, maybe even look to reschedule it later this season when unrest has died down and the potical situation is stable, the people are safe. Writing off more than one year is not the thing to do.

  21. I believe the Bahrain Govt owns a 30% stake in Mclaren.

    1. It’s 42%.

  22. Quite right Keith. To see all the beautiful helicopter shots of lovely peaceful Bahrain while it’s citizens lie dead in the streets would sicken me to my stomach.

  23. Agreed, Keith. Just also wanted to say (slightly off-topic) what a professional job you did on The Flying Lap. Great stuff.

    Keith, do you have any information in regards to a possible replacement race?

    Would there be a replacement, and where so? I’ve heard Abu Dhabi and Barcelona in the mix…

  24. Hopefully the teams will refuse to race even if Bernie doesnt see sense.

  25. and surgeons beaten for trying to treat the injured.

    That’s nasty, medics should never be touched, they would save the lives of either side of the fighting.

  26. No doubt the GP will be cancelled on safety grounds, and Bernie won’t have to make a the decision on moral grounds.

  27. Boycott is not unheard of in F1 histoty: Fench teams (Ligier and Renault) boycotted the South African Grand Prix in 1985 to protest agains partheid and so did Zakspeed. Senna was very hesitant to go and only did because Lotus went. The Nordic drivers (Johansson and Rosberg) also faced strong pressures from their respective government not to go but did nonetheless. No GP took place in South Africa after that until 1992 and the end of apartheid. Going to Bahrein now would hurt F1’s image and it can’t afford it.

  28. Christine Biggs
    18th February 2011, 10:47

    This is what happens when you choose money over history and variety.

  29. Very well written piece about why F1 should not have a 2010 Bahrain GP Keith, I completely agree.

    I think FOTA should decide today, together with the FIA, that for many reasons, among them safety, the race has to be cancelled.

    An individual team boycot might be difficult for those teams (like McLaren) with ties to regimes in the area, even if I think most of the other sponsors should be busy telling teams to not go race there.

    1. Completely agree (except that it’s 2011 already.)

      I think it would be great if FOTA (alongside the FIA) would take a stance, not merely passively wait for FOM. I’m sure most fans hold the point of the of the teams they like higher than that of the commercial exploiter.

      Great article, Keith.

    2. …they shouldn’t have one this year either ;-)

    3. eh, make that “2011 Bahrain GP” … still not entirely used to being in the new year it seems.

      I have heard people say it is hypocrite to now suddenly not want to have this race “what about last year” (heh) or Abu Dhabi.

      Of course, last year, the inequality was there already, and this was a contributing factor reason to not be entirely thrilled with more races in the area when Abu Dhabi arrived, rather than merely that it was another boring race, but in the end: fans weren’t really having a choice here anyway, so that’s not interesting.

      Now we aren’t being asked by Berie either, I am sure. But the situation in Bahrain has changed and is now far worse than it ever was. I think it is good to see F1 fans look up from the testing times and take note, and not stopping to give their opinion on this until they are heard.

  30. f1 can’t be associated with baharain at this moment. I just hope it’s the end of f1 there. French gp in paul ricard or even the mexican gp at hermanos rodrigez it’s a much better proposition. Now that slim is into f1. It would be good for f1 to visit that beautifull track, with big fan base and tradition.

  31. Whilst I don’t mind skipping Bahrain for the reasons mentioned – you’re right, it is easy to make arguments of moral hypocrisy, and its correct to.

    You’re turning a blind eye to the human rights abuses in China, Uigar and Tibet that dwarf those in Bahrain a thousand-fold. You’re ignoring countless murders perpetrated by Brazilian police. It’s common to cite South Africa, but everyone ignores that F1 went to Australia (admittedly not as an official part of the world championship)while it continued its ‘White Australia’ policy and continued to do so at championship level when deaths of Aboriginals in police custody reached epidemic levels (as a percentage of Aboriginal population). I’m sure those who would make comparisons with British behaviour in Northern Ireland. Etc. etc. etc.

    Simply because something’s been in the media doesn’t make it any worse. the only reason the Uigar civil war does not get on TV is that the Chinese won’t let reporters within a 1000 miles of the place. And probably because media moguls don’t want to anger a potential rich marketplace.

    I don’t mind if we never go to Bahrain again, I don’t mind if we launch a sporting boycott of half the planet, but let’s be consistent, and even if it’s a question of scale, Bahrain are still not the worst sinners in the F1 pool, that’s just the TV and Western politicians with vested interests saying that.

    If Bahrain is cancelled it should be because it’s dangerous to the teams, not to score political points for others.

    1. First sensible comment I’ve read on this post, including the post. The media frenzy surrounding this and the other issues currently flaring up in the middle east is just that, a Media frenzy with vested interests.

    2. China is so big that the safety argument is unlikely to be there, even if this year major protest were to break out and be squashed bloodily in Beijing during the GP; I agree this might make the momentum to stop a GP there smaller, but that doesn’t mean a lot of F1 fans wouldn’t be arguing for stopping the GP.

      In the end, we aren’t asked for our opinion by FOM, not about these things, so our influence has its limitations; here we can add our voice to hope and influence this one, and thus we do.

      As for Australia and SA in the past: that is the past, and people did not have as direct access to knowledge of how the situation was; anyway, we can’t now do anything about it, apart from possibly thinking they were the wrong thing to do a the time. Even so, I am sure for some people it made it distasteful to have the GP there and they did protest about it.

      I wasn’t old enough to watch F1 at the time (born end of 1975), can’t do anything about not protesting at the time. I am pretty sure my parents disliked F1 having a GP, if that helps.

    3. Agreed Dafid,

      We all have skeletons in the wardrobe, some more than others. The media, government and the corporatocracy are so intertwined, I sometimes wonder who makes the decisions (I would put my money on the latter!) – because that is what affects nearly all decision making – money. F1 will not cancel the GP for political reasons, it will be safety and security and rightly so.

    4. Agreed. And if you combine a political statement with ‘it’s dangerous for the circus of people to attend’, the political statement is immediately watered down. It just looks like it’s being used as a way of getting out of something difficult.

      I’d like to know what the opposition leaders think. I’d like to know what the many people who will receive income from the GP think. And even whether this is the same thing. The geopolitics of these situations are much more complex than most people think. If you are looking to take over ‘power’ in a country, crippling it’s economy and disenfranchising even more people is a quick way to do it.

      The question in Bahrain at the moment is whether there is any mechanism to investigate the actions of the police/military and whether an honest and truthful enquiry takes place. That is what marks out a mature and open society. Maybe, just maybe, the people closest to the King and his family, within F1, can help to bring this about. Just turning tail and claiming a somewhat dubious moral victory smacks of ignorance and kneejerk posturing to me.

      I wish the best for every ordinary person trying to live their life safely and productively in Bahrain. In the end, what do they want?

