Russia another South Africa for F1: Why is there no talk of dropping the race already?

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    With the current situation in Russia regarding their new laws against homosexuality I’m amazed that there’s no talk of dropping the race in Russia next year. There’s already 2 hugely supported petition2 to either have the Winter Olympics moved to another country and/or to have Russia banned from the Olympics (South Africa is the president for that)…

    With the increasing number of available circuits why would Bernie and the teams want to get involved in another South Africa type situation where they carried on racing in an Apartheid nation for years after the rest of the sporting world had left in disgust! OK, so I know the answer is clearly money. Bernie gets paid, teams such as Sauber have contracts tied up that presumably came about because of the prospect of the race there but surely there’s more important things?

    It’s bad enough that F1 keeps going back to Bahrain and no-one ever mentions it until the week before the race…can anything be done early enough to convince Bernie that this is a really REALLY stupid thing to be doing and could damage the credibility of F1 again?


    “Bernie gets paid, teams such as Sauber have contracts tied up that presumably came about because of the prospect of the race there but surely there’s more important things?”

    Not in Bernie’s mind. If Bernie could choose between 1,000 (or whatever number you want) Euros and saving 1,000 people he’d go for the money.

    Lucas Wilson


    I think there should be a Superhero Cartoon about Super Hamilton and Super Alonso saving f1 from Bernie’s evil all-consuming wallet :-)



    Timothy Katz

    @Jodrell (love your name!).
    Well yes, except that homosexuals aren’t as visible a minority as black people in Europe or even disabled people. We tend to blend in a bit and keep our collective mouths shut.
    Last week we had Pride Parade in Brighton and personally I winced at the overt and offensive nature of some of the floats; we’re not all like that. And that’s what gives homosexuality a bad name. we don’t need to advertise or promote, we just need acceptance and (to be honest) to be ignored comnpletely. So the Russian law against the ‘promotion of homosexuality’ should be irrelevant.
    But what’s really interesting is that the IOC and M. Jacques Rogge is calling for a clarification of the situation in Russia in respect of homosexuals. See here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23630868. Now, just suppose that he doesn’t get the answers and assurances he wants, and for one reason or other, the Winter Olympics are pulled. What would happen to the Grand Prix? Personally, I don’t think the venue would be completed and the track wouldn’t be built. What do you think?


    Here is my question, what does it matter what Russia is doing politically? Sports have enough politics as is there is no reason to bring Government politics into it. If Russia wants to create a law outlawing homosexuality then so be it that is their right just like if they wanted to create a law saying everybody must be homosexual to live in Russia.


    “If Russia wants to create a law outlawing homosexuality then so be it that is their right”

    That’s dangerous talk. Just because they can oppress their citizens doesn’t mean they have the right to. I can think of a rather famous case of somebody who did similar, but mention of him would prove a fundamental law of the internet.


    yeah, and anyway Stephen Fry’s letter to the IOC and David Cameron already covered that bit. As I said it’s just the same as Aparthied in South Africa…keeping politics out of sport is all well and good but but when it gets down to it that’s clearly rubbish. If you’re going into countries whose politics are objectionable you’re clearly supporting them. You don’t have to be waving the flag of whichever dictator or regime is running the place but just being there shows them support, brings them publicity and probably most importantly, bring in money.

    Russia was given the Winter Olympics all the way back in 2007 so it’s going to be tough to move, but F1 should be easy in comparison.

    I await next year with trepidation as the public outcry mounts far far too late before both the Russian race and Bahrain (again), only to be followed by Bernie saying the deals and contracts are all in place, we’ve got no problem here, it’s too late to do anything about it now :-(


    If I’m not mistaken, the Russian law prohibits “homosexual propaganda”, not being homosexual.
    I’ve heard millions of claims of people that want children not to be taught religion: “let them decide their own”, they say. It’s not like no homosexual will ever be born if they don’t allow propaganda. Homosexuals still exist and will continue to exist.


