Deadline day approaches for Bahrain decision

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2010

The Bahrain Motor Federation has less than a week to tell the FIA whether the Bahrain Grand Prix can go ahead this year.

If they say no it could spare the World Motor Sport Council a difficult decision.

But with the Bahrain government talking up their circuit’s chances of turning a profit this year, expect them to urge for the race to return to the calendar later this year.

Since a three-month state of emergency was declared on March 15th the government has pursued a hard line against the protesters.

Last week Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague warned: “Although the immediate situation appears calmer, there continue to be many credible reports of human rights abuses.

“The arrests of opposition figures, the reports of deaths in custody, allegations of torture and the denial of medical treatment, are extremely troubling.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to advise against “all but essential travel to Bahrain”.

Amnesty International sent a delegation to the country earlier this month and its report on conditions in the country makes for disturbing reading:

More than 500 people have been arrested in the last month. The overwhelming majority are Shi’a Muslims who were active during the protests, including many who called for changes to the political system.

In virtually all cases, weeks after their arrest, their whereabouts remain unknown; the government has refused to disclose this information to their families or lawyers or, in most cases, allow any contact or visits, prompting great anxiety as to the safety and welfare of the detainees.


Human rights conditions in Bahrain have undergone a marked deterioration in recent weeks. This was clear and palpable during Amnesty International’s most recent fact-finding visit, following an earlier visit in February.

The government’s resort to renewed excessive force to suppress the protests, its declaration of the State of National Safety and the extraordinary powers that contains, and the application of those powers to arrest and detain incommunicado hundreds of mainly Shi’a protestors and political activists has exacerbated tension between the Sunni and Shi’a Muslim communities and cast Bahrain on a very worrying downward trajectory.
“Bahrain: A human rights crisis” – Amnesty International (PDF)

The government criticised the report as “inaccurate, one-sided and unfair” and has used its near-total grip on the media to refute the claims of the protesters.

Public figures who supported them have been smeared on Bahrain’s entirely state-controlled television.

One of the few newspapers which does not toe the Bahrain government’s line, Al-Wasat, was closed earlier this month. The use of the internet is heavily restricted.

It is not difficult to draw a line between the government’s suppression of protests and the Grand Prix. The government has spent huge sums on the Bahrain International Circuit, which has lost BD 44.3m (??71.1m) in the last three years.

The protesters who have appealed directly to Ecclestone are likely to be disappointed. His eagerness to have the race reinstated can be gauged from his initial claim that the race could be held in the searing August heat.

Having realised the impossibility of his idea he is now trying to fit it in at the end of the year. He has insisted his standpoint is not “political”, saying “Formula One must never be political – full stop”.

But there is no apolitical stance on this matter. Either you are happy for the Bahraini government to suppress its people so F1 can hold a race, or you aren’t.

That is the decision the FIA may very soon find itself faced with.

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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    115 comments on “Deadline day approaches for Bahrain decision”

    1. Mouse_Nightshirt
      26th April 2011, 11:02

      I fear it’s only a matter of time before this becomes the next F1 political soap drama. Bahrain is so detached from it’s own reality right now that I think it’s a near foregone conclusion that they will “approve the race”.

      With Bernie then pushing for reinstation on the calendar, the ball will be left in the FIAs court to sort this madness. All I say on that is thank goodness Todt is in charge as I’m sure Mosley would have hopped, skipped and jumped into the arms of the Bahraini government on the issue.

      The last thing F1 needs right now is a major political scandal. Things are going well this season, no less so for having missed Bahrain in the first place.

      1. I think in the light of the infomation Keiths posted, this race would be akin to racing in apartheid South Africa, legitamising a regime clearly complicit in massive human rights abuses.

        Some say they don’t think the race should be cancelled for political reasons, unfortunatley thats impossible. F1, like it or not is a world institution and therefore it’s patronage is highly political. We must not go to Bahrain, an if we do, I’ll certainly not be watching Jake Humphrey and co deal with their gags on mentioning the protests. Or the Prince blithly welcome us to his wonderfull project, it’d be intolerable. Unfortunatley dramtically reduced veiwing figures is the only way the message will get through.

        1. ^^^^^ what Scribe said ^^^^^

        2. They’re holding a US GP, aren’t they?

          Read the latest Gitmo leaks? “renditioning” a 14 year old boy to a military camp where torture takes place on the off chance he might have overheard something?

          1. OH NO!… we can’t possibly lose such a great track and event filled with fans…. oh wait.. it’s Bahrain…. get rid of it.

        3. I agree here Scribe, how can it not be political with all of the Bahrain government being involved in its running and promotion.

          As discussed on the Forum earlier this year I will vote with my feet rather than enjoy looking at a Bahrain GP.

        4. I think it’s time I do another forum post about Bahrain, again as most of you now know I’m a Bahraini and no one can judge our country better than it’s own people!!

          Truth and justice have prevailed and scales have tipped, the government are the good ones and the opposition are the bad ones! The ongoing investigations have proven to all what was true and what wasn’t and those who believed the protesters’ lies are shocked and feel betrayed to know that they had a very big hidden agenda that had nothing to do with reforms at all! They are the ones who have tramped on all the rights of Bahrainis and have caused all of the violence and turmoil! Anyone who doubted the government now stands by it.

