“Safety a priority” – Bahrain race organisers

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Bahrain, 2010

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Bahrain, 2010

The organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix have moved to reassure visitors to the track ahead of next month’s F1 test session and race.

The events have been targeted by anti-government protesters.

Circuit CEO Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, said: “The safety of all Bahraini nationals, expats and overseas visitors is a priority at all times in the Kingdom and, at the Bahrain International Circuit, our focus at the present time is on delivering another successful event in the form of the 2011 Gulf Air Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely indeed in association with the relevant authorities, and will respond appropriately to any further developments.”

If you’re planning to go to this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix you can find other F1 fans who are here:

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56 comments on “Safety a priority” – Bahrain race organisers

  1. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 15th February 2011, 20:53

    Of course the promoter will want to stress that it’s a stable and safe environment for F1. We’ll see. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with GP2 this weekend.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 15th February 2011, 21:35

      Nothing much judging by the level of attendance at Abu Dhabi!

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 16th February 2011, 0:26

        I just meen in terms of whether or not the teams run into any trouble getting to and from the circuit… of course there won’t be any spectators.

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 16th February 2011, 0:27

          *grunt*!!! MEAN, not meen. Where for art though edit button?

          • Maciek said on 16th February 2011, 8:10

            ahem… wherefore art thou? : )

          • Ahem! “Wherefore art thou” means “why are you”, not “where are you”.

            In Romeo and Juliet, “Wherefore art thou Romeo” means, “Why are you Romeo?”, not “Where are you, Romeo” – she obviously knows full well where he is.

            What she means is, “Why must you be a member of your family, and thus an enemy of mine?” That’s why it’s followed with, “Deny thy father and refuse thy name”.

            *grr*

          • So..

            Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Alfa Romeo, when you really are owned by Fiat?

          • PeriSoft said on 17th February 2011, 2:35

            @Hare

            Well-played, sir.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th February 2011, 6:21

      I got to follow AirAsia GP2 team, they are waiting for their freight since yesterday. And vd Garde sounded a bit worried in his tweets as well.
      Maybe a lot more people will now closely follow what happens, although the GP2 asia race is hardly a big event it would be comparable to F1 testing.

  2. First of all. I sincerely hope that the people of Bahrain find what they want and need, I’m poorly schooled on Bahrain, so it would be out of ignorance that I’d say anything more.

    Compared to the lives in a country of unrest, f1 and my personal enjoyment matter nothing in comparison.

    All the best to the people of Bahrain!

  3. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 15th February 2011, 21:15

    I almost hope it’s cancelled. Partly because I’d feel bad knowing that F1 is coming in and drawing the world’s attention away from any other important political events that are occuring in the nation but mainly because that’d make Australia the season opener instead, which is how things should be!

    • Apeman said on 16th February 2011, 8:13

      Seconded!

    • Shimks said on 16th February 2011, 10:27

      I worked in Sao Paulo for a few weeks in 2000. There are 23 million people in that city and the poverty is unbelievable. And then there’s the F1 spectacle once a year. I tell you, it’s really odd to sit and watch that race knowing the millions and millions that’s spent on bringing that show to the city. I look at the people in the stands and I think, you’re the very few privileged who can afford that.

      I know Barrichello and Senna and Massa help towards charities, so that’s a good thing. But it’s a drop in the ocean compared to gap between well-off and poor. It is a very odd world we live in. And I’ll hold my hand up – I do nothing to try and change these inequalities.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 15th February 2011, 21:58

    I doubt the problems will spill over and affect the Grand Prix. The government in Bahrain will be keen to preserve the event and protect the visitors to the country. The circuit is also somewhat removed from the major urban centres, so protests probably won’t be that big of a problem. The race might offer an international platform for the protesters to make themselves heard, but they would have to know that any kind of action could bring their entire movement crashing down around them. Especially if they embarrass the governmnet.

    • Maciek said on 16th February 2011, 8:20

      Especially if they embarass the government? O_o Isn’t that pretty much the point of protesting against unfair government? People who rule by fiat do so without shame, which is exactly what leads people to protest. I don’t mean to be confrontational – but I really don’t see the logic of a protest movement collapsing because it was too successful at making itself heard. A big part of how authoritarian governments survive is that only their side of things is acknowledged on the international stage.

      • +1 Maciek. Suggesting that a protest is inappropriate because it would ‘embarrass the government’? Well, of all the nerve!

        Sounds like there might be a place for you among Mr. Ecclestone’s advisers, PM.

  5. Brent McMaster said on 15th February 2011, 23:49

    Freedom and democracy are the only reason F1 exists. I find it distasteful that races are sanctioned in countries that oppress the people. I have no respect for anyone who would make the trip to Bahrain or Abu Dahbi for the race; it supports the dictatorships and disrespects the citizens.

