Situation worsens in Bahrain as GP2 Asia race is cancelled

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2010

The political situation in Bahrain continues to deteriorate, putting the running of next month’s season-opening F1 race in jeopardy.

The government has used security forces to break up demonstrations by protesters demanding political reform. At least two people have been killed and over a hundred have been injured.

The practice sessions for tomorrow’s GP2 Asia races have been cancelled as medical crews are being deployed elsewhere.

GP2 reporter Will Buxton said on Twitter that some of the teams are staying near Pearl Roundabout, where much of the violence has taken place:

“Hearing that some GP2 teams are staying near Pearl Roundabout and have been told not to go back to their hotels.”

There are also reports of foreign journalists being denied access to the country. Writing on his blog, Buxton added:

“We arrived in Bahrain last night, and the airport was relatively quiet. Despite this, I and about five of my colleagues had our passports taken away with no explanation.

“After a 15 minute wait, our passports were returned, again with no real explanation as to where they had been taken or what had been done with them other than that it was part of new procedure. How this will work over the Grand Prix weekend when the airport is set to become far busier and with a sudden and vast influx of international media remains to be seen.”

This week’s GP2 Asia races were scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday.

F1 is due to test at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 3rd-6th ahead of the first race of the season.

Update: The GP2 Asia race has been cancelled. The series organisers issued the following statement:

“Following the current events in Bahrain, at the request of the Bahrain Motorsport Federation, it has been decided that the remainder of the meeting which was supposed to take place this week at Bahrain International Circuit is cancelled due to force majeure.”

Follow ongoing updates from Bahrain using the F1 Fanatic Live Twitter app

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297 comments on Situation worsens in Bahrain as GP2 Asia race is cancelled

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  1. it’s sad that f1 season will be delayed – but that is a minor problem compared to the problems the protesters have.

    • It didn’t say that the season would definately be delayed.

      • i am predicting it will.

        • Andy W said on 17th February 2011, 11:40

          I suspect we are in for a very turbulent season with a very different type of politics causing huge amounts of drama.

          F1 is a hugely international sport which draws a large international media presence… I suspect that the populations of many countries will see this as an opportunity to get their voices heard and foment the kinds of pressure required to deal with the corrupt and ineffective political systems that rule many of the countries that F1 visits.

          • If these protests in the middle east are going to be a domino effect, what are the chances that Abu Dhabi is cancelled too… :P

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 17th February 2011, 15:08

            Probability of Abu Dhabi getting affected is high, however, come the end of the season, I’m sure the issue will either have subsided or be resolved. I’m not complaining about Bahrain and Abu Dhabi being scrapped though.

          • sato113 (@sato113) said on 17th February 2011, 15:53

            why not just hold the race at the Qatar circuit. it’s nearby so the freight could move by road.

          • To the poster who postulated Abu Dhabi could be cancelled – Abu Dhabi, and indeed the UAE as a whole, is one of the more enlightened Gulf states.

            Don’t get me wrong, it’s by no means perfect, but I don’t think there’s enough discontent there to try to topple the government. Certainly, it’s a very wealthy country and a lot of the people living there are extremely wealthy foreign nationals who would have no motivation to join a revolution.

            The only problems I can foresee are issues with the many migrant workers that Abu Dhabi, Dubai etc employ in their construction industries. It is held worldwide that they are exceptionally badly treated by their employees and the government in this regard. However, much like the depression of the 1930s, one suspects that it is such easily replaceable labour that the migrants would not dare risk whatever job they already hold. It’s sad but true. I don’t foresee any problems in Abu Dhabi as far as the F1 race there is concerned.

        • Mack41 (@mack41) said on 17th February 2011, 11:40

          I’m hoping for a move to a different track that can accomodate F1; not a Tilke bore-drome. It’d be a win-win! The people of Bahrain get the political reform the deserve and desire and we don’t have to watch a race on that awful track!

      • Bernie’s rubbing his hands.

        Especially if the grand prix doesn’t go ahead, the amount of exposure it will grab F1 for the actual season starter will be tremendous. Plus he’ll have stipulations and such that they won’t be losing money if the event holder pulls out.

    • F1iLike said on 17th February 2011, 11:40

      I say cancel the god damn Bahrain GP! It’s not a loss anyway. Just another Operation Dessert Storm GP. And they suck.

    • his_majesty said on 17th February 2011, 12:35

      That’s what you get for being greedy bernie. Keep F1 where people have heard of it. Not these crazy off the wall places. He frustrates me so much. It’s sooo hard not to swear at him. I think he should give F1 fans the millions of money he got from the priceipality.

      • Its not a crazy off the wall place… Its only “off the wall” if you are from the other side of the world. And then from the Asians side, your location is considered “off the wall”.

        You need to travel more, or at least open the windows and look outside.

        • agreed

        • Spaulding (@spaulding) said on 17th February 2011, 14:11

          No, it’s off teh wall because there is almost NOTHING nearby as far as well developed, and stable, countries. It is also a place where the outright exploitation of locals and foreigners is used by the government with little to no compensation. Income disparities throughout the middle east are frankly ridiculous and twenty years ago, these cities were not considered for much of anything, let alone a GP. They always felt to me like they were built on unstable, false wealth (credit, corner cutting, etc.) as most of these sudden “modern” cities throughout the middle east have suddenly sprung up without any real, serious improvement of the quality of life for the average citizen (hence the protests).

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 17th February 2011, 15:19

            Man why should income disparities and economic conditions be a factor for hosting an F1 race?
            According to your theory, the Brazilian GP, Indian GP and Chinese GP shouldn’t exist. This is formula 1 and not ’1st world country racing’. As long as there are fans who enjoy the sport in a particular country, as well as a good circuit/infrastructure, the country should be able to host it.

            Dont talk your mouth off about exploitation of locals and foreigners, and cutting corners in economic growth, when you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

          • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 17th February 2011, 17:35

            F1 is not about politics and neither is football (another sport hosted in “off the wall”).

            Bahrainian economy is not built on credit or corner cutting, in fact with few oil reserves they have diversified since the early 90s. Especially into banking, creating a consumer economy and travel/tourism.

          • SeattleChris said on 17th February 2011, 19:07

            Spaulding, I understand what you are getting at. Income isn’t a requirement, but building track specific courses costing hundreds of millions of dollars in a land where the people can’t afford the tickets to watch the race is pretty messed up in my estimation.
            Todford should take one of his own lessons on not “talk[ing] [his] mouth off” when he apparently has “no idea what [he's] talking about.”
            I believe in the good nature of most people on this planet, but I can only guess at the sort of odd reactionary responses that are occasionally uttered on here. Those who are, apparently, so ‘expert’ in middle eastern economies should do a better job explaining what the people of those areas are complaining about it they are so “diversified” and not exploited as a few around this reply have stated.
            The signs that things are wrong are pretty apparent; we are seeing it pop up like acne on a teenager right now.

            When incomes match the ticket prices, then the people have succeeded. Until then, it is silly that such a tremendous expenditure of money be spent on tracks with countries lacking the available fans to fill the empty seats.

        • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 17th February 2011, 17:30

          Agree with you.

      • kowalsky said on 17th February 2011, 14:20

        he is a dictator like the rest. And brutalized the sport taking it to these places, nobody care about.
        In the perfect world, he would be acountable for the f1 crimes. Just kidding.
        But they must be thinking. Do we want to be associated with this regime? The world is changing, and they should act accordingly. I remember when they stopped going to south africa because of the apartheid. And i am sure they are thinking about it.

        • GeorgeTuk (@georgetuk) said on 17th February 2011, 17:37

          Bernie a dictator? That’s pretty funny.

          Commercially yes he is in control, but the racing is handled by the FIA with CVC being the licence holder for the comemrcials.

          Bernie is not in control of the sport he just has a firm control on it continuing making money.

  2. The latest tweets show it looks pretty bad. No journalists being let into the country, 3 dead and 300 wounded, etc.

    I very much feel, that testing should be postponed or moved to somewhere else certainly.
    The race is another week away, but I would hope Bernie is seriously looking at the options right now.

    • mildertduck said on 17th February 2011, 11:37

      I wonder if we might be about so see the first F1 sessions at Losail or the Dubai Autodrome (i.e. the two non-F1 circuits in the area).

      I can’t see Bernie moving the race out of the Middle East, but might he consider changing the venue?

    • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 17th February 2011, 12:03

      They should just stay in Europe a bit longer. They can have the test at Algarve.