          The protesters themselves have switched sides and have spoken against the opposition! And sadly the media and the world are still falling for the “oppressed” story. Wake up people, we have moved on, Bahrainis have moved on!

          Check out twitter to see what Bahrainis are saying “#BahrainWantsF1” If you don’t want it, it’s your loss and you are not supporting Bahrain by not wanting it!

          Everybody benefits from having the GP here in Bahrain from people working in restaurants, hotels, to shipping and car rental companies all benefit! They were badly hurt by canceling the Bahrain GP and suffered severe losses. The whole country wants the race back! It will help our country heal unite and celebrate!
          Anyone not Bahraini calling to boycott it is their complete loss because the whole country will be celebrating it lol. Come and see for yourself :p We all can’t wait to have our F1 fever back!

          It’s funny but if the race does happen I think we will see the biggest crown since the inauguratory race in 2004, because I see many people wanting to have the race who aren’t really into F1. They just want it to happen so bad because we are in need of such a national event to unite us all and help us heal..

      2. Only you are forgetting, that Todt relies on a lot of backing from Bahrain and the gulf regions states (those now “helping out” security with their military).

        So the FIA might be very unwilling to deal with the matter. Will the FOTA teams listen to their sponsoring partners and speak against it?
        Or will things like Williams being active in Quatar and McLaren being majority owned by Bahrain be or more importance for them as well.

    2. If the FIA hold the race it is tantermount to supporting the Bahraini government.

      It’s very difficult to establish facts in this situation, but it’s clear the situation is bad enough for them to wipe the race off the calendar. There are 20 races this year with it on, the teams would almost certainly prefer 19.

      It’s a nothing event, there is no prestige, no crowd and it’s in a converted camel park miles away from anything, the track produces dull races, are there any good points? The bottom line is the sport needs the middle east far less than the middle east needs the sport.

      It’s time to move on and go to places where people will take an interest in the sport rather than the sport taking an interest in the huge sums of money the oil rich government are paying.

    3. Blake Merriam
      26th April 2011, 11:07

      Well the race last year was bad anyway so not so much loss. Well done on your extensive linking Keith, and I dont mean that in a bad way.

    4. It isn’t going to happen. In light of the things that have been going on there? It shouldn’t happen, perhaps not for a very long time.

      1. It’s worth mentioning that Bahrain has a population the size of Leeds. If any place with the population of Leeds had been going through the civil strife, murder and unrest Bahrain has been going through, you wouldn’t touch it with a metaphorical barge pole for a long long time.

        1. Difference here being that nobody cares about Leeds.

          Bahrain has lots of money. Leeds has comparatively little.

          I expect the organisors to say yes to a race before the deadline. Whether it will be held there this year or not is a different matter entirely

          1. Speak for yourself. Some of us are quite fond of our home city!!

            1. Ok, the population of Leeds and some of it’s former inhabitants care about Leeds, but I suspect that 7 billion or so others in the world dont care, especially those with profound interests in lining their pockets with money.

            2. @James. That’s one of the worst arguments I’ve ever seen on any debate. No one cares about Leeds? Whatever you do.. don’t go in to politics will you, you’ll get egged.

            3. @Hare. I wont go into politics for as long as you dont, especially international politics. Bahrain, an oil rich country, with a goverment that is willing to throw money at an often loss making event (not only motorsport) against Leeds, whose council can probably just about afford to power it’s street lights, collect it’s rubbish and repair it’s roads.

              That’s why a select group of people care about Bahrain and not Leeds

            4. And for the record Leeds City Council manages it’s money a hell of a lot better than other cities I have lived in in the past. (I currently reside in Leeds and I am proud to)

            5. We’re missing the point here. If there was a GP in Leeds with the same issues as Bahrain, the motorsport council, FIA, FOM and organisers would be the first to dispell a race, laregely because of how comparatively less it has than Bahrain. Why the hell was the population of Leeds bought into this in the first place.

            6. nobody cares about Leeds

              Credibility gone.

            7. Why the hell was the population of Leeds bought into this in the first place

              I raised it to illustrate it’s small size as a population. Thus any social issues, such as it has now, are grossly more significant than in a country such a China, which has 1.2 billion people, roughly 1/6 of the worlds population.

              I was anticipating someone raising China as a yard stick for human rights, and resurrecting the debate that usually comes to the fore in this type of thread.

              Instead, James went on about no one caring about Leeds. Which is a null and void comment as Leeds is part of the UK and thus incomparable from a political perspective (however hard you try).

    5. I still believe Formula 1 should remain apolitical. If the race is to be cancelled, then it should be cancelled because the country is unsafe.

      And nothing will ever change that.

      1. How can it be when most races are government funded?

        I’d agree if it was between commercial holders and motor racing bodies, but to think that is delusional. The jewel of having an F1 race is the pinnacle of some of these tyrannical regimes (and getting to shake hands with F1 winners and respected sportsmen), but FOM is too financially motivated to wish to see a reduction in government interests in the sport.

        1. How can it be when most races are government funded?

          Because if you start judging one government, you have to judge all of them. If you disagree with the actions of the Bahrain government and refuse to have a race there, that’s fine. But you can’t then go and say “We disagree with the politics of this country” and have a race there.