    5. All well and good, but saying that others are doing bad things too is no reason to not take action here. Isn’t it better to start somewhere than not at all? And in any case what do you want that’s the way the world works. Poland almost finished communism in 1980/81, but after the government clamped down and limited western media access it was less sexy and without outside support the movement could only go underground. I’d rather that didn’t have to happen in the Middle East now.

      1. Daffd is 100% spot on IMO.

        If we start to make F1 about international politics, who do we appoint as judge over where it can go? Bernie? Lol!

        People should get off their high horses and realise that sport is sport, politics should not come into it,(I know it does, unfortunately).

        The reason the Bahrain GP will not happen is down to safety issues. Any other reason opens a can of worms that is difficult to close.

        1. So let F1 not be about politics. But letting it go ahead would be a gigantic support call endorsing the government.

          Maciek is right, good example. Give them the chance to have a bit more freedom and a right to say what they want.

    6. I really don’t see how people can disconnect the two so casually.

      Whatever political side F1 does or does not take does not change the fact is is highly immoral to even consider holding race organized by and held on on a track owned entirely by the government, when they are beating protesters to death some miles away. Going there is as much a political statement as not going, but in any case the reason for not going is a moral one, not political.

      Accepting some countries do not grant its citizens the same rights as civilizations is something other than condoning brutal violence against fellow humans.

      Other regimes also using awful means to a political goal doesn’t make this any more right. If you’re adament on drawing a comparison with other regimes, it is perhaps much wiser to draw a lesson from this disgust towards oppression, rather than the apathy towards atrocities committed elsewhere.

      The fact other countries have done very questionable things in the past regarding human rights which we now take for granted should only speak for the validity of the aim of those coming up for there own, not condone that kind of behavior in the 21st century.

  32. How come PM is still quiet on this one?

    1. …because he is too busy at the moment picking his reputation off the floor which is in tatters!:>) Only joking mate, hope all is well, we all have opinions and you have every right to have yours.

  33. Excellent article, Keith

    Absolutely agree. It’s a shame the teams will be out of pocket, and if the reports from Bahrain are true, I can’t see them going back for a long while.

    Agree with the other comments on maybe hosting a test somewhere else like Qatar/Dubai.

    Thoughts are with the Bahrainis

  34. Hate to say it because I wanna go racing, but I completely agree with you Keith. Cancel the race and never return.
    This stuff makes me sick on so many levels.

    1. Luckily, with the advent of movable wings, there won’t be anything that could be described as ‘racing’ going on this season anyway – so no big loss.

  35. I think if there are serious safety concerns then they should cancel because there is no way the drivers/teams, stewards, fans, media, etc should be put in a dangerous position just to run a F1 race. However I think it is a slippery slope boycotting the race for political reason, because it you use F1 as a political statement against an autocratic government in Bahrain which F1 has been going to and taking money from for years then why not boycott China as well or Abu Dhabi? Turkey has a bad reputation for human rights if you boycott Bahrain then why not Turkey? Maldonado is backed by a autocraitc government should he be banned from F1? Do not get me wrong what is going on in Bahrain is horrific and is to be condemmed but I do not think F1 should have a poltical agenda because it sets a dangerous precedent and smacks of hypocrisy. Cancel the race for safety reasons but not for a political statement.

  36. Are the teams gonna have any grief getting their equipment thats already there out of Bahrain?

  37. Just been watching Sky News. Apparently the tear gas cannisters being used against the civilians were sold to the government by the UK. We sell our arms to anyone, this is how we knew that Saddam had WMDs, we just checked our invoice book! :>)

    1. Tear gas is not lethal. It’s designed as a choking agent, designed to disperse crowds by prompting them to seek clean air. It’s only really a danger to those with exisintg breathing conditions, like bronchitis.

      1. At the same time, yes this is a problem: a lot of Western countries are making quite a bit of money selling all kinds of weapons/weapon systems, selling to regimes that aren’t always top notch with human rights. It is good to be aware of it, and I personally think that it should stop.

        Easy to say as I can’t do all that much against it. At least my country signed the anti-mine treaty – after they stopped producing them. In the end, now with twitter etc. we can voice our opinion against such things a bit easier perhaps, and then there is voting, but there is only a limited amount we can do about it, but that isn’t a reason to just do nothing.

      2. Ive used it, so I understand its MO. My point was more aimed at the hypocracy of so called Western democratic Governments supporting tyranical regimes overseas by selling them weapons which could be used against their own own people, and in some cases, weapon systems that could only be used for torture. We love it in the West, taking the moral high ground, when in fact, there is more blood on our hands than most other countries put together. So forgive me if I don’t get all choked up when I hear the national anthem. Sorry, wrong meeting…


        1. The entire point of tear gas is that it is a non-lethal weapon specifically designed to break up crowds with no long-term health effects. There are countless examples of cases where the use of tear gas has been authorised and accepted as a legitimate tactic for breaking up a riot, riots which have happened in the developed world. Do you criticise those governmnets for authorising the use of tear gas in those cases?

          1. Tear gas, water cannons, firing of elastic bands or tickling sticks, whatever. My comments are not with regards to the type of weapon systems, it is the hypocracy of Western ‘Democratic’ Governments selling arms to tyranical regimes, it is as simple as that…and what we are seeing, is Exactly that.

            “If we dont sell weapons, then someone else will”…”Its not the weapons, its the end user”..”Its good for UK jobs…etc etc – all bull**** excuses.

            The bottom line is, very simple. Take a deep breath…We are either real human beings or we are not.

  38. Cancel and NEVER go back!

  39. It must not.

    If the race must be cancelled, then it should be cancelled for the right reasons: to protect the teams and drivers. And for no other reason. Formula 1 is not a political tool, and Ecclestone has no place dabbling in the politics of Bahrain.

    1. Of course that will be the reason given, if only because that is something that the contracts will be likely to cover, and it is easier to defend for the Bahrain government (even if it admits they aren’t fully in control). It also is easy to explain to sponsors and shareholders.

      It doesn’t mean that behind the scenes there was debate about other reasons and sponsors or shareholders possibly pushing for an outcome based on different reasons, nor will it mean that people will not have their own opinion on why it was stopped.

    2. So, hypothetically, if the safety of the drivers/ teams could be guaranteed, yet the protestors kept on dying throughout the race weekend, you would see no problem with that?

      1. Why should we see a problem with that? As Prisoner Monkeys wisely said, F1 is not a political tool. It’s about racing and sports entertainment, not about promoting “glorious freedom”.

      2. So, hypothetically, if the safety of the drivers/ teams could be guaranteed, yet the protestors kept on dying throughout the race weekend, you would see no problem with that?

        I have a problem with it, but it is not the place of Formula 1 to pass judgement on it. This is a matter for nations and governments to resolve, not motorsports.

