Going to the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit

Will the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix go ahead?

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    @icthyes I always keep wondering why so little activist groups target F1 GPs in countries that use these events as ‘a window to the world’ and have appalling human rights reputations.

    Ned Flanders

    Interesting theory @the-edge, you might well be right there. But right now I can’t help but be against simply on principle


    Bahraini medics retrial under way in civilian court

    “Second trial for 20 hospital staff follows UN criticism of convictions for protest-related charges

    Prosecutors dropped several lower-level charges in the first civilian court hearing, but the most serious accusations remain. The next session was scheduled for 28 November.”

    Full articale at:


    I hope it doesn’t go ahead, human rights issues aside I’d much rather see a race in Turkey anyway.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    @moshbeard – If Bahrain is dropped, that doesn’t mean Turkey is automatically reinstated. The Turkish Grand Prix was dropped because they couldn’t afford the keep the race going. So if Bahrain is dropped and Turkey cannot pay, 2012 will only have nineteen races.


    If you haven’t red it, an interesting piece on Pitpass;



    Reports of a bomb blast near the British Embassy.



    “UNIF1ED – One Nation in Celebration” is the slogan for the 2012 Bahrain
    Grand Prix, and what a fitting slogan it is. After going through a year
    of political turmoil, Bahrain is finally ready to host the Formula 1
    Grand Prix that is scheduled to take place from the 20th-22nd of April.
    It will be the fourth race of the 2012 season, and it will be Bahrain’s
    eighth time of hosting the prestigious event. “UNIF1ED for the
    well-being of the Kingdom”, explained Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al-Khalifa
    ,CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit, “We hope we can pull a lot of
    people in supporting the race”, he added. For Bahrain the Formula 1
    Grand Prix is one of the Kingdom’s biggest events and has great revenues
    that benefits the Bahraini people. In 2008, the Grand Prix generated the
    highest revenue of $550 million, and the lowest revenue the race ever
    generated was $320 million. The whole country benefits from hosting an
    International event as big as the Formula 1 as the businesses and
    tourism industries all get a huge boost. In addition to economic
    benefits, “The Grand Prix ties us to the world, we become a world player
    joining many countries around the world”, explained the CEO.

    The Bahrain International Circuit have been working hard in organizing
    this year’s event meeting frequently since last September. Lots of new
    and exciting things are planned for this year’s race, which will mainly
    include a McLaren exhibition featuring a unique selection of their
    renowned racing cars from the past and present. In addition the vending
    area will be much bigger this year allowing more space for air
    conditioned areas to beat the heat, and a direct access to the circuit’s
    newly established Bahrain International Karting Circuit. Lots of new attractions
    for the children and entertainment surprises including musical concerts will be
    announced as the event nears.

    A top notch support race program is organized alongside the Grand Prix
    including the GP2, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, and the local WGA Supercar series.
    The GP2 chose Bahrain as the only country where they will be racing
    twice this year. If this proves anything it shows that they do take
    Bahrain seriously and consider it to be one of the most important races,
    explained Shaikh Salman. The Porsche Supercup also chose the Bahrain
    Grand Prix to hold their first round, and the WGA series will be holding
    their final round during the Grand Prix.

    The Bahrain International Circuit also launched the ticket sales today,
    which will be available locally at the Bahrain City Center Mall, and
    online on the website bahraingp.com. They have made an attractive offer by selling
    the tickets at 15% off for two weeks, so those who are interested in attending
    the race better hurry! The cheapest ticket is at 40BD and goes up to 180BD, and
    with the offer they’ll go down as low as 34BD starting price.

    When asked about how confident is the BIC about the race going ahead,
    Shaikh Salman said, “We are very confident that the event will happen,
    we are launching our ticket sales today!” “It has always been there (on
    the calendar), it’s been there from day one, we just had to provide them
    (FIA) with a few clarifications”, he said about the Grand Prix. He also
    thanked Mr. Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA for their support, faith, and

    Mr. Samer Al-Majali, CEO of Gulf Air, the Grand Prix’s biggest sponsors
    said, “It is our pleasure and honor to continue to support the Bahrain
    Grand Prix”. Gulf Air has been the main sponsor of the race since it’s
    inauguration in 2004. He said that there will be discounted air fare for
    those who book early, and members of Gulf Air will also benefit from
    special packages. Gulf Air will heavily advertise the Grand Prix in the
    coming days including their famous checkered air planes with the new
    2012 logo. When asked whether they’ll increase the number of flights, he
    said that the company will respond to any demand there is and will do
    what is required to serve the people.