          Either all races are political, or none are.

          1. Yes, and like I said, any races organised with/by the governments are political – just that the majority of the sport has no say in them (only the rights holder).

            This is why tracks should have a sustainable footing (i.e. be paid for by track revenues) rather than milked dry so only oil dictators can afford them.

          2. Imagine a hypothetical situation: there’s a GP scheduled in some foreign country, let’s make it a regime. There was a political storm going on there, but the opposition is virtually crushed. The government says that the safety of spectators and participants is guaranteed and indeed it looks like it is.

            In fact to prove that they have it under control, the government executes 12 members of the opposition. They also promise to execute another 12 just before the GP weekend and another 12 after the race. Should F1 remain “apolitical”? Should we race there anyway?

            The correct answer is: no, we shouldn’t go there.

            If you want to say that this situation is surreal or exaggerated, sure, maybe it is. But the point remains: at some point we have to make a stand. World isn’t black and white. There’s not a simple template for these choices. Every situation should be judged independently.

      2. I completely disagree. F1 has always sought to set an example to the world, be it through drivers presenting them appropriately to the media, supporting road safety campaigns, displaying public support in the face of tragedy or hardship eg. Japan tsunami, Kubica near-fatal rally crash etc. I don’t see this situation being about “politics” – it’s about doing the right thing. And I bet my bottom dollar Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel’s agent will not want pictures of them broadcast around the globe accepting an trophy from the Crown Prince of Bahrain – a man responsible for horrific human rights breaches. This isn’t about whether you agree or not with another country’s politics – it’s about whether you respect basic human rights.

        1. Then why do I hear nobody whining about the race in China? Or Turkey? I only hear whining when something is currently in the media. The only deciding factor should be the safety of teams and spectators and nothing else.

          1. Maybe you can enlighten me – i don’t recall China or Turkey currently in the middle of a 3 month state of emergency? The countries you refer to, whilst i accept have issues with human rights, are very different in terms of circumstances.

            By your arguments you’d have been happy to go racing in Nazi Germany, gleefully accepting a bottle of champagne and a shiny trophy from a half-wit with a moustache. To say that the only deciding factor should be “safety of teams and spectators” is sadly very naive.

            1. The countries you refer to, whilst i accept have issues with human rights, are very different in terms of circumstances.

              So some human rights abuses are okay, but others aren’t?

            2. No, what I am saying is, that, if you say disrespecting human rights is a reason not to have a race in a country, then I expect that to be said about all countries equally. Part of Turkey is basically a warzone against the people who want freedom in a seperate country. And personally, I find about 100000 people in labour camps and 2/3 of official death penalties worldwide of which only 30% even get to see a lawyer and numerous accounts of torture and ill-treatment as bad as the way Bahrain handled the protests. I don’t see why they resorted to the measures they did and they have to address that but once they do that I don’t see how you can caracterize them as the pure evil that you do.

            3. I don’t see how you can caracterize them as the pure evil that you do.

              Because they want to sleep soundly at night, safe in the knowledge that they did thier part in “making the world better”.

            4. If no human rights abuses were compatible with F1, then F1 wouldn’t race anywhere in the world.

              However, I would argue that there would be a danger to spectators if the F1 race was re-attempted – and possibly even to the competitors if the anti-government protestors decide to highlight their cause while the race is underway. Furthermore, the government is going to have a lot of trouble boosting its “Friendly Business Country” credentials so soon after the civil uprising, meaning there has to be some doubt over whether it will even bother to pay for F1 to be there.

              Any of those three should be sufficient reason to refuse Bahrain the race for this year. I’d leave the option of it rejoining in 2012 open, but with the amount of calender pressure that exists, I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting to see Sakhir play host to the V8s again.

          2. Mark Hitchcock
            26th April 2011, 14:16

            Then why do I hear nobody whining about the race in China? Or Turkey?

            Because you only hear what you want to hear.

            Also because many people are ignorant regarding the abuses committed by those countries because western governments, companies and media like to keep it as quiet as possible because they are making a lot of money in China.

            There are human rights abuses going on all over the place that the vast majority of people know nothing about because they rely solely on mainstream news media for their information.

        2. The race cannot go ahead without the say-so of the government. So if the government ask that the race go ahead, let it happen. And if the situation is so bad that human rights are being ignored and blithely abused, then let the world devour Manama for being more interested in the race than the rights of their own people. They’re quite capabe of digging their own grave; they don’t need the sport to do it for them.

          1. But in that case the world would also devour F1, its rulers and likely every team and driver for being more interested in the race and the money that comes with it than the rights of the people in their host country.

            As keith said, ‘there is no apolitical stance on this matter.’ If F1 goes to Bahrain then the world will view F1 as despicable, money grabbing and supportive of oppressive regimes, regardless of whether it’s ‘trying’ to stay apolitical or not. It would be damaging to the sport, let alone the citizens of Bahrain.

            1. If you don’t understand the complexities of the human rights positions of China and Turkey then i suggest you go and read up about it – this isn’t the forum for it. However, the situations are VERY different to that being experienced in Bahrain at the moment and to try and claim that people’s response to the issues there are driven by the media attention or political correctness is the comment of someone detached from reality.

              There’s no place for F1 in Bahrain at the moment.