        1. That’s a beeswax argument PM. the only people who can make a clean separation between politics and the rest of life are those like us who live comfortably in places where politics means talking heads on TV and tax reform. In places where upheaval is going on, ‘politics’ is life (and death). Taking a stance and saying we will not go to entertain for money in a place where people are getting smacked with police batons and worse just for saying they don’t like the government is not political. It’s just plain decent. And please don’t respond with “there’s other places…”- of course there are, but it’s always good to start somewhere. Sometimes you can end up doing the right thing even your motivations aren’t as noble as might seem.

        2. I have a problem with it, but it is not the place of Formula 1 to pass judgement on it. This is a matter for nations and governments to resolve, not motorsports.

          I actually agree with you there. But it still doesn’t look good. I think that even in this scenario, it’d be best if they just left it for a year – regardless of whether or not it is F1’s duty to resolve issues in Bahrain.

        3. Looks like Bernie sees it the same way.

          So no problem to you, if the government puts tanks all along the roads and shoots everyone not agreeing to keep the F1 personell safe and reporters are being shipped in in blinded busses and receive their mobile phones back only after boarding the plane out of there?

          Because from what is going on, this is about the most safety and calm they are going to get in a couple of weeks.

          Even some Teams have already spoken up, that they would not like to be seen in a negative way being in such a situation.

    3. That was the argument used to hold races in S Africa. Didn’t win F1 many friends then.

      1. It’s not about making friends. It’s about keeping your nose out of where it doesn’t belong. And Formula 1 does not belong in politics.

        1. I agree sport shouldn’t get mixed up in politics. But a lot of people view it as “you are friendly with my enemy, therefore you are also my enemy”.

    4. Regardless of the motivations of those protesting it is clearly not safe for folks to visit. Whether this helps the Bahrain people or not never was relevant I thought.

      What helps F1 is not getting motorhomes/property set on fire or otherwise damaged.

  40. There is always two sides of a story. It depends who you believe

    1. Ean,

      What is the the other side?

      1. Where is it written that the Bahrain governmnet ordered the deaths of those protestors? What if it was just one unit of police officers who were given orders to break up a riot and took things too far? It wouldn’t be the first time it has happened.

        1. Possibly true, but why did these police officers then think it was their mandate to stop those people at all costs, instead of going back to the top and saying it can’t be done in a reasonably humane way? That is in itself sign that things are bad.

        2. Well, we certainly haven’t heard the government condemning the policemen, launching murder enquries etc. At the end of the day, the government is in charge

        3. PM – is there a reason you consistently stick up for the authorities? Who said anything about ordering deaths? Thing is authoritarian regimes don’t need to directly order deaths – all you need to do is train a couple of generations opf repressive police units who know that their job with potential protesters is ‘neutralisation’ and then you equip them accordingly. You don’t need to consciously intend to kill in order to be responsible for deaths. It’s enough that you create the conditions for it to happen. Just like all authoritarian regimes do.

        4. Even if the armed police forces decided to do that on their own, does it make it any less horrible?

          Prove us that what can be seen on footage and comments from CNN, Al Jazeera, the BBC and loads of others is not true and then ask us to give evidence of the government not ordering this.

    2. Ean- All sorts of neutral news agencies from all over the world are reporting on this story, and the common consensus is that these were innocent protestors set upon while they slept

      1. Haven’t you heard about the phenomenom of ‘Sleep Rioting’?

  41. I totally agree, what happened in Bahrain in disgusting and the race should not go ahead.

    However Ecclestone is himself a dictator so I don’t suppose he will listen unless the pressure is immense.

    It also begs a bigger question – of hypocrisy, after all F1 deals with a lot of corrupt regimes and this kind of thing happens on a daily basis in many places, just on a smaller scale. The only reason these countries can outbid European rivals is because they can spend their money with no accountability. Maybe it brings into question a good part of the calendar.

    1. From the interview with him on BBC radio he is right on the way to agreeing with the Bahrain government, everything apparently seems to be OK.

      Bernie does not listen to twittering world class reporters currently in Bahrain it seems. Just his own people telling him it is quit today!

  42. Christine Biggs
    18th February 2011, 11:36

    Ean, I’d like to know the other side too!

  43. This article is not news, this is like brainwashing.

    We cant say for sure what really happened and we cant say for sure if the people at the top are responsible for the things which happened on the ground.

    Like you said, Journalists are not allowed in the country. So the only info we have to work with is the word from a few very bias and questionable sources.

    I’ll reserve my judgement for when we actually know whats going on.

    1. and of course protesters would say stuff like that. They have an agenda and they are trying very hard to operate an open smear champaign. The entire goal is to put the government in bad light in order to gain the support of the rest of the world.

      1. That’s kind of like saying that we can’t know for sure that the sun has risen on a cloudy day because we can’t see it with our own eyes. Think about it – what is the only logical reason that foreign journalists not allowed into the country now?

      2. Well the government helped out a lot by attacking unarmed people why they slept – how fortunate for them…

    2. Agreed. Finally some sense, rather than jumping on the ‘revolution’ bandwagon without any knowledge whatsoever of the country or what may or may be happening there.

    3. Ahm, but there were journalists, and they spoke to victims, and doctors. There were at least those covering GP2 – Will Buxton had an interview with CNN about what he witnessed. Also, there were videos online of what happened, including by a journalist who got beaten up for being around. It is not just the opinion of people with a grudge.

      No, we don’t have “evidence” to convict the “top” in Bahrain, I guess. But they are the government, they allowed this to happen – and they didn’t stop it either. Here in the Netherlands we have something called “ministerial responsibility” which means that a government minister is ultimately responsible for what his/her department does – regardless of actual culpability; the Bahrain government at least has that sort of responsibility for this.

      Maybe we will see a quick action by them to stop this and repair what they can for the victims, and that might help them stay on; but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. Not allowing journalists into the country is also a sign of that – even if it is done “for their own safety”.

    4. The article is headline ‘Comment’, not ‘News’.

      1. In addition to this, the subtitleof the site is usually along the lines of “The Formula One Blog” (cant see it atm because of the message to kubica)

        But what im getting at is, Keith can write whatever the hell he wants, “brainwashing” or not.

    5. Where have you heard that journalists are not allowed in the country ? It must be wrong because they are allowed to enter it. Just watch the News and you will have a full account of what is going on there. Then you are free to believe it or not. But as all the media are saying the same thing, that is that innocent demonstrating people were fired upon, I would tend to believe them.

  44. Christine Biggs
    18th February 2011, 11:45

    As sport fans I don’t think we should be citing political or human right reasons for stopping the GP, that should be done in the appropriate arenas. But the physical violence which has occurred and hence the lack of medical backup should be enough to cancel the GP.

  45. Difference in this case is that the bernie’s comments incentivises the government to do what ever it takes to crush the protests by wednesday. In such a small country, the gp is vastly important to the rulers.

