Going to the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit

Developments in Bahrain ahead of the 2013 Grand Prix

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    Sorry it was not my intention to offend, I am just tired of hearing about it. I will take your advice and ignore this thread.


    One of the most prominent critics of the regime has now been arrested as well:

    Bahrain has arrested a prominent human rights activist and critic of the country’s ruling family, the Interior Ministry and an activist said on Sunday, as the authorities escalated a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.



    This doesn’t belong here, and it really shouldn’t have been started by the owner of the website. Give it some time, I don’t want to have to go to the forum to see F1F’s political activists ranting on about the situation in a country that won’t hold a race for another 12 months or so. Your a motorsports journalist, Keith, not a political analyst. This is not the place for this, and neither are the round ups. Please do us all a favor and lock this thread down, theres no need for it at all.


    @Polishboy808 No chance.

    Formula 1 has chosen to give considerable support to people who have done some quite atrocious things. If you want to turn a blind eye to that, fine. I choose not to.

    No-one is forcing you to read this page, so I don’t see why you’re over-reacting in this way.

    Also: “[You’re] a motorsports journalist, Keith, not a political analyst”. It’s not for you to tell me what I am, and I’ll write about whatever I please. If you don’t like it, there’s the door, please use it.



    Sorry but I cannot agree with you. Yes, one of the reasons (not the main reason though) why I came to this site was that I wanted to spend less time thinking about politics and more time enjoying F1 together with fellow fans. I guess I’m not alone in that.

    However, it’s impossible to ignore something that has direct impact on F1. You could not ignore the Montreal protesters as they were the reason why Thursday’s pit walk got cancelled. You cannot ignore the world’s economic crisis as F1 teams, websites and fans inevitably have to adjust to the consequences. You cannot forget about the political situation in France as it has impact on whether we will see the return of the French Grand Prix soon or not.

    If politics has fallen on our heads then we have to deal with it and it’s good if we can discuss the related topics in an environment as healthy and intelligent as F1 Fanatic. And it’s not like the Bahrain GP free practice report contained stories about tortured protesters. There is a difference between drawing the lines where necessary and pretending that you don’t see the elephant that’s in your kitchen.


    Wow, that was late lol. I was expecting that response a little earlier, not a month and a half later. Whatever, thats not important.

    The reason why I am “over-reacting” is because at the time, there were plenty of topics, articles, and posts about The political situation in Bahrain, almost more then there were discussions about F1. Sorry if I see a problem with that, but if I want to read about politics (and believe it or not, I do so often, and I don’t have some weird agenda to support whats going on in countries like Syria and Bahrain **shock**) I go to CNN.com or other news sites. This, however, is not a political news site.

    And while I love F1 Fanatic, and check for updates an unhealty amount of times a day, it does annoy me when the main journalist shows clear bias towards a certain side of a topic. And it also annoys me when in every single round-up, there is (or was at the time I made that comment) at least three articles on the situation in Bahrain. Now its better, and in fact, it was perfect until you opened this back up. For what reason exactly? Is there any news you’d like to share? I didn’t see any in that comment, all I saw was a stab at me personally, even though I didn’t mean to offend you at all. If I did, I’m sorry, but thats not at all what I was trying to put across.

    Also, about my mistake using the wrong you’re. Seriously? Its a forum, and I’m not writing to the president.

    Again, I’m not trying to be mean, but I just wanted to respond to you’re comment that, in my oppinion, was clearly written with a hint of hatred.



    was clearly written with a hint of hatred.

    There was nothing personal about it at all. I always put my point of view across and respect others disagreeing. Which is why I have little time for someone telling me, in not so many words, to shut up.

    If you’re complaining about people (“journalist” is your word, not mine) showing “bias” then you need to stop reading all media entirely and forever. No-one is unbiased. Everything we do say or don’t say is a reflection of our interests and priorities. If I’d ignored the Bahrain situation it would have been as much a political statement as writing about it. To pretend otherwise is naive.

    As for timing, I replied to your comment when I read it. Nothing more to it than that. Much the same goes for the grammar thing – if you’re not bothered about writing correctly, fine, but I am, which is why I made sure what I wrote was correct. It’s not as if I was having a go at you about it.