            2. Human rights are human rights are human rights. You can’t twist the world the way you want it to be, if human rights violations are wrong then they are wrong no matter what. I am well aware of the various ways of human rights violations across the globe and there is a plethora to find in your beloved China. Don’t give me the ‘its complex’ excuse, everything, everywhere is complex, or would you say the situation in Bahrain is simple? The Bahraini overreaction is unacceptable but it is nothing compared to the systematic oppression encountered elsewhere.
              I wouldn’t go racing in Bahrain this year, I’d see it as possibly dangerous and simply not helpful to anyone, but if order can be restored properly, not in the way of oppression, then I don’t see why we shouldn’t return (well, we shouldn’t because the track is boring, but thats a different story).

            3. No bananarama, that is not true. ‘Human rights’ is a very complex and broad term, and while a violation of these rights is a bad thing, some violations can far outweigh others. And, some of these violations may warrant a foreign sport from ‘pulling out’ and some of these violations may not. Not to mention, what your culture deems a human rights violation is not necessarily what another culture deems a human rights violation.

            4. Mark Hitchcock
              26th April 2011, 20:56


              Not to mention, what your culture deems a human rights violation is not necessarily what another culture deems a human rights violation.

              That’s not really true. There is such a thing as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights You might have heard of it. It applies to ALL humans.

            5. I’m very confused who you’re replying to.

        3. Wow — awesome post. Nobody could say it better than you just did.

      3. Agreed. Totally.

        It’s not that I don’t sympathise, it’s just I don’t see why F1 and the troubles in Bahrain should be treat as one and the same.

    6. Either you are happy for the Bahraini government to suppress its people so F1 can hold a race, or you aren’t.

      Then my answer is eloquent. I am not happy for the Bahraini government, therefore they should not host the Grand Prix.

    7. it’d be suicidal to send f1 drivers there. Last year button was almost robbed at Brazil even after the protection. In a place like bahrain it’d be really bad if something violent happens there.

      1. I do believe the worst of the protests are over. And if the race were to be re-scheduled, it would be held much later in the year. It’s unlikely there would still be protests in October/November when a re-scheduled race is likely to be held.

        1. There is no indication in the news that the worst of the protests are over, just that they’ve gone from “headline-grabbing outright war” mode to “endurance guerilla tactics” mode. This is the sort of savvy thinking one would expect from a campaign trying to get societal change from a government able to block the most obvious forms of protest due to the cameras being in Libya and now Syria instead.

          Having F1 go back would be just the sort of thing that could switch the situation back to “headline-grabbing outright war” again.

          1. I pretty much agree with your evaluation of the Bahrain situation.

            Actually this is quite the situation more dangerous for F1 than protests on the streets.
            Just imagine the publicity for someone or a group to pull off something during the GP weekend!

        2. The worst of the protests are over because the goverment crushed them and vanished the leaders, just because the evidence is gone doesn’t mean we should ignore what we’ve seen.

          I’ve seen you (PM) post that either all races should be political or none but this argument doesn’t hold water. All races are already political even if you don’t want them to be as they a race is a pricey to obtain prestige events. Even if we look on the sport differantly in Europe and the countries arn’t really effected by the presitige. However, a race in Russia is political, a race in Sepang is political. China and Turkey certainly are, an don’t for a second suggest that racing in some of those countries is ideal, however good turn 8 might be.

          There is very little we can do however. The differance in Bahrain is that the fabric of normality is lifted and we can see the brutal nature of the regime, to ignore it for our own pleasure would be deeply wrong.

    8. I would be surprised if the Baharain Grand Prix would go ahead. And also if it remains on the calendar for 2012. Qatar is waiting in the wings to pick up the remaining spot, I reckon.

      1. Ewww, Qatar? Really? Losail is an abominaition, if we absolutley have to give it to the Dubai autodrome, or preferably Algrave or Potres del la Funes. (Pipe Dream)

        Losail is often predictable on the bikes, it’d be flat awful for the cars. GP2 Asia races there are deadly dull.

    9. This is not Bernie’s decision. Where are thr politicians who are trying to free Libyans? Why do they close their eyes to the atrocities taking place in Bahrain.
      Thisis not even an armed rebellion, just protests. Who wants to spray blood in celebration after a race win?

      1. Because they cannot deal with every single problem in the world at the same time. Think of it like a game of whack-a-mole, you can’t hit more than one mole at a time, and it just so happened that Lybia was the first mole to pop up.

        1. How about making very firm pronoucements. No one expects them to bomb the place. So far all one hears are sqeaks and travel warnings. No firm stance so far. It only highlights the multiple of standards.

        2. Or they don’t try to wack the mole because Bahrain is allied to Saudi-Arabia and shi’a religious leaders are considered to be pawns of Iran. As it stands right now, the UN are quite selective in using their ‘responsibility to protect’.

          1. Now you are talking.

    10. If the FiA approve the race, I am not entirely sure the teams would agree to travel there anyway.

      Could FOTA or GPDA hold sway and agree to boycott the race, forcing the hand of the FiA and FOM into cancelling the race completely?

      1. Legend has it that the last time drivers threatened to boycott a race, Bernie Ecclestone walked down the grid and said “You’re driving. You’re driving. You’re driving.” and so on. And guess what happened?