  46. lgs and Christine Biggs

    I believe youre still prepared to race in China as long as nobody start anything against the Goverment What is the difference between Bahrain and China or do you believe there is no violent action in China

    1. Ean, appreciate the response, please go back and read all my posts and you will see that I do think outside of the box. The subject of global human rights atrocities is bigger than Ben Hur. I despised the Chinese actions in Tibet – and the West did nothing. I disagreed with the massive loss of civilian life in Iraq – in the name of ‘Liberating’ the people… and the list goes on. However, based on this logic, we would be holding only one F1 race each year, in the country of Bhutan, which apparently measures its GDP on the happiness of its people. The F1 in Bahrain will be cancelled, and rightly so, because of safety and security. However…and there is always an however…whatever the outcome of the present situation, I believe that it would be in very bad taste for the organisers of F1 to have the race in this country.

  47. The race has got to be cancelled, it is the only appropriate course of action. If F1 does not condemn what has happened, then no-one will. Governments buy an F1 race as a sign of international credibility, there is a line that has to be drawn and this is it

    1. Actually, a contributing reason I think in this case the race might be canceled is rather that others will condemn it, and F1 for going through with it too.

  48. so, ‘tony’ liuzzi for HRT? really, what do you guys think…

    1. Good for both of them in my opinion – maybe this post was meant somewhere else though?

  49. p.s.
    sorry it’s off topic.

  50. Christine Biggs
    18th February 2011, 12:07

    Ean, as I said in my last post, I don’t think sport should be used as a political agenda. I think the race should be stopped on the grounds of safety for the teams. The world is full of violence, and its getting worse. I think its all down to money and power, personal gain by most leaders, but its going to need more than a F1 race to stop it.

    1. But everything is politics. China, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and even Turkey aren’t hosting GPs because motorsports are popular in those countries. They do it to show the world that they can host a major event like an F1 GP.

      Considering the situation in Bahrain, F1 should go for the moral high ground. It would not only be dangerous, but also disrespectful to host a multimillion dollar event when the government supplying those dollars is out on the streets trying to bully their opposition back into their homes. What is happening now is a PR-massacre for Bahrain.

      Many of the oil and gulfstates have the aura of modernity over them, but are in fact highly unequal and segregated societies. If F1 not showing up bursts that bubble, so be it.

      1. +1 xtophe. COTD.

  51. Keith, totally agree.

    Bernie, cancel this race asap.

  52. The testing and the race cannot go ahead under these circumstances, it would be so immoral ! If the race goes ahead, I will not watch it on TV or read anything about it!

  53. Christine Biggs
    I agree with you. I am leaving this topic now and try to focus on my passion for motorsport

  54. It is easy to make arguments about ‘moral hypocrisy’, and point to questionable actions taken by other governments in countries that F1 visits.

    But showing up in Bahrain and accepting their money to race days after the world has watched it murder its citizens would be unconscionable.

    So.. assuming His Majesty stays in charge and “extinguishes the fire”, when is it going to be okay to return and let him tour the paddock, everyone being all smiles. Next year?

  55. I think purely on grounds of morality it should be cancelled. Theres no point racing around a track while people lay dead a couple of miles away and not too mention youd be putting the driver’s and the team’s staff’s lives at risk

  56. The situation will cool in Bahrain, the race can proceed. I’m sure that what the locals want as well.

    1. lol, who do you think you are – Jack Dee!

  57. The situation has escalated badly in the last 24 hours. For safety reasons alone I now think the GP should be cancelled. I don’t think it should be a political statement – people can read whatever they like into it – but whatever the outcome of these protests I don’t see Bahrain being safe and stable enough for the F1 circus in a month’s time.

    1. I completely agree with you Andy. It just seems too dangerous.

    2. Agree. Although continuing with it now would be a political statement supporting the government.

      1. I don’t believe that contiuning with it would be a political statement. Bernie has always distanced this sport from the politics of the country’s that host a GP. It would be political apathy but perhaps at its worst. The government may just use it for positive PR though if it did go ahead.

  58. good one Keith, well said.
    If F1 boycotted every country that had or has had some form of oppression then it would end up no-where; however as this is hapening now in Bahrain and the race is very very soon then it is appropriate that this years race in Bahrain is cancelled . Could they run it in Yas Marina as the Bahrain GP just like the Swiss GP was at Dijon and the San Marino in Italy? Seems logistically possible.
    Also, i hope this bloodshed ends ASAP and that Bahrain and ALL its people can resolve their issues/differences peacefully in the near future.

  59. Paul McCaffrey
    18th February 2011, 12:47

    Perhaps cancel the Grand Prix in the country that ran over a protester with a tank.

  60. For most of yesterday I was fine with the notion of the GP going ahead (so long as it was safe for the people involved in F1 of course). If F1 got involved it would potentially open up a can of worms and although everything that is happening in Bahrain is terrible there are other countries who have appalling human rights records but don’t have people standing up and taking action and still have an F1 race like that is acceptable. I’m also usually against other countries gfetting involved and telling a nation, a culture that what they’re doing is wrong except in extreme circumstances but this is an extreme circumstance.

    I’d actually mostly been following the news about Iran at the time but then I started to read more articles, tweets etc on Bahrain and the idea of keeping F1 and politics seperate just didn’t sit right with me any more.

    F1 is regularly used as a symbol of prestige for countries because it is the ultimate motor racing championship or at least, it’s held in that regard. It’s used by goverments to show off which means that unfortunately, F1 and politics are very much linked.

    The F1 circus not showing up probably wouldn’t achieve anything at all except an even worse image but if the race did go ahead I know full well on Sunday I wouldn’t give a damn about who was winning or who was pulling out a stunning overtake or whatever the cameras are focussing upon when there apparently is so much violence going on around.

  61. They don’t have an option but to cancel I’m afraid.
    I do hope it’s possible to replace it with an European race instead!
    Enough circuits that can do it!
    Logistics will be the hardest problem probably!

  62. My thought Exactly, Thank you Keith…if does go ahead, I will not be watching.

  63. Totally agree Keith. It has to be cancelled.

  64. QATAR, please do GP instead of these criminals …. Love Doha

  65. With all due repent Keith what mind boggling hypocrisy you talk in this article. So the race should be canceled in solidarity with the poor ‘oppressed people’ of Bahrain? Where was this righteous attitude last year or the year before? Oh yes sorry the ‘oppressed people’ were being quiet then so it must have been all right for us to go and enjoy the race.

    Why do ‘oppressed people’ have to risk their lives on the streets in order for us to get on our soapboxes and suddenly declare it’s wrong to hold a race there?

    Bahrain isnt the only F1 destination with dodgy human rights. Should we cancel races there too or is it necessary to wait for those ‘oppressed people’ to come out and start dying on the streets too?

    1. Surely the point is that there is a lot of civil unrest right now and terrible things are happening right now and on our TV screens right now in a very small country. F1 needs to make a decision right now AND in this contect it would be “unconscionable” to make the decision now to have a F1 race against this backdrop and with the security and safety implications for the F1 circus and ordinary Bahrainis.