      Bas Leinders has suggested they move the Bahrain GP to Magny-Cours. That seems as good as any, we need a French GP on the calendar, and Magny-Cours has all the infrastructure ready, and could probably get a group of marshalls together in a short period.

  3. hopefully the grand prix can go ahead. but if not then it must be delayed and not canceled. maybe have it towards the end of the season near the abu dhabi GP

    • Just been watching the news. I would be surprised if this situation can be resolved before F1 arrives. Perhaps the organisers should consider another venue in the region.

      • Andy W said on 17th February 2011, 11:45

        I suspect it probably will be resolved in the next month…. but the ramifications of how this unrest is resolved may make holding the GP difficult and or dangerous… thats assuming its possible at all….

        The entire Middle East is seething with political unrest so its unlikely that another venue in the area could be found, let along brought upto F1 standards in time… and thats before even considering what it would mean to the teams, media and supporters to shift venues. This also applies to delaying the GP…

        What happened last year with the volcano is a drop in the ocean when it comes to inconvenience when compared to troubles swapping venues or postponing races would create.

    • I hope the protesters lose. If they win and there is reform, then its going to start a brand new cycle of corruption and poverty.

      • As opposed to the old style of corruption and poverty?

        I’m sure that they are not just protesting because they are bored.

      • Are you serious!

        You are standing up for a dictatorship?

        These protesters were just sitting peacefully in the square when they suffered a full on assault by the police! How can you stand up for that sort of behavior. At least if the protesters win and there are elections then there is a chance that the people will be free to elect their own leaders.

        The race should be canceled and it should be made clear that it has been canceled in reaction to the treatment of innocent people by the brutality of the government. F1 should stand up and be counted.

        And if Bernie and the FIA refuse to do anything then the drivers should not turn up.

        • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 17th February 2011, 19:25

          Iran was protesting against the dictator (shah). They got what they wanted and now they are protesting against that.

          I’d say infy has a point.

          • Maciek said on 18th February 2011, 8:23

            They got what they wanted? O_o you should read up on the Iranian revolution – what most people wanted was a liberal democracy, but then the revolution was basically hijacked by a single-minded, dictatorial faction; which is an unfortunate pattern in many revolutions. Infy’s comment is totally ludicrous.

  4. I know sports and politics should stay far away from each other. But to hold F1 race in a country where last night peaceful protesters have literally had their head blown off (see the extremely graphic pictures on the internet), would be a big mistake. Call off the F1 race now!

    • Cambo, totally agree

    • jihelle (@jihelle) said on 17th February 2011, 10:39

      Couldn’t have said it better.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:01

      But to hold F1 race in a country where last night peaceful protesters have literally had their head blown off (see the extremely graphic pictures on the internet), would be a big mistake. Call off the F1 race now!

      Formula 1 races in a country that sanctioned medical experiments on people of a state the occupied. People had their limbs removed and attached on opposite sides. They had their stomachs removed and their oesophagus attached directly to their intestines. They were injected with anthrax and the plague and subject to live dissection without anaesthesia to study how the diseases affected the body. They were hung upside down to see how long it would take them to choke to death. They had horse urine injected into their kidneys to see what would happen. They were exposed to lethal doses of x-rays. They were placed in centrifuges and spun until they died.

      These deaths weren’t a part of mass protests where casualties were almost a foregone conclusion. They were prionsers of war subject to medical torture sanctioned by the Japanese government.

      So tell me: why aren’t you protesting the race at Suzuka?

      • Gaston said on 17th February 2011, 11:15

        Because the current Japanese government is a rather healthy liberal democracy and not the same regime guilty of atrocities during WWII, perhaps?

      • matt88 (@matt88) said on 17th February 2011, 11:17

        you’re talking of WW2, that’s aeons ago. Almost every country in the world has its own skeletons in the cupboard.
        On the contrary, Bahrain protests are going on now, so we have to do something now.

      • PM,

        This is really happening now, this moment, not last century.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:33

          I’m aware it’s happening right now. All I’m trying to do is point out that some people are using politics as a front for having the race cancelled simply because they do not like Bahrain having a race in the first place. I am willing to bet a fair amount that if riots like this threatened the race in Brazil or Belgium or Monaco, people would be a lot less sympathetic towards the protestors.

          It’s like this: a large company sets up a manufacturing plant in a developing nation, paying a minimum wage to its workers. People protest this because it’s the exploitation of cheap labour. They succeed in getting the plant shut down, and they sleep well that night. But the people who were employed by that factory are now out of work, and while they were on a minimum wage, they aren’t getting paid anymore and are further condemned to poverty. This does not bother the protestors; they aren’t even aware that those people no longer have any income because of their actions.

          In the same way, people here are opposed to Bahrain hosting a race because they feel Formula 1 has no business being in Bahrain in the first place. The circuit and the race get consistently poor reviews and unparalleled criticism (despite the fact that it actually produces a lot of overtaking). Now that the protests have begun, and people have died as a result of them, fans are using the protests to call for the race to be cancelled. But let me ask you this: if the race is cancelled because of the protests, how many people will continue to express outrage over the protests once it is confirmed the race will not take place?

          I’m willing to bet I could count them on one hand.

          • Don Mateo said on 17th February 2011, 11:52

            A couple of things wrong with the situation you described: firstly, in your version, the people protesting the exploitation of cheap labour are outsiders – not necessarily in the affected country. Secondly, there’s no mention of any violence committed, either by the protesters or the authorities.

            In Bahrain it’s the country’s own people protesting against what they see as an unjust form of government, and the state has responded violently. There is a credible threat to the safety of anyone in the country and a real chance that the race could be disrupted by the protests. Therefore, it’s only right that the idea of postponing or cancelling the race is raised.

            If there is anyone out there who want to use this situation to have Bahrain taken off the calendar permanently, then they’re in the minority.

          • Coefficient said on 17th February 2011, 11:58

            Sorry, can’t agree. Bahrain is a snorefest of a race. No political sub agenda here whatsoever. This is an F1 site, not a political ranting blog so I prefer to talk about F1 on this site. I’ve never liked the Bahrain track, it’s a poor layout and it looks bad on TV because all the glued down sand makes it look like a building site. Bahrain as a place or regime doesn’t enter into it because we’re supposed to be talking about F1.

          • Chalky (@chalky) said on 17th February 2011, 12:05

            The race should be cancelled because the safety of those attending the GP could be in jeopardy. I have personally little interest in the protests. I have much more interest in the safety of those attending the F1 race.

            Keep politics out of it. Just assess if it’s safe to have the race for all concerned.

          • Don Mateo:

            It has happened often where labour unions (from the same country) protest in order to get pay increases. The companies can no longer afford to operate because the minimum wage is higher than their operating budget, and as a result they shut down.

            The union was not targeting the company that shut down, they dont even know it exists. However as a result of trying to up pay, they did the opposite for some people.

            On top of that, when ever there are strikes, there is always some form of violence.

            3 deaths is nothing really (compared to the strikes back home in RSA, at least), and these stats are often blown up by the media in order to create a story or push a cause.

            Cancelling a race (and turning the track into a white elephant) due to regime change is going to force a massive loss of jobs from all sides of the industry ranging from officials, to communications, to manufacturing to catering, TV, etc, etc ,etc.

          • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 17th February 2011, 14:04

            Believe me mate, there are more than five of us complaining about this rant alone right now

          • What on earth is your point though? Modern day Japan is not like that so of course no one cares about having a race in Suzuka. We’d probably have to ban every country on the calendar if we are looking at atrocities committed in the past.

            What is happening in Bahrain is happening now and its unacceptable. This is headline news on every news channel in the world for a reason, and its not anything to do with Formula 1.

          • There probably isn’t a country in the world that has a clean bill of health on current human rights, let alone if past ones are included. If one attempted to write properly about all of those violations, there would be no space left to discuss F1.

            Ethics are important. It is important to note that there are different degrees of ethics and that everyone has different thresholds of what they can tolerate and are willing to write about. I wrote about certain elements of the ethics of racing in China three years ago; I haven’t repeated it because nothing has changed and there hasn’t been anything to add on that topic. It’s still there in the blog archive (and a short summary of part of the problem can be found in the Genocide Grand Prix? article at F1 Fanatic) and I’m still proud of it. That doesn’t mean continued expression of the same point at this time is going to do anything except possibly annoy my readers. When one starts to write politically (or even with shades of politics), timing is important.

            The “consistently poor reviews of Bahrain” are a separate matter. Partly, a lot of us have yet to see evidence of the overtaking it supposedly provides even in statistics (the only Tilke-drome that isn’t in the bottom handful for overtaking is Turkey) and partly, the consistently poor camerawork means that much of the overtaking that does happen is missed. FOM has much to answer for, if not necessarily as much as Hermann Tilke.