    The Kingdom is expecting a lot of people to fly in for the race,
    including F1 personnel, journalists, photographers, and fans from all
    over the world. When asked about how many International media personnel
    is the Circuit expecting, Shaikh Salman said they are expecting from
    450-500 journalists without including the photographers. The Bahrain
    International Circuit will coordinate with the FIA in trying to ease the
    application process and will work with the Immigration to facilitate
    their entry. Shaikh Salman concluded the press conference by saying, “We
    look forward to seeing you at the race!”

    The official countdown has begun, sixty days till the Formula 1 engines
    start roaring in Bahrain! The Bahrainis have had to wait a lot for this
    moment and it cannot come sooner! UNIF1ED they await their race ready to
    celebrate as one nation.


    “The only message I got was that there were some kids in trouble with the police”

    bernie ecclestone

    there you have it – bernie, jackie stewart, the fia, the teams and the bahrain government all say everything is ok, and there is no reason not to take their money. after all, china’s record is incomprehensibly worse and the whole world loves doing business with them now.


    “One Nation in Celebration.” Would everyone in the nation agree with that motto? Has that much changed? What makes Bahrain ready? Okay, a lot of work is being put in on the racing front but what about the human rights front?

    after all, china’s record is incomprehensibly worse and the whole world loves doing business with them now

    You’re right but I don’t like that at all either and that doesn’t make going ahead with Bahrain right.


    Interested to know if there’s anyone on here who’s planning on going – I haven’t seen much sign that there is.

    If so, do you live locally? Do you have any concerns about the security situation?


    If it hasnt been posted elsewhere,


    So, unnamed team principles are against the idea of going, atleast if not postponed then cancelled.

    Bradley Downton

    If they can’t promise the safety of the teams, it shouldn’t go ahead, look what one man managed to do to a boat race. Now imagine what thousands of men could do to a Grand Prix?


    Hi Keith I wrote a huge reply (as I promised on twitter) in the daily round-up and will copy it here as well. I thought I would post a small comment and save the rest for here but I spilled it all out, so for those that didn’t read that comment, here you go:

    Before I start commenting first of all I’d like to say that I do respect all your views about my country, government, etc.. but I feel I have to say something because as a local who has been living through all this, I do have firsthand experience that should help clarify things..

    You might have noticed that I’ve been quite quiet on the Bahrain situation on the blog simply because I realized that it is hard to compete with the media. Many articles have been exaggerating and highlighting certain aspects of the events to send out a certain message, while ignoring other events. So people end up mostly siding up with the rioters against the Government, and are mislead into the believing that we have a “dictatorship” like government – which just sounds ridiculous even typing it!

    No matter how hard I try to explain my views, people just dismiss my opinion by saying that I’m just siding with the government, or fail to see the other side, or that I’m not impartial enough.. Well obviously if I’m a Bahraini my opinion isn’t like an outsider’s, and although I try to be as objective, it still is subjective. But if I can get one message across it would be that things in real are not like what you read in the media. Which is why I truly believe that the only way anyone can be convinced that Bahrain is ready to host the race is if they come down here and see for themselves. Which is kind of hard to do but one journalist did come over from Abu Dhabi, let me share my chat with him..

    He came to attend the BIC’s press conference in February and when I asked him what does he think about the situation he said it looked like a “warzone” on TV, but he was surprised to see everything normal when he came to Bahrain. He went out for dinner, walked around Manama, and saw nothing at all.. He was surprised. I did tell him there are minor protests/clashes with the police in the villages but that’s basically it.

    Those mini riots do happen, but they don’t have any legitimate causes except to cause disruption and are violence – which hugely undermines their cause (even Nick Kristof who is the opposition’s biggest supporter attended one of those riots and he had to take shelter from the molotov cocktails that were being hurled at the police and said on twitter that the violence undermines their cause). So I think we can all agree that any use of violence by either sides the police or the rioters is not acceptable. Deal?

    Let me explain more how those small riots are like. It starts by a small group of 10-20 youngsters (and by youngsters I mean teenagers and younger! There are footage of kids as young as 5 year old being used by the opposition – which in any country is considered to be child abuse!). Where are the human rights organizations to stop the opposition from abusing these innocent children?! Nowhere to be seen of course because of people like Nabeel Rajab, who claims to be a human rights activist, is really nothing but a terrorist who controls the thugs and orders them around instigating violence. People outside of Bahrain don’t know that, we all do. He doesn’t even have an organization, his fake organization has been shut for years now, but who cares right? -.-

    These youngsters start the riot by attacking the police mostly by hurling burning molotov cocktails towards them. What do the police do? Nothing.. Literally they just stand by trying to avoid being hit and burned. If the crowd is larger and needs to be dispersed or if they are blocking a main road and have to be stopped then first use stun grenades, which usually do nothing. Then next tool they have is tear gas, it’s their only way of dispersing or breaking up a riot. They are NOT allowed to use live ammunition. They are NOT shooting at anyone. They may use rubber bullets if the person attacks them closely and are threatening the police – which are all legal International standards.

