Formula One should not be going racing in Bahrain

Posted on June 3, 2011


Formula One will return to Bahrain in October despite months of protests and brutal repression in the Gulf State.

Will we see full stands in October? Credit: Lotus Renault

Following the lifting of a state of emergency earlier this this week, the FiA’s World Motorsport Council (WMSC) agreed unanimously to place the Bahrain Grand Prix back on the calendar for October 30, pushing the inaugural Indian Grand Prix to the end of the season.

The decision has been greeted with dismay by many fans and most in the media. Objections range from the moral, to the fears for security, to upset that it appears it’s all about the money – despite Bernie Ecclestone’s protests to the contrary.

It took long enough for the race to be cancelled in March, despite the clear and present reasons. Protestors being shot on the streets and troops brought in from Saudi Arabia made it clear Bahrain was not the home for an international sporting jamboree. The opening Grand Prix of the season would have become a centre of protest, live on international television.

And a lot of those reasons are still valid. Large numbers of track staff remain in jail following the uprisings.

More importantly, should Formula One be helping this discredited regime put on a show? We know everything is not right in Bahrain. It might be better than it was, for the moment, but right it is clearly not.

And what happens if a fan, journalist or team member is hurt or even killed?

We await what the teams think. Hopefully, they will refuse to go. That would be the easiest solution – however much the ruling family and the FiA want it, we can’t have a Grand Prix without teams.

Posted in: Formula One, News