      • graham228221 said on 17th February 2011, 11:24

        :O

        Well then why not cancel the race at the Nurburgring? Why not cancel the Chinese GP? Hell, why not cancel Silverstone, it’s not like we’ve got a clean CV is it?!?

        Because it’s 2011, the world is [trying] to move on from past atrocities rather than getting bogged down in the mistakes of the past.

        My god, PM, you really do talk a load of BS!!!

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 17th February 2011, 11:26

        that’s from thousand years ago. But even if it wasn’t, it’s a mistake of past times.

        no need to take that road again.

      • Spartan said on 17th February 2011, 11:27

        Should we get into why we shouldn’t hold a German GP now too?

      • Sorry mate, but honestly, you are on another planet. Some of the stuff you come out with is just insane. To boot, you always believe you’re right and I can’t remember ever seeing you post a comment where you admitted you were wrong and backed down in good spirits. This comment is bordering on the psychopathic and worries me about you.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:39

          Don’t think for a moment that I don’t care about the situation in Bahrain. I’m a Resident Fellow this year, which means I’m in charge of four flats in my residential college, and I have a few people from the Middle East – not specifically Bahrain, mind you – living in them, and they have been quite distressed by what is happening back in their respective homelands. It falls to the Resident Fellows to look after the wellbeing of those people in our blocks. Most of us spent last night arranging Skype connections so that those residents could talk to their families and make sure they were safe. So don’t think for a moment that I’m insensitive to it.

          All I’m saying is that if you want to do something for Bahrain, then get out there and actually do something. Don’t sit around here posturing and claiming that you care when all you have “done” is make one post on an internet blog denouncing the Bahrain government and calling for the Grand Prix to be cancelled. Because if that’s all you’re doing, then we might as well be sitting around discussing things that happened sixty years ago for all the good it will do.

          • Don’t sit around here posturing and claiming that you care when all you have “done” is make one post on an internet blog denouncing the Bahrain government and calling for the Grand Prix to be cancelled. Because if that’s all you’re doing, then we might as well be sitting around discussing things that happened sixty years ago for all the good it will do.

            Do you seeing me say anything about the government? Anything at all? Did I denounce anyone in Bahrain, at anytime? No. So why are you pointing that thing at at me? The thing that spouts this stuff.

            I can’t do anything for the people of Bahrain, the only post I’ve made on it carried the thoughts that I hope I get what they want and need. I don’t know what that is, a new government or what not.

            However you come out with all sorts of angles that I find hard to fathom. Tact isn’t your strong suit by more than a country mile.

            Perhaps you should be more balanced and considered with your comments so you pass your personal feelings and sensitivities through in the tone of your comments as well, if you do indeed care about the people there.

            As for suggesting I fly out to Bahrain to do some good…. that’s a fools errand. It’s their country, their revolt. their lives and their anger.

            Bahrain isn’t Egypt by a long shot, but the Egyptians didn’t take too kindly to Westerners wandering over and getting involved.. some got killed, some got arrested.. some got beaten and sexually abused sadly.

            The best I can do is be fair and balanced, with due sensitivity whenever touch the subject.

          • * I hope THEY get what they want and need

          • graham228221 said on 17th February 2011, 12:01

            YOU ARE DISCUSSING THINGS THAT HAPPENED SIXTY YEARS AGO!!!!!! gawd!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:08

            YOU ARE DISCUSSING THINGS THAT HAPPENED SIXTY YEARS AGO!!!!!! gawd!

            And you might as well be, for all the good a strongly-worded internet post will do you.

          • YOU ARE DISCUSSING THINGS THAT HAPPENED SIXTY YEARS AGO!!!!!! gawd!

            And you might as well be, for all the good a strongly-worded internet post will do you.

            Regardless of spelling or grammar, he makes a good point PM.

          • Could we consider why the race might get cancelled for a minute; rather than making accusation and couter accusation about individual morals or motivations?
            The GP2 practice was postponed because there wasn’t adequate medical cover available. It’s reasonable to asume that this was the ongoing issue that casued the event’s cancellation (similar to fog bound events where the medical helcopter cannot fly). F1 wouldn’t be cancelled for politcal reasons (this is Mr. E we’re talking about). Cancellation would be down to either a lack of adequate safety cover (medical or security) or an insurance issue. I can’t see underwriters being willing to sanction the attendance of a lot of valuable kit and staff (yes people have an “insured value”) at a destination that may be on Foreign Office black lists.

            Of course, if things settle down (which is still possible) the commercial pressures may overcome the risks, but the ultimate decision will be based on money. Cost of attendance over cost of cancellation. Simples.

          • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 17th February 2011, 14:18

            I think there’s more to it than that Mike, Bahrain’s reputation is at stake, it won’t want to do anything that jeapordises it while the world is watching

          • Since a strongly-worded internet post the most good the majority of us are in a position to do (among other things, some people aren’t even allowed into Bahrain right now due to the security crackdown and many of those who can wouldn’t be in a position to afford the necessary flights, hotels and paperwork), then said posts are hardly nothing. It helps the Bahrainians on both sides know that the world is watching them, offers solidarity, improves the nature of discourse on the topic and gets people thinking outside their own little bubbles. All of which are good and beneficial things.

            Clearly you have been in a position to do more than a blog entry and have taken that chance. This is a credit to you. It follows logically that the rest of us should also be allowed to do our best with regard to our particular circumstances. Even if a blog entry is less help than establishing lines of communication.

          • I am very much in agreement with Alianora.

            Great to hear you were able to help PM. Thanks for keeping up the discussion.

            I am currently following Al Jazeera live blog and what I am seeing there certainly warrents a feeling the test should be cancelled and the GP is in serious doubt for the near future.

            I am supportive of all people trying to help in all countries in a similar position right now as well.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 18th February 2011, 6:18

            Bahrain’s reputation is at stake

            Exactly.

          • Ronman said on 18th February 2011, 9:07

            PM, Usually you make sense, but with this string of posts on this delicate subject, you should have digressed.

            been reading all the comments this far and haven’t read other than a dimming minority that said good riddance to a boring race. most commentators are saying that the race should be canceled because F1, as they see it, should not support an oppressive regime..

            your desciption of workers being undepaid and the like is irrelevant.

            Shiites in Bahrain are 70% of the pop. Sunnis are less than 30% allowing for a minority of other populations. the Sunnis rule, and not only is the ruling family sunny but they have hijacked the government and all major public position with no right whatsoever for a member of the Shiite denomination to have the chance to be elected or appointed. that is a symptom of a disease in where the SUnnies treat the Shiites are a second class, just because they are Shiites. it’s the same in Egypt (was) where the Christian Kopts were alienated and ghetto-ed in their own neighborhoods and called the Garbage-men because the only thing they could do is collect and deal with garbage (since the ruling regime saw it fit for them)

            this brief explanation is part of the problem.

            Bahrain is kind of different to the UAE, where there is more demand than supply in workforce and thus the need for foreign expats. in Bahrain the gov and big companies directed by gov are selective and rather get a foreigner rather than train a Shiite local in some cases… go figure, and you expect it to stay like that forever?

            it’s much more complicated as well, but i think that is enough to give you an idea of what is really happening…

            So i think F1 should boycott Bahrain even if it does blow over…

      • Nigelstash (@nigelstash) said on 17th February 2011, 11:45

        I assume because there is a big difference between ‘last night’ and ‘last century’. Take a look at British history – plenty of reasons to boycott Silverstone if you think the sins of the past last forever.
        And casualties are NOT a foregone conclusion at a peaceful protest.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:50

          I didn’t say “peaceful protest”. I said “riot”. Do you know who started it? Do you know who fired the first shot? Can you say with absolute certainty that the Bahrain police went in hot and heavy intending to dig the protestors out, rather than the protestors turning violent at the first sign of police presence?

          • Police storm a peaceful protest in the middle of the night killing 3: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/201121714223324820.html

            Now stop talking ****.

          • Certainly hardly anyone here can be completely certain, who fired a shot.

            But the simple fact the government sets riot police and tanks at the protesters combined with several deads and hundreds of wounded in the morning points pretty clearly to who is in the wrong.

            I know you like to show the other side of the argument. And you are right about the best way of doing something would be to actually help.
            But seriously, cut down the tone of the argument for arguments sake, as most of us pretty much agree on that anyway.

      • The same family, Al Khalifa, has been ruling the Kingdom for the last 2 centuries with hardly any constitutional reform.