    What you all outside of Bahrain don’t know about is how violent these thugs are. And I am 500% sure that if the same thing happened anywhere else in the world, the police would have arrested thousands, and would have definitely used live bullets. Here in Bahrain the police are NOT allowed. Molotov cocktails may sound normal, but they are lethal. And when they are hurled at the police at close proximity they can kill and severely injure. Have you heard of the police who are severely injured on a weekly basis in the media?? NO because all you read is that the Bahraini police are brutal right? They are attacked daily, many have sustained severe injuries and burns.

    Another weapon they use are those huge long metal rods that are projected towards the police and can kill instantly if it hits them anywhere close to the head. They have already killed a woman who was on her way back home and that rod hit her directly in the head and she died a few days after that. Who’s fault is that? Where are the human rights?

    They also use smaller spears that look like darts and several policemen have been stabbed in their necks, legs, arms by them.

    Let me ask you all a question? What happens if a cop in the US stops your car and asks you to step out of the car with your hands above your head. And you come out of the car and put your hands in your pockets. Do you know that the police man has the right to SHOOT you in the leg? Just because there’s a possibility that you may be reaching for a weapon in your pocket so he has the right to defend himself by shooting first. In the UK I’m not sure what the rules are, but we all remember the South American guy who was shot at simply because they thought he was the suspect. The recent riots in London had 3000+ arrested. (FYI I’m not comparing the riots to ours because it’s totally different, I’m just talking about the arrests). If we did the same in Bahrain we would’ve been attacked. I don’t see anyone attacking the Met police?

    Do you know that Bahrain is the first country ever to call an Independent Committee to come judge and inquire about all the abuses by the Government. This is a very admirable and brave move by our King! Would a “dictator” ever do that? LOL And not only that but he accepted the result of the inquiry, believe me it was hard for us to watch Prof. give that speech accusing the government, but he took it bravely and showed sincere will to change things and has already begun to make the changes.

    The police who were found to be at fault were already punished by the Ministry of Interior even before the BICI report finished, and Prof. Bassiouni said that the big officials in the Ministry issued no order of abuse, what happened were individual mistakes and they already are punished. After last year’s mistake, the army, police force, and government have become very wary and careful not to do anything that is illegal or use excessive force because it hurt the country badly last year – even though what happened wasn’t intentional but it was wrong and everyone condemned that.

    Bahrain also went the extra length of asking the US and the UK for help in training our police forces to deal with riot control and they brought in 2 officials 1 from the US called John Timoney, who has worked in the police force for many years, and a former high ranking Met Police officer called John Yates. They both said that the police are not using excessive force and have agreed that the protesters are using violent and lethal weapons.

    Another thing people don’t know Bahrainis, specially those who are “Pro-Govt” is that even they have changed their views towards the Government! How? Last year we had people who were either pro govt or anti-govt. This year it’s a bit more complicated as we now have extremists on both sides and several middle areas. However most people who were pro-govt are still pro in the sense that they support the King, but what has changed is that they have been more critical of the Government. You all would be surprised to know that most pro-gov Bahrainis criticize the Government for being too LENIENT! Yes you heard me right.. They have grown sick and tired of the situation and want the government to implement stricter laws to put an end to this ongoing chaos! They want the government to give the police the right to use weapons to face the rioters who are already using lethal weapons. So far the rioters escape freely after attacking the police, and the police go back home with their injuries. I see their point, as I don’t know anywhere in the world where we see police defenseless against the violent rioters. So the ball game has completely changed. I don’t blame the government that much because they are dealing with so much pressure from all sides!

    It’s like a tug of war but with many more sides than 2, and the government is the rope. They’ve got the violent opposition on the extremists end, the pro-gov extremists on the other end, then the people who are anti-gov and pro-gov but are more moderate, then the International affairs and relations (mainly the US), then the GCC countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman) who have their own concerns for their safety. So as you can all see the government are under a lot of pressure to please all these sides and all I can say is I’m lucky I’m not part of them because it’s a very tough job!