    Define propaganda? That’s just an excuse so that they aren’t seen to have a statute on the books banning LGBT’s…and yes, Russia have confirmed that same sex couple Olympic athletes appearing in public or mentioning that they live in the same house as their partner will be arrested! http://americablog.com/2013/08/russia-olympics-gay-safety-athletes-sochi.html

    There are no publically out F1 drivers but with the size of the crews the teams and media bring its not outside the realms of possibility that some of them a gay right? Is F1 going to start leaving people at home because its too dangerous to go to races?

    Prisoner Monkeys

    While you’re at it, you might as well cancel the United States, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain Grands Prix.

    See, Russia is a fairly conservative country. Homosexuality isn’t widely-accepted the way it is in the West. So what you’re really asking for is the race to be cancelled because they don’t share the values of other countries. With that in mind, you might as well end the races in the Middle East and Texas, because they are in parts of the world that don’t accept homosexuality, either.

    You have already demonstrated a lack of understanding about the law by generalising it to be “banning homosexuals” when it calls for “banning the distribution of homosexual propaganda to minorities”. I bet you haven’t even met a Russian, much less become familiar with their cultural values. You’ve just seen the media outcry and let them form your opinion.


    The difference between Texas and Russia is the in Russia there’s a law against it, in Texas the people (according to you) don’t accept it.

    I do know a couple of Russians (living in the UK) and they couldn’t give a rats ass if people are LGBT…this isn’t about the people, it’s about the government and the laws.

    And yes, while we’re at it the Bahrain GP should be cancelled. The problem is every year a fuss starts about it about a week before the GP when it’s far too late to do anything about it.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    In that case, let’s just cancel every race, then. Every country had done something objectionable, so that will disqualify them from holding a race.

    Ultimately, your attitude boils down to “I don’t like what they’re doing, so they don’t deserve a race”. The problem is that you’re not the ultimate moral authority, and if we went to Russia, it probably wouldn’t be difficult to find someone who thinks you don’t deserve a race because of something your country had done – and I bet you would complain about that.

    That’s the problem with trying to drag politics or morality into sport: no matter how good your intentions, you go from nobility to hypocrisy in about six seconds. Formula 1 might receive some government support in host countries, but that does not make them a stakeholder in that nation’s affairs. The money they receive is a fraction of a fraction of the money available to the government.


    Sport should always be a celebration of those things which unify us as a planet. It should not be used as a means of attacking those who have different opinions or values. While I disagree in the strongest possible way with the policies in Russia regarding the treatment of the LGBT community, I don’t think for a moment that staging or not staging a GP will have any impact whatsoever on the plight of those affected. At least when put in the world spotlight, Russia will be asked to defend its stance. Turn away, and the whole world will ignore the injustice. My vote is always for inclusion, with open and frank debate, rather than closed-minded exclusion. The latter has never been known to solve anything.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    If Russia cannot have a race for its LGBT laws, then Australia cannot have a race for its new immigration laws.

    The Australian Grand Prix is supported by the state government, which is currently the Liberal party.

    In yesterday’s federal election, the Liberal party won power. Part of their strategy was to lean on the state Liberal goverments to delay key federal policies in education and health care to try and weaken the previous federal government’s position ahead of the election.

    The new federal government has promised to crack down on illegal immigrants by removing their legal right to challenge the outcome of any claim to asylum. This right is designed to prevent legitimate refugees from being sent home. Even when that right is exercised, a small percentage if refugees still get turned away.

    On top of this, the new government wants to accelerate the processing time. On paper this sounds good, but the problem is that it is very difficult to verify the claims for asylum when asylum seekers have no way to prove their identities. The net effect of all of this is that increasing numbers of legitimate refugees will be forced to return to their home countries, which is in violation of the UN charter for the protection of refugees. Although they committed a crime in arriving in our country illegally, many of them do it because they have no other way.

    Therefore, because the state government played a key role in supporting the federal government, which is now going to introduce these policies, the Australian Grand Prix should be stopped.

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