    2. The article does not concern itself with the politics of the ‘oppressed people’ at all and does not pass judgement on the political stance of either side.

      It’s the part where the government kills many of its own citizens and prevents medical personnel to help the injured that causes that makes holding a race at this point so very immoral. Which is the only thing the article is concerned about.

      1. Uhm, the post above was actually mine, no idea how ‘Todfod’s name and email adress (a yahoo one) got there. I think the post system might be slightly overloaded.

  66. (Sorry, no time today to read previous comments. Sorry if I repeat something.)

    Keith, why not start a petition? I totally agree with and would be first to sign. I love F1 and can’t wait for the season opener. But not like this. I would have an awful feeling in my stomach.

    Power to the people.

  67. NY Times showing this. Is this true?

  68. Would rather be safe than sorry.

  69. A really excellent thought piece Keith.

    We all love F1, we’re all ravenous for the new season to begin, but it can’t start this way. It really must not be allowed to and hopefully even Bernie can realise that.

  70. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone now feels hopeful the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in March will go ahead despite unrest in the country.

    1. I really doubt it. Where did you get that information?

  71. Personally, I feel we need to take a measured approach and take them time to see what unfolds day by day before making a final decision next week.

    1. dont have that luxury, testing starts 3rd March, majority of stuff and staff will be in Bahrain next week

    2. Like, we have to see weather the renewed protests (hinted at by CNN reporter in Bahrain) will be crushed down with enough force to make the people that are left alive give up on further protests? And have tanks escorting F1 personell to the race track?

      Because seriously I cannot imagine any other situation enabling the race to go on. And I would seriously disagree with such a race.

  72. Couldn’t agree more. It must be cancelled.

  73. Arab prince promising Bernie some cash, the looks of it :)

  74. Bernie is being Bernie:-
    (Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone remains hopeful the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in March will go ahead despite unrest in the country.

    Three people have been killed and 231 injured during violent anti-government protests held in the region, prompting concerns about the race from F1 teams.

    Ecclestone told the BBC: “Our people there say ‘it’s quiet, no problems’.

    “I’m more hopeful today. I hope we don’t have to do anything. Let’s hope this all blows away.”


  75. Whats the weather like at Monza right now? Race there!

    1. You have to be joking. Probably no better than UK weather at this time of year. In fact probably wetter.

  76. This is a welcome change that you’re making political statements.

    Perhaps you should go all the way and not support the US for keeping these people in power in return for cheap gas and military bases? ..or any of the other countries for what they do and the media doesn’t report.

    Don’t grow half a conscience please.

    1. Ridiculous – the US government has nothing to do with the US GP. Besides, when has Keith ever supported the US? How about you not grow half an opinion?

      1. I agree with the author in not supporting events sponsored by such governments. I think you typo’d when you mentioned US govt and US GP. My point was (and is) that by extenstion, other parties are just as guilty for supporting these despotic regimes around the world. We know that the middle east govt’s have little to do with representing/empowering their good and beautiful people.

        As Keith says, it’s easy to point to this that and the other, but the wounds are raw in Bahrain and it would be callous to show up and go about business in an insulated way.

        My half a conscience remark still makes sense to me, although I do not meant it as an insult. Just look to the Abu Dhabi GP to cite a quick example. The UAE is guilty of slavery in the modern era, yet we don’t give a hoot about that. We should not wait for riots by the poor oppressed people and should try our utmost to stay aware.

        I wish you the best and don’t mean any harm, so please don’t take offense.

  77. Here is the actual audio interview with Ecclestone:


  78. latest news form Bernie is that the race will probably go ahead.

    frankly i dont see why it shouldnt.

    for example the protests in egypt were over in just 2 weeks with Mubarak stepping down. there is no reason to believe that this will go on for a long time. either the government will be overthrown or not.

    If F1 fans have a problem with the Bahraini royal family and what they are doing, where were they the past several years when we were racing there? why didnt people bring up politics before? This reminds me of the erathquake in Haity. The poorest country in the world. Massive poverty and noone even took notice. But right after the earthquake people started sending their charity. If they have sent their money before this could have been avoided with better buldings and infrastructure/ relocation etc.

    It seems to me hypocritical to now express concern over the situation in Bahrain when nobody cared a few weeks ago. Poeple are taking the moral stand saying the GP should be canceled but probably new nothing about the specifics of that reagion until the protests. Its easy to say that the race should be canceled to avoid supporting the government in Bahrain. But this decision should have been taken before bulding a race track there. I did not see any discussion on this topic during that period.

    If you argue to cancel the race for political reasons, why not also cancel the Chiniese GP for reasons of human rights violation and the oppression of Tibet?

    We should not mix politics with sport. This includes F1. regardless of how popular it is.

    1. That’s all fair to raise these facts and well put, but I think its important to note what hypocrisy actually means:

      a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

      No one can presume that Keith or anyone else calling for an F1 boycott of Bahrain is in fact an avid supporter of autocratic thuggery or monarchical theocracy. Or to presume that they are de facto a supporter because they have to this point not made a peep about it in public.

      But even if errors can be alleged—of omission, looking the other way, not saying anything—it is not hypocrisy to take steps, however, small, to mitigate those errors, or to give life to conscience.

      In this case, anyone with a conscience, even half of one, can see that, unless the regime changes by race day, F1 will be shaking freshly bloody hands when it is greeted in Bahrain. F1 doesn’t need that mark and it is easily avoided.

  79. Well said Keith. F1 has to start somewhere in improving its image, I can think of no better place to start. Sad to think that smiling royal that came on TV saying he wanted to show off the glory of Bahrain to the world is the same one who’s now repressing his people and foreign journalists so viciously, but now he’s been found out for what he is we should have nothing to do with him or any others of his ilk.

  80. Every sentence you wrote it right, Keith, and I’m so pleased to see that there aren’t people saying disingenuous crap like “keep politics out of sport”. Sport is nothing if not a human story, and how can it be human if it’s at the expense of humanity?

    Well said, and well said co-commenters!

    1. lots of human things are at the expense of humanity.

      and btw, what is NOT a human story?

      and if sport should be part of politics, where was the concern for bahraini citizens before the protests? presumably their lives were not dramaticaly changed just recently. its just that they reached a tiping point because the whole world including F1 were indifferent. the easiste thing in the world is now to express concern.

      i lived in Bahrain for 8 years so i was involved in this long time ago. while others were just commenting on how boring the races were.

      1. vjanik

        You seem to think that if something didn’t happen yesterday, then it shouldn’t happen today. That is weird logic. People don’t act until something is brought to their attention, otherwise we would all be psychic. Are you saying that we should ignore the murder of protesters today because eight years ago we did nothing, as we didn’t know what was going on?