    And yes, you can expect further updates on this thread – I’ve continued to follow the situation in Bahrain and I’ll be surprised if it’s not on the calendar for 2013 so you might as well get used to the idea of this argument persisting for many more months to come. Because, as I say, I’ll write about what I consider is important.


    Bahrain has returned to the headlines in the UK this week after the president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab was sentenced to three years in prison for participating in what the government called an “illegal gathering”.

    Amnesty International described the verdict as follows:

    Like many others in Bahrain, Nabeel Rajab is a prisoner of conscience, jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly. He should be released immediately and his convictions and sentences quashed. The authorities must also act to ensure that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisal.

    If anything, this latest verdict marks the end of the facade of reform in Bahrain. The international community can no longer be under the illusion that Bahrain is on the path of reform when such blatant ruthless tactics are being used to suppress dissenting voices. Bahrain’s international partners need to make this loud and clear to the Bahraini authorities

    This followed a speech given by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa two days ago in which he said “it is our duty to protect peaceful, good-natured citizens who do not seek to usurp power”.

    More on Rajab’s arrest and imprisonment here. There have been other reports of human rights protesters being arrested.

    Calls for Rajab’s release have come from many quarters including members of the United States Congress and Senate. The State Department said the sentence would only serve to aggravate the situation.

    The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office expressed “concern” at the length of Rajab’s sentence. But the FCO has also increased arms sales to Bahrain this year.

    Rajab had previously been imprisoned for three months for criticising the country’s prime minister on Twitter. He was involved in the protests against the government in February last year which led to the cancellation of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix. A rally in support of him in June was attacked by Bahraini forces.

    One week after this year’s Grand Prix Human Rights Watch revealed the Bahrain police continue to use torture against those arrested. This blog shows evidence of those injured by Bahrain’s police (and has some graphic images).

    It is likely Bahrain will be on the 2013 F1 calendar, and it remains to be seen whether these latest developments will lead to a repeat of what has happened in the last two seasons. Based on the events of the last few weeks it is beginning to look like the regime is putting itself on a fresh collision course with those demanding democratic reforms.


    Sadly it looks like Bahrain has become one of those states where really F1 (or whatever sport with international standing) sound not be going, but still goes for commercial reasons.

    The way the US still maintain their base there (making it hard to be tough on Bahrain’s rulers) and the UK keeps selling weapons to them only make matters worse. Sure enough it sets a bad example for others and something other autocratic regimes will happily point to to defend their own stances against freedom of speech and democratic reforms.
    Certainly its a something F1 will have to get used to solving and handling, because Russia seems to be closing in on this kind of repression as well with Putin back in the top seat.


    I must say I am glad you point this out now @keithcollantine. Sadly Bahrain’s rulers chose to follow a path that is far away from the ideals they themselves are stating as theirs. At the same time they want to have a top level international sporting event return yearly, so they should be prepared to answer the questions that having the spotlight back on them will bring with it.
    And its perfectly on time to think about this situation as well, as it’ll be only a couple of weeks before the calendar for next year is getting its official draft, and this is exactly the point where one would hope the FIA’s representatives to have a look at what came of the promises of improvement they heard from Bahrain. Sadly I see very little positives.


    The situation in Bahrain has deteriorated further in recent weeks. Protests escalated again at the beginning of last month following the death of a man who had been imprisoned after taking part in the 2011 pro-democracy protests.

    The Bahraini government responded by banning all demonstrations and public gatherings which the government say is because of the deaths of two police officers.

    Prior to this a court refused the appeals of 20 activists including Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who spent over 100 days on hunger strike. He later ended his protest (“his wife, Khadija al-Mousawi, said this was in part because he was being force-fed by medics, something officials denied”). The UN has demanded the Bahraini government “release those arbitrarily detained for exercising their legitimate freedoms”.

    It seems to be a continuation of the situation that’s persisted since the 2011 protests, one side effect of which was the cancellation of that year’s Grand Prix. The government appears to be making no moves on reforms which leads to more protests which leads to more repression.

    The lack of progress affecting the country’s economic development so the royal family will be very pleased the FIA has confirmed Bahrain will remain on the calendar for 2013.


    I tweeted about the situation, how things were getting no better, when the WEC race was on and the lack of comment (in the UK at least).


    F1 already has history of spending way too long in countries it shouldn’t – Apartheid South Africa anyone? – seems Bernie is continuing true to form in Bahrain.


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