    And I think they have been doing a great job so far in trying to calm the situation down. People have been criticizing them for being too lenient and not making swifter decisions but I can’t blame them. They have to think a billion times before doing anything. One thing I’d like to say is that I do believe that they are sincere in wanting to make the changes that the opposition are asking for. Our King has started the reform process 10 years ago and made huge changes towards making Bahrain more democratic. And they are continuing to do so step by step. The world needs to give Bahrain a chance because our rulers are good people and most International leaders know that. It’s just unfortunate (or wise from the opposition) that the unrest happened along with the Arab Spring so we were all grouped with them even though the situation here is not even comparable to countries like Libya, syria, egypt, etc…

    Sorry for this humungous long post but I felt I had to explain my point of view. Now back to F1, I personally believe that it should transcend all politics. I’m against the view that holding the GP means that it is supporting the government. Well yes it kind of but it is supporting the country! By having the F1 it will help Bahrain recover the immense economic losses of last year, which in turn helps us the citizens! Last year I was for canceling it the first time, but when it announced again I was for it. In hindsight I still think we could have pulled it off in October because other International events happened shortly after in November with no problems at all. We had Jewellery Arabia which is an Annual International Exhibition that has the worlds biggest jewellery names. It was also high risk because of the amount of expensive jewellery that is normally brought in is. Then we had the International Boat show which was a huge success. Then we had the BIGS Annual Flower show, and the International Air Show which is also a huge event, maybe a bit smaller than F1, everyone had a great time. We recently had an International Animal show as well. So why can’t we hold the F1?

    The opposition are obviously using the F1 to their benefit and are trying their best to escalate the situation and are working the media as they did last year to side against the government and cancel it. This was always expected, but this time around, they have no legitimacy at all. They have lost the respect of many here, even people from their own! Many from the opposition are now against them because they are taking them nowhere with their pointless use of violence. Nothing practical is being done, so they have lost thousands of supporters they had last year! Bahrain has changed, we have moved on. Our lives are back to normal and we will NOT allow them to drag us into the rut they did last year. This isn’t how we are used to live, this is not how we Bahrainis are. We are not sectarian people and we will not allow the opposition to spread their filth and hate anymore. We are looking towards progressing and aiming for unity to help build our country back regardless of what the govt does. The F1 is huge event that really affects the whole country, and we love it here when it’s around. Even people who are not into racing or motorsports enjoy Bahrain during the F1 because it becomes so lively and people really enjoy themselves. This year people are even more adamant on attending the F1 to make a point towards unity, reconciliation, and rebuilding our country and helping it move forward. It is such a beautiful feeling, the hype already started and the F1 fever is reaching it’s peak. Bahrainis are happy they have something to look forward to. Please I beg the F1 community, from team members, fans, drivers, and media, PLEASE DON’T take this away from us!! Give Bahrain a chance! I’m sure you all won’t be disappointed. We want the GP and we are ready for it!

    (Thank you to anyone who read this from top to bottom!)


    Thank you @lak for giving your extensive view here. I really did read it all as you asked.
    But I admit, that I have some things that need pointing out or are open to debate.

    I appreciate, that the situation is not clear cut, nor is it a simple case of bad government /hero protesters pitched against each other. It hardly ever is.

    But I cannot take completely serious your constant use of “rioters” for people protesting on the streets, nor talking as if its nothing serious, even if these protests are relatively big but completely without violence, like this protest march last Friday. Its neither 10-15 people, nor is it violent. Its people voicing their concerns.
    Its clear that this is not completely quite and under control, as its inevitably escalating in the runup to the GP – http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/09/us-bahrain-blast-idUSBRE8380PV20120409 – is an example of what can hardly be prevented from happening without the harshest of security measures surrounding the race. An event where over 3000 team members and media attend. The fact a US or UK ex police officer who now works for the government confirms the security forces are not using excessive force is an improvement over what happened last year, you should not omit, that part of the measures are regular blanketing of whole villages with tear gas, that was confirmed by the US officer you mentioned.

    I know that many of you in Bahrain would be glad if things could just “get back to normal” and you see the race as something to help achieve that. But F1 just is not meant to do that for you.
    I sincerely hope that all of you can get out of this impasse and improve life in Bahrain for everyone. But it will take a lot of patience, wisdom and REALLY listening to each other as well as accepting compromise for all sides. And from the what you write and what is said by your government and by people speaking on behalves of protesting groups recently that is not something you have achieved quite yet.
    Inviting the melt-pot of F1 as an extra focusing point for protests or unifying or showing how much everything is supposed to be normal in Bahrain would go against the statutes of the FIA as its inherently political, even if the security situation would allow it right now.

    On a last note, its really unfair when you write

    Where are the human rights organizations to stop the opposition from abusing these innocent children

    when all major human rights organizations have been barred entry into your country for about a year now.

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