        You can say bad things about any country, but what these people are fighting for are for immediate effect and improve the citizens lives, not something that happened 50 years ago under a totally different government.

        If not having a F1 race will help get rid of the Al Khalifa family, then so be it.

      • Your username is extremely relevant to your comment.

      • Duchess said on 17th February 2011, 13:54

        Have y’all simply forgotten Kyalami ’86??? Half the grid didn’t race because they were protesting Apartheid!

      • Are you really serious? You think comparing the F1 race that is about to happen amongst violent repression of peaceful protesters is comparable to holding a race in a country that acted improperly 60 years ago!

      • Japan isn’t in that state now though. By that argument we shouldn’t race anywhere in Germany or go to Russia and as matt88 correctly says most countries shouldn’t be allowed to host a race on that basis.

      • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 17th February 2011, 19:32

        Sorry PM, but I think if you dug deep enough you’d find atrocities carried out by previous governments of many countries that host current F1 races – or are about to.

        For crying out loud, the USA has some states that are willing to sentence children to death. And Britain hardly has the best record when you go back far enough.

        I say let’s go to Bahrain – F1′s a rich business, hire some ex-special ops guys to beef up security at the circuit and set up a camp for all the F1 personnel inside the circuit perimeter so they can be given adequate protection (not that I think they’ll need it because the protesters are being peaceful). Let’s use F1 to help promote democracy in the region.

        OR…cancel the race for security reasons and as a by-product of this give Melbourne the season opener it deserves!!

    • SeattleChris said on 17th February 2011, 19:15

      I agree with everything you said except that (insert any one thing) and politics staying far away from each other.

      The truth is that everything is related and when injustice is inconvenient the more chance it has to being seen, heard and felt and thus rectified. There is nothing polite about revolution and athletes, deli-workers, strippers, professors, businessmen/women are people first and should therefore put political strife ahead of the tedium and gladiatorial events in life.

  5. I really liked the perspective Joe Saward gives to this in his blog, comparing it to the situation in 1848 Europe. This would seem to give hope for the people living there to make it stick, at least in time.

    • Maciek said on 17th February 2011, 11:01

      Well yeah, except that in a lot of places 1848 only resulted in more right wing authoritarian regimes. Plus Saward’s view that even if 1848 eventually resulted in change because ruling elites understood something and took it to heart is a little naive. Ruling European elites fell because capitalism shifted power/money to different social groups and then they really went down in flames in WWI taking millions of innocents with them. So anyhoo, here’s hoping it’s more like 1989 than 1848!

      • I like his view, showing this might prove to be the start of just such a move leading to more freedom in time (anywhere from 20 to 150 years, depending on what country we are talking about, you are right there).

        The same shifst of balances can be seen now, as in 1989 as well. But at that time it was far less violent as the regimes coming down were already on their back foot without the soviet support.

  6. Pink Pirelli said on 17th February 2011, 10:31

    This raises an interesting question. How dangerous does it have to get before Bernie is prepared to lose $$$ over it?

    • Maybe he should see this picture just tweeted by Will Buxton from the outskirts of Manama Bahrain to convince him: http://yfrog.com/h03nmtoj

    • Judging by his watch advert, pretty dangerous! Jokes aside i really don’t think a premier sporting event should be heald in a country, which is suffering from such unrest. The trouble is that aside from maybe nurburg, i can’t think of a non 2010 championship circuit which has the neccessary facilities in place. I recollect that dubai doesn’t have the right licences.

  7. Completely agree CamboGuido.

    All this crap that F1 ‘shouldn’t be political’ (read: go race regardless) is a fairytale. Going there is an extremely strong political statement, basically undermining the people who are dying there fighting for relatively basic human rights.

    Testing should be relocated and this race should be cancelled. A country in a situation like this shouldn’t even think of hosting an F1 race, let alone prioritize assuring investors and sponsors that it will be safe, just so that authoritarian monarch can indulge on his little backyard hobby.

    F1 has no place there, I’m not watching if the race goes as planned. Aside from saving myself from a boring afternoon, it’s the least I can do from my comfortable home.

    Sure, I can’t wait to see how the cars are actually matched, but I’ll wait until Melbourne to see them in action. Bahrain doesn’t deserve this when they deal in such a barbaric way with human beings. I really like F1, but even closely as much as I respect the lives of humans. Boycott this.

    • BS, well put. This is not about sport, this is real life, and I think that some are missing this totally.

    • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 10:39

      Good comment BS, and remember, F1 is only a sport-it can be rescheduled or cancelled, and it is not worth putting thousands of people in danger for the almighty dollar.

    • apeman (@apeman) said on 17th February 2011, 10:46

      Totally agree. I know F1 is a business and needs strong investment, but I think Bernie needs try to find that little part of him that isn’t driven by money (does it even exist?) and do the right thing. It would be awful for the image of F1 to run the GP whilst trying to ignore the situation. On top of that, there will be bugger-all spectators at the track!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 10:51

      Bahrain doesn’t deserve this when they deal in such a barbaric way with human beings.

      China is occupying Tibet and persecutes the Falun Gong movement.

      Japan had Unit 731, who committed some of the worst example of medical experiments on people the world has ever known.

      Germany had the Nazis, and we all know what they did.

      Australia is the only country to have successfully committed genocide, wiping out the Tasmanian Aboriginals.

      The United States has Guantanamo Bay and is engaged in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq that many believe are unjust.

      And yet, you haven’t protested against them. You’re not calling for boycotts of the Chinese, Japanese, German, Australian or United States Grands Prix.

      So let’s not kid ourselves. You’re not calling for a boycott of the race because of human rights violations. You’re calling for a boycott of the race because you don’t like the fact that Formula 1 goes there at all, and you’re dressing it up as being a political thing because you know that’s the only way it will stick. If you actually care about the situation in Bahrain, you can do better than lying to yourself about why you want to skip the race. Stop worrying about how you sleep at night and start worrying about how the people of Bahrain will.

      Massive loss of respect for you right there.

      • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 10:59

        Considering the US doesn’t even have a GP this year…..

      • jihelle (@jihelle) said on 17th February 2011, 11:03

        There was no Chinese GP in 1989 and present generations shouldn’t be held responsible for the wrongs of the forebearers. the killings in Bahrein are happening now and the races is in three weeks. It’s a totally different picture and going there will cause F1 a lot of harm with the general public (and it doesn’t need it).

        • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 11:07

          Exactly my friend

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:17

          the killings in Bahrein are happening now and the races is in three weeks.

          What do you understand of the protests in Bahrain and how those deaths came about? This was not a case of police lining the protestors up and shooting them down one by one. These were riots, with the police using rubber bullets and tear gas. While rubber bullets are safer than conventional ammunition, they can still kill if fired in the wrong place. Given the anarchy associated with a riot – it wouldn’t be called a riot if it were peaceful – it’s highly likely the protestors were killed by stray rubber bullets and not deliberate execution-style slayings.

          • PM,

            Can you not see it? These people are trying to overthrough a tyranical regime, and yes there are lots of them around the world mate. And I am sorry, but what we are seeing is a revolution, like the one in Egypt, Tunisia and I believe that there will be lots more to come. Revolutions do happen by waving flags and serving tea. This is the people of a nation saying ‘Enough is Enough, I am a human being, my life has value. Please do not compare this to anything else, because every situation of this nature is completely different.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:42

            These people are trying to overthrough a tyranical regime

            When it comes to human rights, Bahrain is considered one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East. People might not have the same rights and freedoms as those of us living in America and England and Australia, but they’re a damn sight better than, say, Algeria, which has been in a state of emergency for the past twenty or so years.

          • PM, i think the tanks out there were probably not shooting any rubber bullets this night.

            Bahrain might have been pretty good in human rights by comparison for the past years. But they have now stepped a certain line, where it is hard to back out without any serious changes.

          • Gaston said on 17th February 2011, 12:46

            “When it comes to human rights, Bahrain is considered one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East.”

            Really? According to whom? Because I am checking Freedom House’s ‘Freedom in the World’ ranking, and Bahrain’s scores, 6 in political rights and 5 in civil liberties, seem to be pretty much in line with other regimes in the Middle East: Egypt 6 and 5, Qatar 6 and 5, United Arab Emirates 6 and 5, and Algeria, even with the state of emergency, 6 and 5.

          • jihelle (@jihelle) said on 17th February 2011, 13:31

            @PM. Because of my line of business I know a LOT about the Bahrein riots. Much more than what you would think and they’ve keeping me awake all night. And that’s why I consider F1 has no business going there..

