Will the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix go ahead?
- 10th April 2012, 18:11 at 6:11 pm #180789briansmithParticipant
Following on from the above post. I think governments should not be involved with sporting venues like in the case of the Bahrain International Circuit. All sporting venues should be owned independently by sporting bodies etc. This is to avoid blurring the line between politics and sport.10th April 2012, 19:17 at 7:17 pm #180790Bradley DowntonParticipant
@prisoner-monkeys – Cheers… But I mean, if it goes ahead, I can see a few drivers going, only. Therefore giving us a race with like, 6/7 drivers. I don’t know why, but I can see it, maybe I’m just crazy. You’d probably agree.10th April 2012, 20:04 at 8:04 pm #180791Bradley DowntonParticipant
BREAKING NEWS – Ecclestone tells teams to pay up or shut up over Bahrain
Just seen this, it’s been out for about half an hour, what do people make?
EDIT: Ooops, forgot the actual link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/apr/10/f1-bernie-ecclestone-bahrain-grand-prix?newsfeed=true10th April 2012, 22:33 at 10:33 pm #180792
@bradley13 – I think Bernie has a plan. And for that plan to work, he needs everyone singing from the same song sheet. He doesn’t need one of the teams going off half-cocked.10th April 2012, 23:23 at 11:23 pm #180793
That’s very interesting. PM, I thought you said Bernie wasn’t greedy? Yet he’s making it very clear the teams will pay if they don’t feel safe going.11th April 2012, 0:07 at 12:07 am #180794
@matt90 – Who says this has anything to do with greed? Bernie cites the Concorde Agreement, which makes it quite clear that the teams are obligated to compete. If they do not, they can be fined for it. The teams agreed to this when they signed the Agreement in the first place. Honestly, I’d be more concerned if Bernie wasn’t fining them for not appearing. @alianora-la-canta spent most of yesterday reminding us of the FIA’s sporting code, and criticising the FIA for not upholding it. Now you want to criticise Bernie for actually following the rules, as spelled out by the document?
Like I said, I think Bernie has a plan for Bahrain. He’s not just talking to the Bahraini authorities; today’s round-up has an Al Jazeera interview with one of the activists who said she was contacted by Bernie. I think Bernie wants all the teams to hold the same stance on the matter so that when his plan come to fruition, it works. Say he has decided that the race will not go ahead, and intends to announce it to the teams in Shanghai on Sunday. The last thing he needs is one team breaking ranks early and refusing to go to Bahrain. It would look like the teams are simply reacting out of guilt, rather than presenting a united front.11th April 2012, 2:01 at 2:01 am #180795
Yep, because teams that might wish to avoid a race event where there’s a real danger of their employees getting killed deserves fining, or at least pointedly having the potential of being fined mentioned. Those things are in no way the motives of a man very much fond of that money. I know he’s sticking to the contract, but if teams have a genuine and founded worry for the safety of their people, then threatening with a fine is pretty bad, and something that you would expect the contract to allow a loophole for when there’s fear of death.
I do agree about the whole united front thing though, it might be his best way of avoiding too much negative, political mess.11th April 2012, 2:32 at 2:32 am #180796
Yep, because teams that might wish to avoid a race event where there’s a real danger of their employees getting killed deserves fining, or at least pointedly having the potential of being fined mentioned.
I think you’re overstating things. If the Bahraini government wants to use the race to show that life in their country has returned to normal, then they will go out of their way to protect the teams and drivers. and the protesters won’t want to risk injuring – much less killing – an outsider, because they will then lose whatever goodwill they have from the rest of the world.
I know he’s sticking to the contract, but if teams have a genuine and founded worry for the safety of their people, then threatening with a fine is pretty bad, and something that you would expect the contract to allow a loophole for when there’s fear of death.
I don’t think there is any genuine fear of death among the teams. After all, Bernie has said that none of the teams have expressed any doubts about the race, and Lotus sent somebody to the country to check things out. They seem to be pretty satisfied with things, and although the team issued a statement saying it was part of a confidential memo, they didn’t deny anything in the actual report. If there was a genuine fear of death or injury, something would have been said by now.