        The race went ahead as planned.

        1. Which race was that?

          1. I don’t know exactly. Part of me suspects it’s one of Formula 1’s urban legends. But if I had to pick a race where it might have happened, my guess would be Dallas 1984.

          2. Is that Adelaide 1989, in the rain? Martin Brundle relates the story in his book.

            1. I’ve heard him talking about a wet race where that happened before. I think I might have heard Damon Hill say the same some time too.

        2. In USA 2005, the Michelin teams managed to get out of racing (unless you count a formation lap to fulfil the strict terms of the Concorde Agreement). The drivers don’t have the power to form a strike, but the teams do, even if they are not united.

          The teams can’t fully boycott the race but they can make it clear they’re going against their better judgement and then not do the race. There’s provision in the new Agreement to skip three races per year but that’s subject to FIA agreement and I can see there being an almighty row if Jean Todt finds there was a mass boycott due to politics (given that the FIA is an explicitly apolitical organisation).

      2. During the last testing in Barcelona we found out from team Williams officials that they wouldn’t have traveled at Bahrain for the start of the season. And I think that could be the case for other teams as well. Now, there is always risk for everyone involved in a well known sport. Buttons near abduction-assault last year at Brazil for example.

        If the Bahrain officials give the green light for the gp then it should be fine. They will make it happen, plain and simple. The only downside is if they stick it after Korea or Abu Bahbi I think that only Red Bull and McLaren will travel there! Just kidding. Maybe ferrari too!!!

        Finally, I don’t think is a matter of money for Bahrain goverment. They have money. A lot of money! In my opinion for them is now a political issue. Organising a successful GP is a way to tell the world that everything is back to normal there and that they are open back for bussiness. And they will use every means they have to make it happend. So Bernie will have to make many calls and have many meetings!!!

    11. I don’t want to get too involved in the comments here, because I think pretty much all of the sensible people are appalled by what is going on in Bahrain and are in agreement, and to try and convince certain people the error of their views has proved to be futile…

      But, coincidentally I stumbled upon the following link yesterday, which I think is somewhat relevant:

      (This is a further reminder that the UAE is a despicable place, and I resent the fact that the Yas Marina circuit was probably built with similar slave labour, but that’s beside the point.)

      If artists can have the morality to foresake a substantial pay cheque from Abu Dhabi to do their bit for human rights, why can’t F1? It would seem Ecclestone doesn’t give a hoot about human rights if they get in the way of money, but surely some of the drivers and teams would be more willing to make a stand?

      1. Because the owners of F1 have lots of loans to repay and therefore, despite their wealth, afford to have a conscience that interferes with repayments :(

      2. It’s disgusting the way Ecclestone sells our sport to awful people. I really hope when the next Concorde agreement negotioations come around FOTA and the FIA can put aside their differances and cut his ilk out.

        The money F1 generates should be going to the circuits, the teams and grassroots motorsport. It should not be going to capital invesment firms and a greedy courrupting man it should not be comming from human rights abusers.

        1. The money F1 generates should be going to the circuits, the teams and grassroots motorsport. It should not be going to capital invesment firms and a greedy courrupting man it should not be comming from human rights abusers.

          While some of the money does go to Bernie and CVC, it’s a deliberate misconeption that he pockets all of it (I say deliberate because people convince themselves to it to justify their dislike of Bernie). A lot of the money is recycled into the sport. For example, FOM set aside $40 million at the start of last year and gave it to Virgin, Lotus and Hispania (and they would have given it to USF1 had they appeared) to cover their travel expenses – particularly for the away legs – for the season. Where do you think that money came from?

          1. For example, FOM set aside $40 million at the start of last year and gave it to Virgin, Lotus and Hispania (and they would have given it to USF1 had they appeared) to cover their travel expenses – particularly for the away legs – for the season.

            Thats true and I’m aware of it. When you think about it though thats less than the price tag imposed upon two of the modern fly away races.

            CVC takes roughly half of the income generated by F1 I belive, thats ridiculous, they do nothing for the sport, I don’t think it’s a particularly wide spread misconception that they pocket all the money. Everyone is aware that the higher up the championship you finish the more money FOM gives you, we all know that money clearly hasn’t gone to CVC.

            I’ll make myself clear, none of the money should be going to CVC. The commercial revenue generated should all be going back into the sport.

            Around a half should go to the teams, they are the sport an the structure through which the commercial revenue is split between them should be fair. Whether in a Premeir League style were everyone gets the same an a little extra for the champion or less and less as you get further away from the summit is for the teams to decide. Personally I reckon a leetle bit more of an even playing feild would be welcome, certainly no historical multipliers.

            The rest should split between grassroots and the circuits, (maybe the FIA should own a few), essentially charging the ones we want less or nothing so they can be upgraded, or possibly doing the upgrades as part of the F1 buisness and recouping the money through F1 activities alone. Better funded circuits mean better security, better fan experiance etc. If F1 had helped upgrade Silverstone, both would have benifited long term.

            As far as grassroots goes thats for those who know better than me how to implement help, but motorsports prime money maker can do the whole sport good across the world I’m sure.

    12. But there is no apolitical stance on this matter. Either you are happy for the Bahraini government to suppress its people so F1 can hold a race, or you aren’t.