          • McLarenFanJamm said on 17th February 2011, 14:04

            What do you understand of the protests in Bahrain and how those deaths came about? This was not a case of police lining the protestors up and shooting them down one by one. These were riots, with the police using rubber bullets and tear gas.

            actually, the authorities attacked the protesters camp at 3am local time whilst the protesters were all sleeping. And it has been reported that they authorities were using live ammunition.

            So next time, before you get on your high horse, make sure your well enough informed to pull off the statement you’re making.

          • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 17th February 2011, 14:16

            When it comes to human rights, Bahrain is considered one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East

            That’s like saying, “when it comes to dictators, Hitler was one of the least tyrannical there has been”

            (Poe’s Law… d’oh!)

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th February 2011, 14:34

            These were riots, with the police using rubber bullets and tear gas.

            Aren’t they supposed to be peaceful protests? I don’t think (correct me if I’m wrong) there was any trouble at all until the armed forces showed up. To me it seems that the police are more concerned by the fact it’s an inconvenience to the day-to-day lives of the Bahrainis than what they are actually campaigning for, so for them it’s simpler to scare them off with weapons. So yes, I do think it is a case of police targeting citizens.

          • According to @NickKristof (of the New York Times) it has been pretty violent and not accidentally so…

            ” In morgue, I spoke to brother of 22 year old killed by police shotgun blast. He says King Hamad must step down”

            “Witnesses say #Bahrain police cursed Shia as they attacked peaceful demonstrators.”

            “Nurse told me she saw handcuffed prisoner beaten by police, then executed with gun”.

            That’s just a selection and only from one guy. I don’t think anyone except those in Bahrain really know what’s going on.

            Also, I hope LAK who is in Bahrain is ok (and any other fanatic of course!).

          • PM, you are trying very hard to give the police the benefit of a doubt. The protesters were not rioting, they were sleeping. It was the deliberate, brutal and cowardly police ambush that created the deaths and massive injuries.

            According to Al-Jazeera and many witnesses, the police came storming into the Pearl roundabout in the middle of the night, around 3am, while the protesters were camping out, many with their families, most of them sleeping. About 1000 police started attacking using canisters of tear gas and rubber-coated bullets and beating people with clubs to get them out of the site. The presence of armoured vehicles attests to this being a thought-out and coordinated action.

            The Al-Jazeera website has an English version showing a lot live.

      • Maciek said on 17th February 2011, 11:12

        PM – all your historical examples go out the window because, well we’re talking about the present aren’t we. I’m pretty sure it’s not standard procedure to boycott countries based on what granpa did during the war. Second, you assume that BS is dressing up a dislike for the race in political colours without any proof at all. And as far as China is concerned, people have been talking about the ethics of having a race there ever since it started – well I have anyways. As for the US well, the difference I guess is that the race has nothing to do with the government responsible for Afghanistan and Guantanamo – and people in Washington probably don’t even know there’s going to be a race in Texas – not exactly the same thing as boycotting a race where it might actually send some potential message.

      • Luckily countries grow up and become what we commonly refer to as a civilization, often due to revolts exactly such as this one. I do take it to heart if people literally next to a track are dying coming up for their beliefs.

        All countries have done bad stuff across all of time. If your view is ‘bad stuff happens anyway so I’m not going to take a moral stance’ then fine, watch the race in indifference.

        I even stated I can’t wait to see the cars being tested against each other, but I’ll wait considering the awful stuff that’s going on. How you came to the conclusion my motivation is to have some race banned is really beyond me. Suggesting my incentives are anything other than the dignity and lives of human being is really, really offensive.

        Get real man. People are fking dying.

        • Ignore him, it’s the most naive comment I’ve ever read. And that’s including mine.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:22

          Suggesting my incentives are anything other than the dignity and lives of human being is really, really offensive.

          It’s how you present yourself. Reading your comments – and dozens of others like them from others who seem to think there is some connection between Formula 1 and human rights – you all come across as “We don’t like the Bahrain Grand Prix. We want it gone, and now someone is giving us an excuse to not have it”.

          Ignore him, it’s the most naive comment I’ve ever read. And that’s including mine.

          Naive?

          I’m sorry, but I don’t see the connection between human rights and Formula 1. They’re not exactly apples and oranges. More like apples and felt-tip pens.

          • Do you not have a problem with people being killed yet the race still being run?

          • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 11:36

            Ok, put it this way – would happily send your own family and friends to Bahrain right now for 1 million dollars? Because that is what all the drivers, team engineers etc. Have to think about. Is the money gained from the event really worth the risk of human’s lives being put at stake?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:45

            Is the money gained from the event really worth the risk of human’s lives being put at stake?

            Is the money lost going to help the people already living there? What would you say if the Bahrain government agreed to the demands of the protestors three days before the race was to be run, but the race was cancelled because of the uprisings and the money that would have been injected into the economy instead never showed, which in turn slowed down the rebuilding process and triggered a new wave of violence?

          • The King offered money (~$2500) so people wouldn’t protest, completely missing the point of course. Money isn’t an issue, just one of the many things corrupting factors of the country and the people who run it.

            The Bahrain GP is hardly an economic stimulus, not comparable to the King and his superficial ways of dealing with important issues.

            Source (Al Jazeera)

          • If the absence of formula 1 will help overthrow the family then so be it!! How do you not see that connection??! Formula 1 is big business, it will make world news.

          • Gaston said on 17th February 2011, 12:47

            Would you have agreed to the South African Grand Prix being held in apartheid South Africa?

          • Would you have agreed to the South African Grand Prix being held in apartheid South Africa?

            No

          • Gaston said on 17th February 2011, 13:23

            Heh, I know Karan, that was addressed mainly at PM ;)

      • Actually you have forgot to add the Turkish for the Armenian genocide and the oppresion of Kurds. Italy comes into the genocide as well, Spain has its troubles with the civil war mass murders. Should I go on?

        Following this logic we should ask the US and Russia to just push the button and get rid of us for good.

        So back to reality. Bahrain is in uproar, not a good time to stage a great grand prix there.
        As for testing, why on earth would the teams ship equipment out there just to have it in danger of sitting there unused for a week they could spend testing somewhere else.

      • Russell said on 17th February 2011, 11:40

        Using your logic we should boycott Monza because of the Roman empire’s love of gladiatorial combat for primarily “entertainment” from about 310BC.

        Or maybe you believe we should boycott Silverstone because 25,000 residents of Dresden were killed in February 1945 as a result of sorties flow from there (among other airfields, some of which also became host to motor sport events).

        Our generation can’t re-write history, but it can influence the present. To ignore the protests now would be to ignore a chance for a real, popular reform in the Middle East (which, BTW, is what I thought Blair and Bush took us to war in Iraq for….).

        Bernie needs to see sense (and not dollars) and pull the plug on Bahrain. Let Melbourne be the opener and let’s see where things are at the end of the season.

    • Gaston said on 17th February 2011, 12:12

      Very well said BS, I agree completely. I find it troubling that the “sports and politics don’t mix” argument has been abused to provide a convenient way for Formula 1 to wash their hands.

      Take, for example, the South African Grand Prix. I find it outrageous that Formula 1 held a race there until 1985, thus giving a tacit endorcement to the criminal apartheid regime, even years after South Africa had been banned from organizations such as the IOC and FIFA.

      That was misguided policy. And if the situation in Bahrain continues, holding the race there would be as well.

  8. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 10:53

    There’s still twenty-four days until the race is due to be run. A lot can happen in twenty-four days. Twenty-four days ago, there was no sign that Tunisia or Egypt were a pair of powder kegs waiting for a spark to set them off. So I see no reason why the situation could be resolved in time for the race.

    • PM,

      Go to dangerous places around the world, live amongst the populous, and you would have a completely different take on situations like this. The facts are that they are far too fluid to predict and the end game can take months and months to completely resolve. This is about:

      1. having a little respect for fellow human beings.

      2. looking at other alternatives to Bahrain, that’s all – because I will be shocked if this situation resolves itself before the start of the season.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 11:47

        No, this is about actually doing something for the people of Bahrain. And from where I’m sitting, writing out rhetoric-fuelled posts on an internet forum demanding a race be cancelled is about as effective as pouring a glass of water into the ocean and claiming the water level rose because of it.

        • Then what do you suggest? A protest in front of the state library? My mate was helping to organise it.

        • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 11:58

          Well what should people be doing then, huh?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:07

            What they can. Nothing I can do or say in the here and now can help the fifty million people trapped by the violence. I know that. I accept that. But I can help the fifty Islamic students living in my college right now, who are really quite distressed at news from their homeland. My friends and I spent most of last night trying to establish Skype connections on college computers so that those students could contact their families.