    • vjanik said on 16th February 2011, 8:13

      sport and politics should not mix. stop making F1 a political topic.

      oh, i would very much doubt that Fe exists because of freedom and democracy. Grand Prix racing was dominated by nazi funded mercedes before the war. (germans were not allowed to have an airforce at that time so they used motr racing as a test bed for engines.

      most of that technology was used in 1950 when GP racing resumed. so stop talking democracy and freedom when you dont know your history.

      • David BR said on 16th February 2011, 11:01

        sport and politics should not mix. stop making F1 a political topic.

        Tell Bernie. He was the one who donated 1 million quid to the UK Labour Party in 1997 and for the latter to exempt F1 from the tobacco adverstising ban when it came into office. Politics and big sports with huge corporate investments always mix. Many of those running F1 obviously couldn’t care less if we all lived in a feudal state, but the millions of fans who effectively give the sport its money (as consumers and advertising targets for F1 teams and sponsors) do care about their political systems. The Bahrain race is where these two dimensions of F1 could collide. I really think the sport needs this wake-up call. But like FIFA choosing Qatar for the World Cup, it’s difficult to believe they will answer it.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th February 2011, 1:11

    I think the only reason why a lot of people are supportive of the idea of the race being abandoned due to the uprising is because it’s Bahrain. If we were talking about, for example, Brazil, then a lot of people would be imploring the Powers That Be to do something about it.

    • xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 16th February 2011, 2:13

      My thoughts exactly.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th February 2011, 5:36

        Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to come to much. Egypt was in a worse state, and yet they managed to resolve it in the space of just two weeks, while there’s still a month to go until the Grand Prix. And the protesters can’t rightly say “Okay, let’s not do anything for a month so we can protest at the race”, because they wouldn’t be taken seriously – it would look like they were more interested in attention than reform. And the race is so heavily linked to the Bahrain government, that they’ll do whatever they can to protect it. Assuming the protests are still going in a month and assuming the protesters can even get to the circuit, it’s unlikely they’ll get in and get on camera. So I strongly suspect that the protest groups promising to use the race to promote their cause are just talking big.

        • Hare (@hare) said on 16th February 2011, 9:25

          I don’t think it’s going to come to much.

          I have a feeling that could be the understatement of the decade..

          No one knows what’s gonna happen. But 2 revolutions in as many months? We’ll see… It seems a few more rulerships could well topple before q3 is here. Especially since there are protests fueled in part by the Tunisia and Egypt examples in about 6 other Arab states according to CNN and Al Jazeera.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th February 2011, 6:26

      Well to be honest, in current Brazil nothing like this would happen, just a few armed robberies etc.

      What I find worrying, is that the government of Bahrain seems to react very bad. First they wanted to calm down the people by offering $ 2.700 for every citizen. When that didn’t work there was a bit of panic on their side.

      Shooting a protester, than crashing down on complaints and protests surrounding his funeral, having more people killed. Will they want to risk something like that happening close to the F1 race, or right at the GP? Or even protesters getting a voice, might be a risk they won’t be taking.

  7. The Bahrain of Shaikh Al Khalifa is very different from that of an ordinary Bahraini citzen. While the Shaikh enjoys an extravagant lifestyle, the ordinary Bahraini of Shia background is daily oppressed by the Sunni led regime, to which Shaik Al Khalifa is part of ! :( I really hope the race will be transfered to another country, I also would love to see a driver or a team boycott the race !

    • I have to agree. The greedy excesses that is F1, do not exactly bode well with supressed societies, tyranical regimes and massive poverty. Although saying that, if Bernie was the President of a country, he would undoubtedly be no different from the Dictators that countless millions are trying to over throw. Rest assured that if this GP goes ahead, then money will be the deciding factor, nothing else. I am of the opinion that it should, and could be moved to another circuit.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th February 2011, 5:50

      The teams and drivers are obligated to compete. The only times they have ever led a boycott are for intenal matters, like the FISA-FOCA war back in 1982 and dissatisfaction over the track surface in Dallas 1984. Even then, I believed they raced on both occasions. They don’t make political statements. There has only ever been one instance of teams boycotting a race for political purposes, and that was when Renault and ligier protested apartheid at the 1985 South African Grand Prix – but even then, they only did so because they were under pressure from the French government, which was a part foa global push against South Africa.

      A boycott of the race won’t do anything for the poltiical situation. The race being concerned over political fears is more likely. It’s unlikely teams would boycott the race anyway, because there are too many World Championship points at stake.

      World politics and Formula 1 should be separate. It’s bad enough when the internal poltiics get messy. We don’t need to be dragging local and regional governments into the fray.