      Yes, there is. You could simply not care at all, which is what the sport itself should be doing. This is not about humans getting killed or not, it’s about highly developed cars driving fast around a track of five kilometers.

      1. Klon – i wonder what your response would be the same if you were a F1 fan living in Bahrain? Somewhat different me thinks.

        Keith – do you know if there any followers of this website from Bahrain? Would be interesting to get someone’s view from inside the country on this debate.

        1. Klon- you sound like such a nice bloke

          Dave- There is an F1 Fanatic on the site, LAK, who has been explaining how things are. While I completely disagree with his views that the government behaviour is justified, and feel he disregards the plight of the thousands of Bahraini’s who have been treat so badly in recent weeks, I must say he’s been very polite throughout and makes some fair points. Here’s a link to those views:

          (I say he, but LAK may be a she, I don’t know!)

          1. Thanks Ned. Fascinating stuff to read from LAK however, like you, i don’t agree with many of the views he expresses.

            Either way you cut it, it seems to me the Bahrainis have more important matters to sort out than hosting an F1 race at the moment. An F1 race weekend is a joyous and celebratory experience – for me it would be extemely vulgar and disrespectful to hold a race in Bahrain this year. Let’s show some respect for those that died and their friends and families that are still dealing with the aftermath. We can’t just turn a blind eye.

            1. Thank you so much Dave Blanc for taking the time to read that very long post. I’ve been meaning to write an update but new things have been emerging everyday so I decided to wait a bit.. I think now is the time to do it.. I really appreciate your concern about the Bahraini people it means a lot to see such support from ppl outside of Bahrain! :)

              But the fact of the matter is that we have moved on from being in a state or turmoil to security and safety. We need this race to happen to help us unite rebuild the ties of trust that were lost between people of both sects. We always lived as one and the protesters were the ones to betray us! People outside of Bahrain have fallen prey to the dramatic stories that the media live on. As I said in my comment above, many of the protesters have redeemed themselves have said sorry because they realized that the opposition’s goals were not about reforms but actually called for much bigger things controlled by political interests and nothing to do with benefiting the people. The main supporters of the opposition have now switched sides and support the government. So why is the world still talking about it as if we’re stuck in a time warp, we have moved on!

              Twitter is a great because you get to see what the people are saying. Just look at the #BahrainWantsF1 hash tag to see for yourself! :) Feeling the F1 fever already!

          2. Thanx Ned for linking the forum post :) I just saw this and commented above as well..

        2. i’m pretty sure L.A.K. is from bahrain..

      2. You could simply not care at all… This is not about humans getting killed

        To all intents and purposes that’s the same as the first stance I described.

      3. If sending F1 into Bahrain results in an increase in the violence latent in the area at the moment, then the situation is precisely about humans getting killed or not. Especially if some of the humans in question happen to be part of the F1 cavalcade…

    13. Tricky, this one. Although most of us are completely against the lack of democracy in Bahrain, I think it would me immoral of F1 to not go there because of it. They also went to South Africa when the Apartheid regime was around, as well as going to Abu Dhabi nowadays.

      1. Going to South Africa was immoral, going to Abu Dhabi is immoral, going to Bahrain would be immoral.

        I don’t see your point.

        1. Has it occurred to you that perhaps the presence of western sport in South Africa might have helped the moral cause, and end apartheid, rather than enforce the regime. You’ll probably disagree but I do actually take that view.

          1. You are joking right?

            1. No joke.

            2. Whether it did or not it was the wrong way to spead awareness. Even if it did help it was an unintended consequence of immoral actions.

              The rebel cricket tours an F1 were legitimising apartheid, the boycott of SOuth AFrican goods did far more to hurt the regime that the income and presitge of international sport. Even if western populations objected.

    14. bahrain went through a rough patch but now everything is back to normal life has returned to bahrain we are ready to host the race

      1. Europe has a 19th century covered with rough patches. That’s atleast how the contemporary leadership tried to explain things.

      2. Mohammed, are you in Bahrain now?
        If the race goes ahead, do you think there is any likelihood that it will become a target for disruption by protesters?

        1. I can’t imagine it would, saying as they have violently surpressed most of the protestors…

          1. Oh no it would, it would be literally the perfect target. Someone would find away. You don’t create resentment like they’ve created and wipe it all out.

            1. That was my thought, Scribe. Particularly as the (loathed) Crown Prince is very keen on the event.
              One or two well aimed bags of red paint . . . the whole world would see it.

          2. Surely nobody would dare do that, would they? Just think back to Munich olymics. Hardly easy situation to pull off that.

            Getting a single bomber into the pretty large GP site or kidnapping a driver/teammember/official/visitor or even putting up a big banner escalating in a mugging is bound to be tried in the circumstances.

        2. I am in Bahrain and no I don’t think it will be anymore because many of them now have switched sides and have spoken against the opposition! The Crown Prince is not loathed at all, the protesters all had hope in the CP for a fruitful solution by his genuine initiative for dialogue, everybody agrees that he pushed for it as hard as he could. Many of the protesters wanted dialogue, but didn’t get it because the opposition leaders weren’t pushing for their rights, they were just pleasing harmful foreign wishes! Many protesters now feel betrayed by the opposition leaders and have joined the people of Bahrain in support of the leadership..