            Action, not words is what is required.

          • We should all be aware of what our government is doing and be prepared to protest if the government turns against the people.

          • What they can. Nothing I can do or say in the here and now can help the fifty million people trapped by the violence. I know that. I accept that. But I can help the fifty Islamic students living in my college right now, who are really quite distressed at news from their homeland. My friends and I spent most of last night trying to establish Skype connections on college computers so that those students could contact their families.

            Action, not words is what is required.

            We appreciate you helping your fellows, and we know when it comes to F1, everyone on this site is a huge fan. That’s why we are all here. We are all friends here because of F1 and the fast cars. Lots of people hold different views and we should respect that.

        • PM,

          Sorry mate, you have managed to lose so much respect in the last couple of days. People know you on this website as a very knowledgable, well informed and fair fan of F1. But when you leave the confort and safety of your armchair, you turn from Fanatic to Fascist :>)

          I am writing from a guest house in Islamabad, you really have to see what it is like when things break in society, it is something that happens and there is no controlling it, especially when the people become one.

          Go make yourself a cup of coffee and have a chill pill mate.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:22

            But when you leave the confort and safety of your armchair, you turn from Fanatic to Fascist :>)

            Why? Because I believe actions speak louder than words and that writing a strongly-worded post on an internet blog doesn’t do any good?

          • Why? Because I believe actions speak louder than words and that writing a strongly-worded post on an internet blog doesn’t do any good?

            How do you know we aren’t doing our bit? Some people literally can not do much, but keep an eye on their government and be sure to vote, and protest when the government does not listen to the people.

    • troutcor said on 17th February 2011, 12:15

      PM,
      1) You point about why the U.S. GP will not be the subject of protests is well-taken.
      2) You are dead wrong on how no one could see the Egypt revolt coming. See John Bradley, The land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of Revolution (2008)- and scores of others. You didn’t see it coming only if you believe the self-serving P.R. printed in the Times of London or New York.
      3) Your idea that a riot caused the deaths in Bahrain is your most pernicious lie. The protesters were sleeping at 3 a.m. when they were attacked. By your logic, the Blitz happened because Churchill refused overflight rights to the Germans.

      • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 17th February 2011, 14:35

        And Maciek’s retort- that the US government has got absolutely nothing to do with that GP- was even better.

      • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 17th February 2011, 14:48

        My friends and I spent most of last night trying to establish Skype connections on college computers so that those students could contact their families.

        Unfortunately, not every F1 Fanatic member is in that position. I’m sure most of us would do the same in that situation actually. But we can’t – and so we won’t. I’m just saying, Prisoner Monkeys, there isn’t anything we can do other than discuss it over the internet. Most of the comments are suggestions and people concurring with these suggestions – not internationally relevant material by any means. No-one that can do anything significant about the problem will be reading the comments section of an F1 blog for solutions, so why can’t we have a conversation without it being strongly condemned. Perhaps we’re all not as good at changing the world as you, you know, through action, not words.

    • There isn’t 24 days before a decision concerning the race has to be made. There are travel issues involved, such that a decision would have to be made on either a week next Monday or the Monday prior to the race (depending on whether Abu Dhabi’s offer to stage the final test is accepted/Bahrain becomes safe enough for the last test to happen – delete as appropriate). That’s either 11 days or 18. It’s pretty difficult to win or lose a revolution in 18 days flat. Even the Egyptians relied on the incumbent powers being obtuse rather than violent.

      In the case of the media the deadline’s even tighter – they need a decision by February 25 because of the particular complications of journalists’ visas. That makes it 8 days to get a decision on whether the race will run.

      There have been signs that Egypt in particular was a powder keg for years; it’s simply that Tunisia provided the trigger for the Egyptians to finally pull off the revolution.

  9. This reminds us that F1 expansion in the recent years actually means that many races now take place in undemocratic countries where the local citizens have to face restrictions on freedoms, human rights violations, abuse of authority and social injustice. I guess that Bernie doesn’t give an f-duct about it and I’m not saying that the situation would improve if F1 fraternity avoided these countries. However, you can’t blame the citizens of Bahrain for disagreeing with Bernie. Every nation that lives in tyranny is once going to stand up against its authoritarian leaders. It is a question of when, not a question of if. And this time F1 cannot hide in the paddock and pretend that everything’s fine. Welcome to the real world. I am not happy for the chance of F1 season opener being delayed by 2 weeks but if that happens, I think it is just what the F1 folks, myself included, deserve.

  10. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:03

    Okay, in sixty-plus posts, I haven’t seen a single person give a straight and clear answer to the biggest question that has been asked but gone unanswered. So I’m going to spell this one out, and I’m hoping someone will actually be able to give some sembalance of an answer to it:

    How does cancelling the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix benefit the people of Bahrain?

    Anyone?

    • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 12:08

      You know it probably doesn’t, but a protest could be started at the race to gain extremely large publicity, and it benefits all of the F1 personnel, who won’t have to say goodbye to their families knowing that there is a greater than usual risk of them not coming back.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:10

        it benefits all of the F1 personnel

        That’s not what I was asking. What I want to know is how cancelling the race helps the people who live in Bahrain.

        • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 12:13

          Well it most likely doesn’t,but these poor people are not the only people who are in danger if F1 did go to Bahrain next month

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:17

            How do you know they’ll even be in danger next month?

            If the race is to be cancelled, it should be left until the last possible moment. And FOM and the FIA should make it plain that the cancellation was because of concerns for the safety of drivers and teams, and not because of some political agenda.

          • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 12:20

            Its like drink driving – better safe than sorry

        • Bernie’s comments aside, this is about a security situation, which is very fluid and very unpredictable. This about the safety of F1 personnel, sp staff and spectators. This is also about, showing some compassion to oppressed people, perhaps empathising a little.

          So to answer your question, cancelling the F1 in Bahrain will mitigate the risks to visitors to this country.

        • troutcor said on 17th February 2011, 12:24

          1) By robbing their crooked leader of international legitimacy and p.r. (Obviously the main reason for holding an F1 race to begin with). Why do you think China liked holding the Olympics? P.R. = Legitimacy. Legitimacy = Power.
          2) By denying the country’s crooked leaders profits from the race (of course that can hurt regular people, too, but as much as the country’s feudal owners? Unlikely).
          When people revolt against dictators, the goal is to bring them down. It is not to sell more sodas that week at your store, or sell a few T-shirts out at the track for one day. Anything that weakens a feudal dictator, I would argue, is in the true interest of the people. That is why canceling the race is in the interest of the people of Bahrain. Question answered?

        • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 17th February 2011, 18:44

          I don’t believe it does, however what it will do is avoid putting other people in unnecessary risk. If the race is to be cancelled the decision will need to be made soon as the teams will need to prep and send the gear, so Bernie and the FIA can only make a decision based on what they see.

          So, to answer your question, it doesn’t but it prevents more from beng in the same situation

    • Formula 1 is big news and big business. If the race is cancelled it will make headlines everywhere, putting more pressure on the family to step down.

      If the absence of the Bahrain race will help overthrow the regime, then so be it.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:15

        If the race is cancelled it will make headlines everywhere, putting more pressure on the family to step down.

        When was the last time you opened a major newspaper – like, say The New York Times or the The Guardian – and saw that the headline article was about Formula 1?

        • What I said was:

          > If the race is cancelled it will make headlines everywhere

          When was the last time a Formula 1 race was cancelled?

          • Still no reply…hmm

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:36

            When was the last time a Formula 1 race was cancelled?

            Do you honestly think that if the race is cancelled because of the violence, every major newspaper is going to run a headline reading:

            FORMULA 1 RACE CANCELLED
            (By the way, there was more violence in Bahrain)

            If the race is cancelled, it will be newsworthy, yes. But the world does not revolve around Formula 1, and I find it very unlikely that it would be so newsworthy that it would get a front-page spread, much less inspire people to do something about Bahrain.

          • If the race is cancelled, it will be newsworthy, yes. But the world does not revolve around Formula 1, and I find it very unlikely that it would be so newsworthy that it would get a front-page spread, much less inspire people to do something about Bahrain.

            Of course the cancellation of the race will show how bad things actually are over there.

            To show that people are dying because their government will not listen to them will show people around the world to be ready to protest when the government stops listening to you.

        • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 12:18

          Yes but what about Indy 2005, that was pretty big news right?

          • Yes. I think PM is testing us to see if we are as intelligent as him.