      2. I think that’s a reasonable stance, vjanik, and you have experience on the ground, but as you say there’s a tipping point. Personally I’d rather F1 stayed away from several places it goes to, but up to a point sport, cultural exchange, commerce etc can act positively. It’s never black and white, though, and at some point – like when a government starts to kill its own citizens to preserve its own interests, which is a line I think it should never cross – at that point black overwhelms white, IMHO.

    2. [well my addendum seems to have gone astray though perhaps it’s being moderated somewhere. Here it is again:]
      Sorry, I take that back, I see that the “keep politics out of sport” argument has come out. And to be fair there is a case for that on a general level, inasmuch as sport should be a vehicle for people to rise above or transcend politics, but that’s not how it would be here: this would be a case of sport carrying on oblivious to direct violence of government against people outside the gates. No way is that the same thing as, for instance, football matches between Palestinians and Israelis, where sport is an agent for uniting people outside of politics.

  81. oops, sorry, I take that back, I see that the “keep politics out of sport” argument has come out. And to be fair there is a case for that on a general level, inasmuch as sport should be a vehicle for people to rise above or transcend politics, but that’s not how it would be here: this would be a case of sport carrying on oblivious to direct violence of government against people outside the gates. No way is that the same thing as, for instance, football matches between Palestinians and Israelis, where sport is an agent for uniting people outside of politics.

  82. Wow, Egypt and now this, Rought times for that area of the world. I agree, if there is a safty of people we need a cancel and to refund people. It would suck to have to wait a week to see F1 but I can manage more than I would want to hear a F1 fan was killed. Or anyone for that matter.

  83. It would be good for the image of F1 if the race is cancelled. It will probably do more for public perception then the green paint on the tyres.

    I think it is arguably easy to claim that the country is in an unstable state and that racing there is not safe.

    I won’t go into the morality argument (again), but I do think that F1 can’t make a straightforward political statement, for the reason that the rules prohibit it, as we saw with Turkey and Portugal where the podiumceremonies lead to fines / discontinuation of the race.

    Making a plotical statement would also create a big other mess for F1: one of it’s most popular teams is for 42% owned by this very bloodhanded regime.

  84. I agree.

  85. Agreed, and well-said, Keith.

    Ignore the lame logical fallacies of those who say that supporting a GP in places that lack perfect human rights records but opposing this one makes you a terrible hypocrite.

  86. I agree.
    Cancel the GP

  87. Yep just cancel it and schedule another test in Spain, Bahrain is a terrible race anyway, sure we’ll have to wait another 2 weeks for the season start but the racing is so much better in Melbourne and we will be treated to a mouth watering season opener to kick off 2011 with a bang instead of getting some extra sleep during Sunday afternoon like in 2010. Lets never return to Bahrain and open a spot up for a new circuit and let this be an end to bland boring flat lifeless tracks in the middle of the desert.

  88. Yes, ignoring human rights violations would be a very bad idea and F1 would deserve all of the fallout it gets by going Bahrain. Bernie is apparently getting his info from the royal family there, and aren’t their policies the target of the demonstrations? Not exactly an unbiased source.

    Unless this gets resolved very quickly and satisfactorily, which is highly unlikely, yes, Bahrain should be canceled, or at least postponed.

    Thanks Keith for your principled stance on this!

  89. Bernie Ecclestone legally can’t cancel Bahrain unless it is in breach of its contract. It’s down to the FIA and/or the circuit to cancel on the grounds of safety (clearly the medical staff are needed to help the injured in these protests rather than at a sporting event where injuries are merely possible).

    If things calm down by next week, maybe an alternative to cancellation will be possible. I’m not hopeful though :(

    1. The alternative to “cancellation” is postponement, which is what I think Bernie has in mind.

  90. I don’t at all get arguments that say that it’s hypocritical to say anything now if we didn’t say anything before. What’s hypocritical about becoming aware of things you weren’t aware of before and acting accordingly? I don’t know about you, but it’s not bad recipe for life, you know?

    1. Well, accusations of hypocrisy are an excellent way to get out of responsibility. Arguing that the race should go on because “Well, we race in China too” is fantastic if you want to keep racing; nothing will ever change if you refuse to start due to your previous inaction.

      With that attitude, any effort to change for the better can be written off as hypocrisy due to any given past injustice – so it’s much easier to wash your hands of the whole thing and, ironically, go back to feeling superior as a person because you condemn your country as hopeless.

      1. Well put, PeriSoft. Hope the ‘hypocrisy crowd’ read your comment.

  91. I’m confused…if the government was beating the surgeons for helping the wounded then why where the ambulances all busy taking the wounded to hospital? did they not get beaten too?

    don’t get me wrong…i think bullying regimes are totally wrong, including places like china who have just signed a new 7 year deal but this is Motor Sport…not politics


    1. @ the Edge “… then why were the ambulances all busy taking the wounded to the hospital? did they not get beaten too?”

      Follow the first link in Keith’s excellent piece, the one reading “protesters being killed with live rounds” – they were beating and threatening the ambulance drivers as well.

  92. Thank you Keith for having the moxie to put into print what many of us think. I just hope Bernie’s “bottom line” is not given precedence in the decision.

  93. Well said Keith – the events in Bahrain are abhorrent and the regime should be shunned by all right minded people.

    Sadly Mr Ecclestone would not appear to be amongst their number given his latest comments. Can someone @ CVC kindly find him a nice rest home somewhere on the South Coast please?

  94. It’s a boring track anyway. Bring the race to Scotland! I’m sure Knockhill could host again :p

  95. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698%5D

    This is getting very ugly now. Forget the politics – it probably isn’t safe right now to go ahead with the race for the spectators or any of the teams/drivers

  96. Yep, completely agree.

  97. To the point of the “hypocrisy” – until I read reports that the F1 race was in jeopardy, I didn’t even realize that Bahrain had demonstrations. Obviously that’s a lot clearer now, but those “demonstrations” have turned into “crackdowns” and the situation is a whole lot more dangerous now.

    I don’t pretend to know a lot about the Bahrain ruling family, or the positions held by the demonstrators. I am instinctively suspicious of people who try to turn off the flow of information, so my current impressions are much more favorable towards the demonstrators than the rulers.

    Regardless of what your views are concerning the events in Bahrain, the GP must be cancelled. You don’t even need to pull politics in the decision. Just make the common-sense decision to cancel a race that’s happening on a small island where people are shooting at each other. We can sort out the innocent from the guilty later.

  98. I didn’t read all 7 pages of comments but I see some people saying that they could increase the security, that it all would be fine. But they seem to forget that first, the race is not just on the track. It also involves everyone traveling from the airport, to hotels, from hotels to the track, from the track somewhere else. And travel involves risk in this case.

    Second, people could start rioting right on the track. Look at what happened in Egypt. The crowd becomes uncontrollable. If one does it, everyone else will follow. And I suppose it wouldn’t take long in an Arab country for some guy to start shouting anti-government slogans from his seat just for everyone else to follow.