          Bahrainis are well educated people, even the opposition were smart in they way they portrayed the wrong image of Bahrain to gain International support. So anyone who resorts to such idiotic acts will lose any credibility they have. We in Bahrain have always known the protesters to be violent and careless people who love to ruin stuff, and they have done so before. But this time they have changed their tactics to gain International Support thus were successful in deceiving the world. If they want to continue to have that they cannot afford to do anything stupid and lose the little credibility they still have which is almost nonexistent in Bahrain..

          We are starting to unite in supporting the government, supporting reforms, supporting the leadership because this is what the protesters really want. The opposition used their needs to push forward their own political agenda that is controlled externally by pure foreign political interests and nothing to do with the rights of the Bahraini citizen!

    15. I much appreciate Keith informing this Bahrain discussion with some actual facts.

    16. Sport isn’t political, I – as much as anyone – would love to say a big ‘____ you’ to the Bahrain government for their appalling treatment of their people, and if people don’t want to watch the race then that’s fine. However, I for one wouldn’t mind if Ming the Merciless held an F1 race, I see sport as a liberating force for entertainment, and as long as it’s safe for the competitors, I won’t be boycotting.

      1. The governing organisations of about every sport in the world are very political though. They use the entire political toolset, going from lobbying to campaigning to bribing and everything in between. When Belgium and Holland made a bid for the WC in football, one of the stipulations of the FIFA was that they should receive substantial tax benefits on their profits. That’s a political negotiation right there. Surely F1 isn’t that more holy than football?

        Everything is politics, whether we like it or not. The very reason a circuit is in place A and not in place B is most likely due to local support for motorracing in place A. For whatever reason (the region likes races or the region thinks it’s profitable) that may be, it’s a political choice nonetheless.

        In my opinion, saying sport should be/or is apolitical is just basic marketing and looking how to maximize your profits. Go down on dictatorial/authoritarian regime A and regime B might not cough up the dollars in the near future.

    17. Formula one should be A-Political. It is not a sports job to decide if the way a particular country is run is right or wrong. However that alsi includes not having races funded by central government, in my opinion, which is something F1 should change, to avoid allegations of bias or allegance towards a particular regime.

      Formula one should obviously also not go somewhere where its unsafe and knowingly putting people in danger.

      Currently, as the article says, Bahrain is in a state of emergency, and the British foreign and commonwealth office are recommending against all but essential travel there. Therefore it cannot be safe for people to travel there in the near or medium term future, or sensible to organise a race there this year.

      However if things return to normal, and its safe to travel there, then next year, or the year after, even with the same goverment we could potentually go back for a race.

      1. Lots of people are saying that Formula 1 shouldn’t be political, this is a sentiment I respect and agree with and it’s why we shouldn’t be going to Bahrain.

        Holding a race there would be a political act on the part of the F1 circus. If you think F1 should steer clear of politics clearly it shouln’t parade itself as an example of the success of a government that brutaly oppresses it’s people.

        Clearly we shouldn’t go back there as an exaple of how it’s all gotten better when it it emphatically hasn’t.

        Keep Politics out of F1 = Keep F1 out of Bahrain.

        1. I hadn’t considered that Scribe, but your post sums up perfectly why F1 should not return to Bahrain in the forseeable future.

    18. Ecclestone will want the race to go on, Todt is in a difficult position because the fresh crown prince of Bahrain helped him get elected — he’ll probably just sit on his hands. The drivers will do as they’re told. It’s the sponsors who should stand up and say they won’t be associated with the race.

    19. Equating Bahrain to South Africa back in the 70’s is interesting but slightly irrelevant. Whilst the lesser of two evils is still evil F1 had a very low media profile when it last raced in SA whereas now it is a truly global franchise. As such there are now plenty of parties with vested interests to consider. How many of the Blue Chip sponsors associated with F1 would be happy to see their brands being promoted to a backdrop of teargas and worse? I am hoping that decency will prevail but suspect that ultimately it will be the colour of money that resolves this issue, sadly that is the way it is when commerce gets involved.

    20. If it goes through, I will not be a viewer this time around. It’s easy to think that F1 should reamin unattached to the political unrest in Bahrain, but I just don’t see that as an option, it would be immoral to go forth with a race.

      Peoples rights are far more important than motorsport.

    21. says that travel deals are now on sale for Abu Dhabi 2011.

      This is relevant because there was a proposal for Abu Dhabi to change dates in order to accomodate Bahrain, so obviously this isn’t going to happen any more.

      1. If India is good I would be entirley happy for it to replace Bahrain.

    22. To an extent I agree with you. As a sport F1 should be about people and entertainment, and not politics.

      However if we dont go to Bahrain because we dont like the government or its decisions, then, following the same principle, we don’t go to China, Turkey, Abu Dabhi, etc either. We can’t simply say we won’t ignore your human rights abuses because they happen to be in the media currently, they’re happening in your main city near the circuit and we dont like your circuit, but we will ignore what China, Turkey, etc are doing or have done because its not well publicised, it happened far away from the track, or we like your circuit.