          • trulli dead09 said on 17th February 2011, 12:24

            Pfft i do maths c, im intelligent enough to know how the world works

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:33

            I think PM is testing us to see if we are as intelligent as him.

            No, I’m testing you to see where your actual motivations lie.

          • No, I’m testing you to see where your actual motivations lie.

            My motivations lie in saying that the cancellation of the F1 race will help overthrow the government, and you think it won’t.

        • Guys. There is little point trying to have an ADR debate with blowhards like Prisoner Monkeys.

          He’s very much like the loudmouth a school who always has to shout the loudest.

          Clearly this forum is his only outlet in life.

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 17th February 2011, 22:45

          Actually, I heard it mentioned in the bylines about the situation in Bahrain tonight, and certainly in the news part of my newspaper as well (not sport, probably only if it is cancelled); I suspect news tomorrow might have a blurb about GP2 cancellation, and leading to F1 GP maybe being cancelled too.

    • Well, having the Bahrain grand prix there is supporting the government. Happy?

      Now before you spout rubbish about it helps the economy and that helps the people, A) Bahrain does not make money from the GP and B) These people live in a very different world, One where BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS mean nothing to the people in power, It is our duty as HUMAN BEINGS to help them.

      Or, you can say “stuff you, stuff the lot of you” and go live your happy safe life with no thought that others may not be as fortunate as you.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:29

        These people live in a very different world, One where BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS mean nothing to the people in power

        Then why is Bahrain considered to be one of the most progressive nations in the Middle East when it comes to human rights? I admit they’re not perfect, but they’re better than, say, what you might find in Myanmar.

        It is our duty as HUMAN BEINGS to help them.

        Does writing strongly-worded internet blog posts count as doing your duty? Because if that’s the case, you’re doing a really good job of it.

        • You can’t say “this person can’t complain because there are kids in Africa that are starving to death.”

          According to that logic, only one person on the planet can protest at a time right?

        • Kenny (@kenny) said on 17th February 2011, 13:13

          Myanmar is not in the Middle East.

          Does writing strongly-worded internet blog posts count as doing your duty? Because if that’s the case, you’re doing a really good job of it.

          The hypocrisy of that statement is mind boggling.

          At any rate, I’m off this site for awhile. Hopefully the conversation will be back on topics relevant to motor racing when I return. And, mind the sitter while I’m gone…

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th February 2011, 13:22

            Hopefully the conversation will be back on topics relevant to motor racing when I return.

            The potential cancellation of the first race of the F1 season is not sufficiently relevant for you?

    • Gaston said on 17th February 2011, 12:19

      Ian Pannell, BBC News, Manama

      “I am at the Salmaniya hospital. We have just confirmed with the hospital authorities that more than 300 people were admitted and treated for injuries. Details of some of the injuries are pretty horrific – one man appears to have been shot at very close range in the back of the head.

      A number of people are reporting that not just tear gas and rubber bullets but also that live rounds were used at some point. We have just spoken to a doctor – he was at the protest site last night as a volunteer to help people with basic medical needs. He was attacked and is in intensive care with severe injuries. He gave us graphic details of how he was beaten and cursed and how he feared for his life.”

      You must be pretty naĂŻve to think that cancelling the Grand Prix would not be a statement in itself.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th February 2011, 12:32

        Yes, cancelling the Grand Prix would be a statement. To the rest of the world – that Formula 1 does not endorse the actions of the Bahrain government. But to the actual people and the government of the country? They probably won’t even notice. Cancelling the Grand Prix is an exercise in self-preservation and moral surperiority. It may well be the right thing to do, but let’s not be under any illusions as to why we’re doing it. Or do you honestly think that cancelling the Grand Prix will make Manama sit up straight, re-assess themselves and start listening to the protestors?

        • Its NOT safe. Its really simple. It is not safe enough. This will not be like an aparteid protest by F1, this was not yesterday, this is today and the situation has escalated significantly. Very fluid, very uncertain, and very unsafe.

          • xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 17th February 2011, 18:39

            I’m very new to F1, and to this site, so maybe I am missing something or am out of line, but it seemed to me that the Brazil GP last year was not very safe. If I recall several people from FI were robbed at gun point, and even Jenson Button’s car was approached by an armed gunman, but no one called for that race to be cancelled.

            Yes the situation seems more dire in Bahrain, but as far as safety is concerned, they seem pretty similar.

        • In this case what is wrong with self-preservation and moral superiority? Its the LEAST that F1 or any other organization that has international members could do. Of course all of us could do MORE but we don’t all have the same resources or clout.

    • Duchess said on 17th February 2011, 14:03

      well idk about you, but I just want all of the drivers on the grid as well as their personnel to be *safe*. We already lost Robert this season, I don’t want, say, Jenson getting attacked with rubber bullets or a car with Williams engineers to get blown up by a tank.

    • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 17th February 2011, 14:37

      I’m no expert, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that it would help remove some of the government’s legitimacy. The GP is a big deal to Bahrain, and cancelling it would be an ever bigger deal to the opposition

      • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 17th February 2011, 16:32

        As I said somewhere else, you could just as easily argue the opposite. The protesters have highlighted that they will target the GP for protests – by cancelling it, that removes one outlet to the rest of the world that they were banking on.

        Cancelling the GP could be seen as denying protesters a chance for their views to really be expressed on the world stage, and thus an endorsement of the government.

        As I say, I don’t really believe that this is the case. The decision will be taken entirely on safety and not on politics. But it’s not as cut-and-dried as you suggest.

    • Accidental Mick said on 17th February 2011, 15:52

      @PM
      If you haven’t seen the answer to “how does cancelling the GP help the people of Behrain” you haven’t been reading very carefully.

      It shows we care. I know you spent the night giving practical help (you posted it twice) but most of us cannot do that. All we can do is to give up something we have been waiting months for – the start of the season. It is not practical help but it is a symbol.

      • @PM
        If you haven’t seen the answer to “how does cancelling the GP help the people of Bahrain” you haven’t been reading very carefully.

        Thank you. My thoughts exactly.
        There are also a lot of unanswered questions directed at PM that have been selectively ignored.

        I, for one, take exception to the “I’m the only one who truly understands” tone in all of PM’s lectures. But that’s nothing new, and I suppose being a Resident Fellow (with some Middle Eastern residents) would ensure he is well positioned to provide expert commentary and analysis on the subject.

        My opinion, and that’s all it is: The test or race shouldn’t proceed if there are any questions about the safety of the F1 circus and all who sail on her.

        I also believe that the cancellation of the race will bring further attention to the plight of the Bahraini protestors. The amount or nature of attention isn’t important, just that it’s MORE. It puts more pressure on Global leaders to comment, which places more pressure on the Bahraini Govt/Royal family to take steps to appease the protestors. Why? To save face, to ensure a continuation of international relationships, and the longevity of their reign.

        That is my opinion/belief/understanding based on what little information I have on the subject.

        Do I want the test or race cancelled? No way. I’ve been waiting MONTHS for the season to start – we all have. But given the circumstances, I would understand any cancellation.

        On the subject of a hastily organised alternative race. I feel the likelihood of this happening is extremely slim. I think we’ll just have one less race for this year, and a longer wait for the season to kick off.

    • Hewis Lamilton said on 17th February 2011, 16:55

      I believe the message of cancelling the race would be aimed at the Government, to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to act in a civil and humane manner. People aren’t saying stop the protesting or we won’t race. The people of Bahrain that are protesting could care less about F1. The government, that is another story altogether.
      So to answer your question, canceling the race in Bahrain is sending a CLEAR MESSAGE to the Government. The message shouldn’t be “we are cancelling the race.” The message should be to the Government of Bahrain: “We will cancel the race if this is not resolved in X amount of days. Your actions are not acceptable.”

      You need to get off of you high horse and stop trying to think you are so high and mighty PM.

    • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 17th February 2011, 18:27

      Up to this point, I hadn’t seen you ask the question (having instead seen several other questions asked by yourself), so it’s not surprising nobody answered it. Here’s my attempt at answering:

      By the F1 people not going to Bahrain, it highlights the difficulties Bahraini people face – if it’s not even safe enough for a known low-morality sport like F1 to turn up, people will understand the magnitude of the violence and put pressure on the Bahraini government to cease the violence and solve the issue through diplomacy and other peaceful means instead. Blog entries, yes, but also international condemnation and other powerful voices will become more pronounced. Bahrain wants the approval of the Western world and such condemnation, backed by the act of withdrawal of the economic benefits of the Grand Prix, should drive the point home that the Western world shuns violence once cognizant of it.