    Hence, I say it should be canceled and this fact should be shoved down the throats of all those billionaires so that the whole world sees that.

  99. I agree 100% with Kieth there shouldn’t a grand prix at a time like this. But, do you guys really know what is happening? Based on your comments i don’t think so, basicly its just that Bahrainians don’t want it to be a kingdom, while the 3 deaths were not intentional they rounds were fired to scare the protestors.

    1. sorry “the rounds” not “they rounds”.

      1. If you want to scare protesters with a gun, you discharge the weapon into the air, not into the crowd. But hey, watching someone standing next to me die from a gunshot wound, would scare me.

  100. This article sums up my thoughts entirely, for F1 to come and aid a government which is abusing it’s citizens in this way would sicken me.

    Whatever happens, I know I will not be watching a Bahrain Grand Prix this year.

    1. And will you substract the points gained in your head?
      Will we have debates as to whether the champion is champion because of these points?

      If there’s a race, I will watch. But I think they should cancel because of safety.

  101. I couldn’t agree more with the article. Racing isn’t important compared to what has happened and it would send out the wrong message to the world if F1 goes racing in Bahrain in a few weeks.

  102. Bernie’s backpedaling, so it’s time the fans stand up to make ourselves heard. Formula One mustn’t support a government that beats and kills its unarmed citizens.


    The Bahrain Grand Prix should be cancelled immediately due to force majeure, and no further races run in Bahrain until its populace is allowed the right to assemble and protest without fear of reprisal.

  103. Cancel it and race else where.
    I don’t think the sport should mix with the politics, and i don’t think what is happening in Bahrain is anywhere near to the apartheid South Africa, but any excuse to change to another track is welcome.

    In fact 19 races is good enough.

  104. I dont understand why Bahrain even has a GP

  105. Right or wrong, by Keith’s logic we should drop China, too.



    I’m curious to see what kind of excuses people make for the far, far worse government of China.

    1. I don’t think anyone makes excuses. From memory the ethics of racing in these places, especially China, have been brought up ever since F1 went there. What’s even worse than F1 (an enterprise of private interests) being in China is having the Olympics in China and countless government-sponsored business conferences. Out of the two, what do you think legitimates China’s government more? Or, two make things more personal – how many of your purchases during, say, the last year were ‘made in China’?

      There’s always a double logic to these things because you can also argue that by including these countries as much as possible into the international community you are in the long-tern working towards their internal change.

      Thing is what is much less ambiguous is that there is nothing hypocritical either about realising that F1 should never have been there, or about saying we can’t go race there while dissent is being violently repressed in the streets. It’s just plain decent.

    2. a simple point, but valid :

      – China has 1 billion + people
      – Bahrain, less than 1 million people

      You can’t hide behind those numbers.

      1. Valid as in what?

        That human rights should count only when there’s not a whole of humans?

        1. I don’t think that sentence actually makes sense.

          1. The point is, China is 1.3 billion people strong, and over 50% more populated than Europe.

            The whole world condones trades with china, and thus has a presence there trading, dealing, investing. We all buy goods from there.

            So it’s not so clear cut to say, we shouldn’t be racing in China.

            Bahrain on the other hand is the size of Leeds, population wise. It would be impossible to go to Bahrain, and not affect and be affected by the troubles there.

            That’s my point.

            Personally, I agree on a number of levels, F1 should not race in Bahrain as things stand.

    3. There is no excuse and they should not race there, period!

  106. Race in Abu Dhabi twice.

    1. They’ve apparently already offered to host the test and race…

  107. The situation looks getting worse and govs already put out travel advice against going to Bahrain. So that is it no matter how BE was nice to his Bahrain royal friends.

    1. Now that would be the easiest way for Bernie. If the government gives a no travel advice, they really cannot go there.

      Insurance will not have it, and no one will be able to convince anyone of it going ahead being safe.

  108. Thanks Keith!

    My opinion exactly and the race itself has no importance compared to damage it would cause to the sport as a whole.

    It is revolting to see that Christian Horner’s concern is for his own safety only:

  109. Whoa…! I didn’t see this news of Bahrain Forces attacking people with live fire?


    That’s horrific! This is civil war territory..

    1. down side of living in NZ.. I’m behind the curve on the news when I wake up..

      This country is suffering a massive trauma, the government is clearly desperate and frightened, running scared perhaps.

      incredibly sad. :(

  110. Morality doesn’t even have to come into it. Racing in Bahrain would bring the sport into disrepute.

    Hamilton could lie continuously for the rest of his life and it wouldn’t do a millionth of the damage.

  111. It was just a matter of time for this to happen. When you accept petro-dollars earned from dictatorship countries that’s the least it can happen.

    Next goes for Barcelona getting a Qatar sponsor when they usually had Unicef… so sad!

  112. Sorry have I misunderstood the rumours that Bernie is offering an additional GP instead, some place called Donnington ….bah humbug

  113. not only should this be cancelled but any F1 interests involved with the bahraini government should break their contracts, i’m looking at you mclaren.

  114. Have to say: if the Belgian government was shooting its own people in 2011, I’d be calling for the race at Spa to be cancelled, too (much as it would pain me). As it is, I don’t hear much from the Belgian government except that they’re going after some pedophile priests and the criminal enterprise at the Vatican doesn’t like that, of course (and more power to the Belgian government!).

    The Bahrain circuit is as inferior as any against Spa, of course, but this should have no bearing on the matter. It wouldn’t matter if it was a hybrid of Nordschleife, Schottenring and had Monaco as its pitlane exit, Formula 1 cannot divorce itself from politics and Bernie would pull the plug if he had any integrity (so I fully expect to see the race go ahead, and in glorious HD to boot).

  115. Well done Keith for raising this!. I think undemocratic countries should be dumped esp China et al. F1 needs to clean up and show leadership in techo/enviro and hey politico contexts. B Cool.

  116. Bernie has no morals if he lets this go ahead, on top of that he is crazy to put everyone at risk. Bahrain is a small place, ot does he call tanks gaurding the racing track part of motorsport? its bad publicity as well and bad for the brand of F1, 19 Races is plenty anyway.

    I wish we could bring back the bumpy, rough European circuits of old, that was real racing. These new tracks such as Bahrain are like motorways anyway, i can’t explain it, it’s like Tilke dromes are just too clean and smooth in some way. All glitz,glam and safety but no passion, the Surfaces in MOtorsport has to be a bit bumpy and ingrained to give more challenges to the driver.

  117. F1 can’t go to Bahrain – simple as that. If only out of respect for the dead and injured peaceful protesters. Money is of no relevance to the circumstances.

  118. Just read through all the comments… that the Bahrain GP should be canceled is really a no brainer. We’re not just fans we are fanatics… we don’t miss races… we live for FP1, 2 and 3…qualifying and race weekends. Our computers are usually always logged in to this or similar sites looking for F1 news, F1 tweets or anything F1. We’re from all over the world and we come to the same majority opinion regarding the Bahrain GP.