      • Prisoner Monkeys. You’re well out of your depth in a debate such as this.

      • David BR said on 16th February 2011, 11:44

        World politics and Formula 1 should be separate.

        See my reply above: tell Bernie. He uses political leaders all the time. He can’t then complain if people wanted to challenge or get of the incumbents he chose to do business with (or whatever) then want to have their say.

        • David BR said on 16th February 2011, 11:46

          oops, mangled reply, sorry

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 16th February 2011, 12:33

          Bernie uses political leaders to manipulate Formula 1. He does not use Formula 1 to manipulate politics.

          And before you mention that thing in Valencia, anyone in Bernie’s position would have held off signing a contract until upcoming elections had passed. It’s just common sense.

          • David BR said on 16th February 2011, 13:57

            Excuse me?! 1 million quid to the Labour Party is manipulating politics. Whether you can say that’s using ‘Formula 1′ to manipulate politics is maybe debatable, maybe not. And that’s just one of the bits we know about…

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 9:57

            I don’t know how things work in Britain, but if you donate one million dollars to the Labour Party in Australia, all you have done is pay for an ad to be made. It might sound like a lot, but it won’t go very far at all.

  8. DaveW said on 16th February 2011, 2:22

    One benefit of the F1 presence may be that it prevents the goverment from shutting down the internet as Egpyt did.

    As far as boycotts, if things get a little dicey there, it will be interesting to see if a driver chooses to make some kind of symbol or comment. But I bet a sponsor, say, Vodafone would not be keen to see Hamilton don a Kefiya and raise a victory sign at the press conference. I’m sure Vodafone is still smarting from having been forced to shut down its network in Egypt, except for allowing the regime to text up flash mobs of hired thugs.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th February 2011, 6:33

      Next to what you say, I think the FIA would be pretty much against any political message and might even punish such behaviour.

      I wouldn’t bet too much on the government not shutting down internet access too. They will probalby only make some links available for the press to communicate with their home offices, but that’s all (closely monitoring them for “unappropriate” info).

      From the Bahrain reaction to the protests, I fear this might get out of hand pretty bad. Panicing and start shooting protesters is hardly a way to solve this.

      • Well, panicking isn’t the way to solve it. But if you want to be honest, for the autocratic government, shooting protesters is indeed an excellent method. The trick is that you have to shoot just the right number of them.

        Let’s just hope that the King ends up on the ‘too few’ side.

        • Because “administrative massacres” have always worked out so well in history? Don’t know about that.

          • PeriSoft said on 17th February 2011, 2:47

            Not always, but people don’t remember Tienanmen Square as the turning point for Chinese democracy, do they? At Tienanmen, somewhere between 400 and 800 was enough of a number to convince another billion or so that it wasn’t worth it.

            And now, nobody mentions any of it – or if they do, it’s in such an abstracted “Around the time of Tienanmen…” way that it’s almost meaningless, like the war of 1812. So much so, in fact, that people forget that violence can quell rebellions at all. After all, it’s not a very nice thing to acknowledge: Much better to concentrate on victories for freedom like in Egypt, and remember with joy the subsequent revelry in which a reporter was sexually assaulted continuously for more than half an hour, amidst screams of “Jew! Jew!”

            Wait, not that last bit. That’s supposed to be forgotten too. Sorry.

  9. Jacob said on 16th February 2011, 7:47

    why don’t they have the Bahrain race at qatar, I remember somewhere that there circuit was now F1 standard, and the circuit looks quite interesting aswell

  10. John H said on 16th February 2011, 7:57

    Well, if you will take F1 to countries with dictatorships feeding off oil and gas what do you expect.

  11. Stefan said on 16th February 2011, 8:42

    Don’t know which year it was, but at Silverstone we saw the last ‘protester’ on track… perhaps 1999 or 2000?

  12. It will at least liven things up on that awful circuit…

  13. Jonathan said on 17th February 2011, 7:52

    The way the Bahraini regime has treated peaceful protesters is despicable.

    I hope Martin Brundle has some hard questions lined up for when he bumps into the King on the grid walk…

    • That’s if he makes it that far.

      I would imagine that it’s now very difficult to acquire visas to get into Bahrain. Also, more deaths have been reported in the capital as protesters have once again clashed with police.

  14. apeman (@apeman) said on 17th February 2011, 10:05

    I personally hope they cancel the race so we can have a good old Aussie GP season start. It always felt a bit like Christmas getting up early to watch the first race, and at a great circuit.

  15. Nick Thomas said on 17th February 2011, 13:17

    The Bahrain Grand Prix should be boycotted given the violent and repressive actions of the government.

    If F1 cares about the reputation of the sport they should cancel the race.

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