      The withdrawal of the Grand Prix would give the Bahraini people something else to add to their arguments that the current route of violence is wrong. This should cause peer pressure to reduce the “debating temperature” by a reasonable number of degrees, so that a solution that makes sense to the Bahraini people becomes possible and expressible.

      It means fewer people from the Western world getting caught up in the crossfire, thus reducing the amount of bad press the innocent and relatively innocent contingent of the population receive. With only locals, ex-pats who’d be present anyway and dedicated political correspondents in the country, the focus will be on wrongdoers, not people randomly getting caught in crossfire because they didn’t listen to travel advice – or because they were seen as “easy press” by the small percentage of malicious rabble-rousers that any group of sufficient size with violent thoughts acquires.

      Also, the Bahrain Grand Prix is one of the few blue-riband international events it hosts. Cancellation would reduce Bahrain’s ability to attract other blue-riband international events would reduce, meaning other events would not take the focus away from the current political events. Having the world’s eye focused on an event can have a major effect – it’s not just quanta that are affected by observation.

      In short, the cancellation of the Grand Prix would increase the amount of pressure that could be brought to bear upon the wrongdoers in this scenario, encourage flexibility in the minds of the powers-that-be and demonstrate powerfully that violent behaviour will have negative consequences for everyone. So cancellation would cause the Bahraini citizenry a lot of good in an indirect fashion.

      Anything can move with a big enough lever and what those governments that rely on F1 to make them look good perhaps don’t realise is that F1 can be a large lever under certain circumstances.

    • Digitalis said on 17th February 2011, 18:39

      The answer to your question is fairly simple: Cancellation will not benefit the people of Bahrain. But if this is your “biggest question” then you have a skewed sense of what is important and what is not.

      Cancelling the GP is so irrelevant to the people of Bahrain as to be utterly not worthy of comment. There are times when sport can unite / elevate / redeem … and this ain’t one of them.

      Cancelling the GP is a slight annoyance to the ruling family of Bahrain. It is a trivial embarrassment at best, a visible and slightly humiliating put-down at worst. But it is nothing compared with a square full of people protesting, so if Bernie decides to cancel, some money will exchange hands (not sure of the direction) and that will be that.

      Cancelling the GP is not trivial to the many people who will travel to Bahrain in the next few weeks to support the race. To potentially put them in harm’s way would be irresponsible. The problem is, the decision to cancel must be made sooner rather than later. The logistics of moving F1 teams are pretty intense, and while some stuff may already be in Bahrain, the irreplaceable stuff (PEOPLE!) are largely not.

      Of course, it is impossible to tell how this will play out. But I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume that there will be elevated safety risks to the teams, participants and fans regardless of the outcome of the protests.

      So, I have spelled it out in cold, simple terms without really addressing the validity of the protests or the appropriateness of the government responses to date. Satisfied?

    • skodarap (@skodarap) said on 18th February 2011, 1:01

      Wow, I got to say I’m amazed. PM was on the spot in pretty much all of his posts. But so many “armchair revolutionaries” in one place…never thought I’d see that. But I guess it’s the new age trend or something – join a facebook group, a blog post here, forum post there and think that you did something to show you care.

      Won’t comment about postponing/canceling the race, nor about should dictatorship be overthrown or not since that’s not always a good thing, not for all people anyway (Moldavia is a proof of that, but I guess most of you never heard of that country anyway).

  11. explosiveface (@explosiveface) said on 17th February 2011, 12:04

    I really wouldn’t mind if Bahrain was cancelled. Of course the situation over there is terrible, but instead of watching the 2011 season start at midnight and falling asleep from the race, I’ll be in Melbourne for my first grand prix!

  12. Totally agree with PM, although examples mentioned hold no water. F1 has no political influence and should not have one either. So if it appears to be dangerous for the staff and fans, the event should be cancelled and other soluition has to be found, despite how sorry we all feel with those who have to fight for their civil rights in Bahrein.

    • F1 does have political influence, even if it desperately tries to convince people otherwise. Just repeating some empty statement does not make it true.

      Holding a race organized by the crown prince himself legitimizes a regime that violently beats down and kills protester demanding basic human rights.

      GP2 was cancelled because the medic staff had real things to do within their country. F1 has absolutely no place there at this time. Going there would not only be an affront to F1 itself, but more than anything undermine the people fighting for basic human rights.

      F1 going there is just as much a political statement as F1 deciding not to. Except one is offensive, the other the right thing to do.

    • You are wrong. F1 does have political influence because it is symbolic of the rest of the international community. Drivers, constructors, fans. If the international community comes to race, it gives tacit approval to the kingdom. If the race is canceled, it means that the rest of the world does not approve.

    • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 17th February 2011, 12:46

      Of course F1 has political influence! Why on earth are various countries with little previous international motorsport involvement having money poured into building circuits by their governments – not by individuals with an enthusiasm for racing – if it isn’t to gain global exposure to attract investment from other countries and corporations or to try and improve their profile at home?

      Unfortunately the Bahraini government are finding that for some reason hosting an F1 race isn’t making the population forget about the problems they are facing.

      Cancelling the GP will do little except to focus attention on what the rulers of Bahrain are doing and there are many companies and countries that won’t want to attract negative press by being seen to be investing in a country that does not uphold the same human rights that other countries purport to. Saying “oh well Algeria is worse” is a facile argument: would you have accepted Hitler justifying himself by saying “Yes I kill people but only ones I don’t like – Stalin just decides to randomly execute his allies”.

      The race going ahead will tell the world that F1 doesn’t care if people are being shot by the police a few miles away, as long as the sponsors get their day out.

      • Dobin,

        I agree with every word. But this is very simple, it should first and foremost come down to security and safety, and Bahrain just ain’t safe and there is nothing to suggest that the situation will improve. Safety and Security is not really that subjective at this level, but looking at this from a political perspective, it becomes very subjective, which I don’t mind and I am rather enjoying actually. Regards.

  13. sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 17th February 2011, 12:10

    One thing people seem to have forgot in all of this is the fact that most, if not all teams, have already shipped out equipment to Bahrain (I remember Virginf1 tweeting this a month or so ago) Another thing is that testing is (obviously) a very important part of the season, and Formula 1 cannot sit and wait for the protests to stop, so I reckon we will see the testing moved to Abu Dhabi or Portimao.

    Doing so will buy another week for everything to subside, or for Bernie to decide whether the race will go ahead, be postponed, or be replaced

  14. 1. A better question: How exactly does having an F1 race help the citizens of Bahrain? You know that the majority of the money goes to those in power and they will not give it to the people. Unrest will continue.

    2. Canceling the race now can put some pressure on the government (or kingdom) that the rest of the world doesn’t want to come play in your troubled sandbox. Fix the problems, address the concerns of your citiznes, and we’ll consider coming back sometime.

    • 1. Since when is Bernie the president of UN? Why should a whole nation benefit of the F1 race?

      2. F1 is a commercial sport, not a department of UN. Or do you think F1 should be involved to realize worldpeace?

      I think you’re missing the point of the existence of F1.

      • Is the point of the existence of F1 to make Bernie and the kingdoms some money? If you think that then you are quite jaded and callous.

        F1 is an international symbol of friendly competition, cooperation, teamwork and advancement of automotive technology. It is bigger than Bernie and more that a simple commercial enterprise.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 17th February 2011, 22:58

        I suspect several of the sponsors might actually care. I guess, for example, Shell would like to not be blamed for this too, as would all the oil companies who already could get some flak, while they need to work with the middle east countries. This might be a cheap way for them to appease a possible new government or hide behind safety issues if that doesn’t happen.

        Perhaps phone companies aren’t yet strong in the Middle East, but I can’t help but think that, for example, Vodafone would like to say to the, predominantly, young people who buy their most stuff and use their service, that the McLaren launch wasn’t the only “by the people, for the people” sort of event they are interested in.

        Maybe these companies aren’t bothered about it all, or my examples are flawed, but potentially for a lot of sponsors their image is the thing they are building with F1, and they definitely have something to loose there for their buyers.

        But ultimately, I think that F1 can’t afford it’s people being injured due to this, and not having medical staff because they are busy working on victims of unrest seems like a rather valid reason to not have the race.

  15. troutcor said on 17th February 2011, 12:36

    Maybe they could throw together a track in Cairo real quick?

    • alexf1man said on 17th February 2011, 15:11

      lol yeah but it wouldn’t be up to Grade 1 (F1) standard :s

      Also I feel sorry for anyone in Bahrain or planning to go to the (scheduled) races.

      Finally, I hope the F1 isn’t cancelled!

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