    Cancel it.

    I like what Charlie Whiting said the other day… If Bernie wants to race there, then he can go and start it!

  119. hear hear Keith!!! F1 must not go there, and tear up it’s contract with Bahrain. Thanks for the link in the article, heart breaking stuff. Very very sad.

  120. I guess there is no possibility of the race happening elsewhere. Just when I was thinking the first race is only three weeks away… ho hum

    1. I have spent time in China and it really is no comparison to what is going on in the mideast. Chinese are trained from birth “accept that they have little say in the political process so accept and try to be happy. We promise to keep the cost of rice low.”

      Not only that, but they have probably can fill the stands a lot easier because there are a lot of millionaires in China these days, especially Shanghai.

      F1 should continue to think about this solely from the perspective of a business and not get politically involved. That is why we love things like races because it gives us a break from all the BS in our day to day lives such as politics.

      1. that comment was supposed to be a reply to the one below.

  121. I agree that it should be cancelled, but what I find weird is that no one minds Chinese GP. I mean just look what happens there every day.
    F1 should go back to its origins which is Europe. Bernie is just to greedy and wants more and more.

    1. Of course, nothing bad as ever happened in Europe recently…

      Ironic then that the F1 cars are testing today in Barcelona!

  122. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/they-didnt-run-away-they-faced-the-bullets-headon-2219267.html

    More deaths yesterday in Bahrain at the hands of the army and police.

    I will be so disgusted if this race is not postponed.

    If protestors feel the race weekend is an excellent opportunity to get their plight the attention of the world, they will be beaten and killed by soldiers as they try to get to the track.

    I really can’t believe how disgusting Bernie is. Business is business, eh.

  123. well thats the kinda people berine gets in to bed with.this race should be called off it would be a buzz if they raced.the middle east is wakein up and the west is a very dirty word at moment.cant see any form of racing 4 or 2wheeled done in the middle east this year.this is not going to stop, after Bahrain were next?

    rip to all killed in Bahrain by their own army. makes me sick

  124. When I first read Keith’s bit about cancelling I thought it was a bit too premature, however as the hours progress and the situation doesn’t appear to be getting any better this can be the only solution…and the sooner the better.

    Rioting/Upset people and gun toting Security Officials/Police don’t care whether F1 is affected or not, in fact I’m certain the F1 stage would be too big an arena to ignore.

    There is a very real possibility that should the racing circus come to town (whether the race is run or not) there will be some tragedy that may affect F1 not only for this season but by becoming a permanent unhappy reminder of this whole sorry affair

    CANCEL NOW – and let Australia take back it’s place at the top of the F1 Calendar (and no – I’m not Australian!)

  125. suthichai suthichai
    RT @f1scoop: The UK now advising against all but essential travel to Bahrain. If #F1 still chooses to go, most insurance will be void

  126. I was wondering if we can do something about it, e.g. how can we let Bernie know how many people are against the race taking place in Bahrain?

  127. If Bernie walking up the pit-lane grovelling to the Royal family isn’t calling the sport into disrepute then what is…….maybe after a few decades of cigarette advertising, F1 management has a different kind of moral compass to the rest of us..

  128. When the police state clamps down and kills its citizens, frightening them back into their homes…..then the country will be safe…..and Bernie can have his day in the sun. Given his age, not too many days in the sun left for the old tyrant, maybe then we will have a new generation of management who are in touch with the times and who value the fans……I doubt it.

  129. A huge event like F1 could also draw a suicide bombing during the Bahrain race – what better venue for a global terrorist act? Perhaps flip-flopping with the Abu Dhabi race could buy some time to review the political situation? The proximity shouldn’t harm the logistics too much, though travel plans for fans will certainly need to be adjusted quickly.

  130. Quite simply the race should not go ahead. End of..

  131. The protests in Bahrain didn’t surprise me. What did was the violence by the police and military.
    I was in Bahrain in both 2004 and 2005, and what I experienced then was entirely different than what I am hearing now. A lot has changed in the world since I was last there, but it is hard to believe that a country as hospitable as that could dissolve into violence like this. I admit that when I first arrived I was nervous. But, that soon went away as time and again I was received with kindness. My heart goes out to those that have lost their lives and to their families.

  132. Paul Richardson
    19th February 2011, 17:56

    I mean, really, which other world class, top of its category, international sport is governed by one person.
    What other sport has the say so of one man as to how, where, when it is run and who can participate.
    Dictatorships? Bernie defines the word, personifies it.
    Can anyone please explain to the world how this happened.
    Not in football, rugby, tennis, horse racing athletics, American Football, Baseball basketball nowhere. If it was present in any other sport people would scream organised syndication. It is WRONG.
    Keith, please run a column to explain this.

  133. Paul Richardson
    19th February 2011, 18:54

    one point four billion reasons a man can sleep well…..

  134. F1 is not political and stays away from all forms of politics.
    Remember a few years ago when the Turkish had the so called “president” of their muppet “government” in occupied Cyprus hand the trophy to the winner of their Grand Prix??? RESULT: US$1,000,000 fine.

    So bottom line leave politics out of racing.

    Bahrain is a state of the art circuit and NOT BORING AT ALL. If the teams and drivers want to play it safe in a race to just finish it (for whatever reasons) the track is not boring, the racers and the team politics are.

    Last word of advice. Don’t beleive everything that gets reported. I leave in the region and have actually been in Bahrain 3 days in the last week. What I can tell you FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN is that the protesters are a few thousands, MAYBE 15,000.

    Looking forward to a great race in Bahrain, whenever it takes place

  135. dear Mr ecclesteine, imagine having the grand prix in Germany during Nazi hilter regime who was killing the jews,I think you would have definitely cancelled it , so why now while this dictator of bahrain killing/oppressing/jailing/torturing the innocent people of Bahrain you still are considering bahrain as a place to have the grand prix ? Please cancel it in bahrain as this regime already targetted doctors/nurses/teachears and even a young 20 yr old girl poet who is in jail right now . THANK yoU

  136. Saying the protests in bahrain is a political issue is absolutely unfounded ,the moment you kill people then you are a criminal and should not be awarded anything. Just please visit youtube or even visit nabeel rajab (human right activist in bahrain) to see the degree of ottrocites committed by this regime. The grand prix should definitely be cancelled as the protests are still going on and the brutal oppression is still going down.This country is boiling and it will explode so beware not to be their during the human explosion.thank you

  137. just to correct my previous post , visit Nabeel rajab on facebook (he is the human right activist who is banned from leaving bahrain)

  138. If Bernie/FIA are tone deaf enough to re-schedule the race, the teams, via FOTA, could refuse to go and cite safety rather than political reasons. And if it comes to that, I hope they will!

  139. Save the people of Bahrain from the government deadly

    Save the people of Bahrain from the government deadly

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