Personally, I think it’s far too soon to go making judgements on what everyone intends on doing, because nobody has actually said anything publicly. I expect we’ll know more this weekend – Jean Todt is in Shanghai, as is Bernie and all of the teams. All of the policy-makers will be in one place, so I expect that there will be a meeting of some sort, and we will know more by Monday.11th April 2012, 2:42 at 2:42 am #180797
I know, I was exaggerating a bit. And it does look like the teams might not be too worried. But the situation can change, the country can be in a worse state in a few days, and then the precedent has been set that any teams beginning to get jittery have been told to go or to pay up. Of course I’m sure that in that situation the FIA would make a good call to cancel, but you never know, and it just seems to me that it was something that Bernie didn’t really need to mention.11th April 2012, 2:49 at 2:49 am #180798
@matt90 – People have been lobbying to the FIA to abandon the race for some time now, and their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. With one unnamed team principal mentioning that he is uncomfortable with Bahrain, the activists might decide to start appealing to the teams individually, trying to persuade them not to go (some people are probably already doing this). Bernie is probably trying to prevent this from happening, again for the sake of unity among the teams and other parties.11th April 2012, 3:01 at 3:01 am #180799
Hmm, you may have a point about that. But in that case I think being open with the teams about the precautions he’s taking, the legitimacy of intel about the situation on the ground in Bahrain, giving them assurance that if they don’t break rank the situation will be resolved for the best either way, this would be a better and more pleasant way of dealing than simply saying they will have to pay if they don’t have the nerve to go. I guess I just don’t agree with his methods of creating unity.11th April 2012, 10:23 at 10:23 am #180800briansmithParticipant
I would look further than just ‘are the teams safe’?. Think about the significance of the race from both the governments and protesters point of view.
Firstly lets assess what Bahraini government would do:
They will be aiming to use the race to portray an image of normality and peace, of safety and success. They will see the race as a vote of confidence in the governing of the country, They will be trying to show the world that the country is open for business, They will be moving heaven and earth to cover up the protests and shielding the worlds cameras from ongoing protests. They will be ensuring spectators don’t see any protests and they’ll probably chaperone them. They would be likely to control where the spectators/tourists are allowed to go during their stay in the country. After all the government will be trying to say to the world – look all is well here.
Now on the flip side of the coin lets assess the position of the protesters:
They will be aiming to use the race to their advantage, to reach out the world to highlight their plight. They will do their level best to get in front of the camera’s and they would definitely be protesting in areas where there will be foreigners who’ve come to watch the race – its a sure fire way to get your message out. They know that if they protest there, the police will come and beat them – the foreigners will be sure to see this and it will be contrary to the image portrayed by the government. So clearly it would be in their interest to dramatically increase protests in the run up to and during the race knowing full well that the government will not allow it – resulting in tear gas, beatings, arrests and outright violence. All this in front of the camera’s and world’s media.
As you can see its not good from either view is it?
The race itself will essentially become a fly trap (excuse the analogy here). In that the race will attract protesters desperate to use the opportunity, this in turn will attract a heavy security clampdown, violence etc. The protestors will get wounded or killed. We can avoid this fly trap occurring by cancelling the race and thus stop people needlessly getting hurt or killed.
So now that we’ve done a brief assessment of both sides we can see clearly that Bahrain is not a good location to stage the grand prix. It is my belief that both parties in Bahrain will seek to take political advantage of the race. Both will be trying to use the race to get their message out to the world.
It is better and more dignified for Bernie and the FIA to cancel the race to avoid it from being used as a political football. There is no need to become involved in the situation in Bahrain.
One final point: the government there are sure to protect the teams and their staff, but can they realistically provide the same level of protection to all the spectators?12th April 2012, 0:57 at 12:57 am #180801
Hmm, you may have a point about that. But in that case I think being open with the teams about the precautions he’s taking, the legitimacy of intel about the situation on the ground in Bahrain, giving them assurance that if they don’t break rank the situation will be resolved for the best either way, this would be a better and more pleasant way of dealing than simply saying they will have to pay if they don’t have the nerve to go. I guess I just don’t agree with his methods of creating unity.
He probably is doing all that. He just needs the public – particularly the activists – to know that they can’t influence the decision.
I think a lot of people make the mistake of believing that because they don’t like Bernie and because they do like the teams, that means that the teams don’t like Bernie. But as near as I can tell, he’s actually got a pretty good relationship with all of them. His tactics might be questionable, but they trust him.12th April 2012, 8:53 at 8:53 am #180802AsanatorParticipant
What I want to know is why the BBC are spinning all this into ‘The teams don’t want to go’ when ‘the teams’ haven’t actually said anything other than it’s up to the FIA to cancel the event. It is a shocking twisting of events!12th April 2012, 9:23 at 9:23 am #180803
@asanator – By quoting someone, but not naming them, it shows all of this to be unofficial. The teams have a public stance that the race will go ahead, but one principal supposedly has private doubts. But quoting people anonymously is a tricky business, because it’s very easy to make things up and then attribute it to a confidential source. It’s something I’s expect more of the tabloids than the BBC, but it is a questionable practice.
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