Going to the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit

Developments in Bahrain ahead of the 2013 Grand Prix

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    ” I have always had respect for Bernie Eccelstone and think he is a genius- not unlike Adrian Newey but in a different field! These days I am not so sure. He seems to place races in places where they really should not be.”

    @Keith Collantine – above my thoughts from a week or so ago- I had not read your article posted before but obviously on the same page- this was the main place I was talking about!!

    So what is the answer mate? Turn off next week and not watch? Wont work will it- I just watched China agian then the quali again (or harldy quali) session. Webber didnt finish but I love F1 again I will watch again before the next race this weekend!

    I posted before I met a Swiss journalist in Japan , that interviewed the drivers in the Paddock Club & talked in English and Japanese in the interviews and wrote articles in French- he spoke more languges than Senna!!

    I said I am a big F1 fan and want to go to two races each year- your personel opionion please sir??:

    Melbourne: Awesome- he knew I was Aussie
    Singapore: Awesome – get there.
    Silverstone: Awesome- but hard to get to (UK boys- pease advise??)
    Spa: AWESOME- GET THERE (but hard to get there??)
    Monza: If you are any kind of F1 Fan(atic) you will get there (GREAT ANSWER)

    China, Korean, Abu Dhabia: “Dont bother- these races are f**ked!! And hard to get to (??)

    Barhain & Brazil: “Barhain is terrible, you have kids dont do it” & “Brazil is very violent, nice to see but dont go!!”

    Kieith & others that have been to the above- agree or disagree with the above answers I got at Suzuka???


    @Keith true enough i can ignore it….

    Matt Clark

    If you are heading all the way over to Europe from Australia you should try and go to at least two races while you’re there right? At least that’s what I told my missus ;P I went to Belgian and Italian GPs last year and I would highly recommend this combo as not only are they two of the greatest and historic circuits on earth, but the GPs are normally 4-11 days apart which is perfect for a scenic road trip through Switzerland in between. The Nürburgring is only a day’s drive from Spa on the autobahns too if you fancy a visit en route to Milan. I would also recommend a day trip to Monaco to walk the track as its quite surreal. After Monza I got up to Silverstone for a Brit 24h race which was amazing as I had plenty of time to explore the track without any crowds ;) Hoping to get to Melbourne and either Singapore or Malaysia in 2014. Best of luck with your holiday plans.


    Gulf News reported yesterday that there have been “explosions” in Bahrain ahead of the race.


    In other news, Bahrain’s government has backed proposals to impose penalties of up five years in prison for insulting the Gulf state’s king or its national symbols. This has apparently been done to further crack down on people demonstrating against the government but isn’t unheard of in the region. Kuwait is currently proposing to do something similar, though they propose imposing a heftier 10 year prison sentence for such offences and fines of up to KD300,000 (about 1 million US Dollars).



    Last week I attended a press briefing on the Bahrain Grand Prix which included a talk and Q&A session with an expert on the country. They gave a thorough overview of developments since the crisis began two years ago and I thought I’d share some of it here for those interested.

    In their view the situation remains in stalemate. The government has made few concessions to the opposition – all the senior members who oversaw 2011’s brutal, sectarian crackdown are still in place. Fewer than ten police have been arrested. Hundreds of protesters have been imprisoned since 2011.

    The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report into what happened was more thorough than expected and set expectations high. But it hasn’t been acted upon and the reform process is now stalled and discredited.

    Significantly, the report overlooked evidence that the government had paid thugs to start fights among the protesters in order to discredit them.

    The opposition’s attitude to the Grand Prix is divided. Fresh talks between them and the government began in February and although there is nothing to show for them yet Al-Wefaq (the main opposition party) is not pursuing a heavily anti-F1 campaign because they want to negotiate with the government.

    Others target the Grand Prix because it is seen as a political propaganda tool of the government – something the “UniF1ed” slogan last year made inescapably obvious. And they have not forgotten the death of a protester during last year’s race weekend.

    The impending return of F1 this year led to increased suppression of protesters and those perceived to be affiliated with them (since I went to this briefing there have been stories in the round-up about the government making pre-emptive arrests without producing warrants in villages close to the track).

    Policing of the race will increase repression. Teargas is being widely used, there have been deaths caused by canisters being fired at close range and there’s a suspicion that its repeated use in villages is increasing miscarriages.

    This is obviously being done to create a positive impression for those visiting for the Grand Prix. It is possible to go to Bahrain and see nothing of the unrest but anyone who gets chance to drive around the country can see the political and economic polarisation – and its consequences – clearly.

    In their view the nature of the protests is changing with more fit-for-tat conflict between protesters – especially younger members – and the police. Violence gong both ways. A sincere concern was expressed about the potential consequences if someone with an inclination towards violence were to attack the Grand Prix.

    As last year there is the potentially combustible situation of imprisoned protesters being on hunger strike, though the government will most likely resort to force-feeding them to guard against the risk of a death occurring during the race weekend.

    The Bahrain government are eager to portray the protesters as “terrorists” and claim they are being supported by Iran. They have been unable to show any proof of Iranian involvement, about which they have a genuine paranoia due to regional politics and religious differences.

    By labelling the protesters as Iranian-backed terrorists the government has left itself with little room for manoeuvre when it comes to negotiating with them. In terms of Britain’s relationship with Bahrain, this was characterised as being back to “business as usual”. The Bahrain king has visited the UK (he was at an event marking the coronation of the queen last year).

    Ned Flanders

    What a sad state of affairs. The worst thing is there’s no real prospect of change while the same hardliners are in power and the irrational Iranophobia persists.

    It’s also such a shame that the Bahrain GP is causing such damage to F1’s reputation. I know that’s a very trivial complaint compared to the woes the Bahraini Shias are facing, but F1 has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid, and to see quite how rotten and amoral it has become is really quite saddening.


    Thanks very much for the update @keith-collantine, I see its still very much a place F1 should either not be, or actively push the government to resolve the issues. Although I guess even Bernies negotiating prowess would not be enough against the senior hardliners in the Royal family/government.


    @keithcollantine cheers for the info. Unfortunately this type of imprisonment of protestors isn’t new and isn’t isolated to the Bahrainians.

    I’m not sure what Bernie hopes to prove by taking F1 to the country, it can only divide the nation, and will, in my view, inevitably lead to security issues for the event. The problem isn’t going away, and every year F1 attends the country, the unrest focuses on the sport.


    Thanks very much for that, Keith.

    I agree with @ned-flanders. I’m embarrassed by how F1 has acted in Bahrain and am ashamed to be an F1 fan because of it.

    I, personally, won’t be watching the race this weekend. Just like last year, I will be unable to divorce the sport from the politics involved in F1 helping the Bahraini rulers to put on a show for the rest of the world. I don’t want any part of that.


    Keith, thank you for continuing to provide a critical response to Ecclestone’s and Todt’s decision to continue their support for Bahrain’s brutal regime. As far as I can see, yours is the only F1 site with the ethical backbone to do so.

    F1 Fanatic always feels like a refuge for me at this time of year, given the apparently complete abrogation of moral responsibility by the rest of the F1 community. It is hard to convey what a relief it is to come here and see that at least one F1 website is willing to speak out.


    Kieth took some criticism last year for not having the prediction championship round for Bahrain. I know its a sporting event which should not be tied to politics, but you won’t find me supporting F1 in Bahrain until the situation there is fixed, only 2 years ago things like this were happening.

    -,youtu.be/G-4uXkbDhis?t=3m31s- hope thats a link and not embeded.


    Looking forward to the race.

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