    23. FIA can go ahead this is a good news

    24. Im really surprised that the decision to race is apparently being decided between the Bahraini govt, the FIA and FOM. One would think that the sponsors of various teams (as well as the race ‘title sponsors’) would have a lot more to say about it…

      Many people on this thread have argued that it makes no sense for F1 to have double-standards when it comes to human rights abuses in the regions in which grands prix are hosted. I happen to agree with this sentiment, and I dont think F1 should be political.

      However, the key here really is perception. I know it isnt rational or objective, but the fact is that Bahrain is in the headlines now, and if the Bahrain GP gets a green light it will likely be perceived as a political stance. And I think this could be hugely damaging to F1s marketability, which is why it seems to make more sense (to me at least) for the various sponsors to be up in arms about the prospect of the Bahrain GP going ahead.

      What I would love to see here (although it would never ever ever happen) would be for the Bahraini govt, the FIA and FOM to put the race back on the calendar, but all of the teams would then refuse to race (on behalf of their corporate sponsors, who wouldnt want to be cast in such a negative light).

    25. I could think of several political/non political and/or moral reasons to support the cancelation of every F1 race on the calendar. All countries have human rights violations or coruption or are magnets for terrorist attacks etc etc. Unfortunately the sport is now so big it can not avoid being affected by these issues, but it is still a sport and not a moral soap box. As soon as one race is boycotted on these grounds we will see this happening more and more in future years for other races. So in my opinion, it was right to cancel the original race, on the grounds of safety, however if the state of emergency is lifted and the government want to go ahead, lets race, I can’t wait to see F1 back in Bahrain and i’ll be the first to book my flight out there.

    26. I think an important point hear is that like it or not F1 is political. F1 like other big sporting events are part of the image that countries like to present about them selves, they want to be seen as pro-business, pro-western countries and importing western sport is a way of doing that, whether that’s Bahrain with its GP or China with the Olympics. In the middle and far east f1 will always be political, no-matter anyone assertions that is should be apolitical.
      I don’t think the race should be held because it would be a hugely political act in support of the king. Going to Bahrain would be a much greater political act than going to china. As much as I would like China to change I know it will not, F1 race or not, but F1 is of much more importance to a small countries like Bahrain. Of course I’m not saying F1 pulling out of Bahrain will make a great difference but F1 must stand with the intonational community on this in condemning the violence, I would hate so much for it to stand alone in keeping to the status quo while all else rejects Bahrain.
      I can see the hypocrisy in the argument I’ve made, China commits human rights abuses and I’m not calling for its race to be abandoned but I will say that maybe a hypocritical stance that does some good is better than a consistant stance that does none.

    27. Such an event like F1 cannot do without politics. Did Bernie want Bahrain because of the millions or concerned about human rights. More like the millions I suspect strongly.

      By the way, many fans never liked Bahrain at all. Don’t think we’ll miss it.
      And there’s no atmosphere of a grand prix weekend that I’ve seen so far at the circuit.

    28. PERCEPTION is key word.

      It’s the same with people. Many couples get divorced and many married people are having affairs.
      But if a high-profile person, a politician or a movie star, gets a divorce or has an affair, it’s a scandal.

      F1 is high profile. The situation in Bahrain is currently high profile. Combine both at this moment and you get a scandal.
      But next year, when all the leaders of the opposition in Bahrein have long been killed or imprisoned and the government has painted a nice picture of domestic peace and stability once more, public opinion will think it’s OK for F1 to race there again. (apart from the ultra-boring circuit they have)

      This is exactly why there is no worldwide protest againts F1 in, let’s say, China.
      There is no ban on goods produced in China in the entire Western world and no big movement to make that happen either.

      Once more: perception is key to this debate and to the public opinion. Behind the screens, of course, money is the one and only motivation.

    29. I think there will be no race. Although the government is keen to have it, the current situation is that it’s still unsafe and that the government cannot guarantee safety. The only thing they can do now is to cancel.

      Maybe it will be safe in november, or whenever, but they simply cannot guarantee that. Their country is in an emergency state.

      And Bernie just has been generating some press, so I wouldn’t think he really wants it to go ahead given the current situation.

      In the end, everybody will have had their say about it, the protesters, the prince, Bernie and whoever, but F1 will be saved a potential PR-disaster, because it will be cancelled.

    30. If your going do it with Bahrain you might as well wave goodbye to China, Russia and Abu dhabi since they are all pritty much in the same boat with Bahrain, wiff of democracy and they’ll crush it the next day.

      Either do it with all countries or don’t get involved at all. Simply enough…

    31. Guys, i am not Bahraini but has been living here for amny years. The situation is nothing close to what you think. Human rights were extremely violated by protesters. Governement tried for a full month to sort things peacefully but when things went out of control and protesters started being violent, Army has to come to bring back security. I just attended a drag event at the circuit and it was amazing, next week will go see their first circuit racing event after the problems. Life is back to normal. Everyone I meet or talk to is asking for F1 to come back. I highly recommend a committee from FIA to come and visit the Kingdon to see how peaceful things are to host the event. I need F1 back to Bahrain.

    32. Bahrain should call off the holding of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix. It isn’t a good or right time to hold such an event there when many people are suffering especially those who were arrested and detained and their whereabouts are still unknown. When the situation in Bahrain has cleared then it would probably be safe to hold such an event.

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