The full horror of what has gone in in Bahrain in recent days has now emerged.
Reports have emerged detailing protesters being killed with live rounds and surgeons beaten for trying to treat the injured.
Foreign journalists have been barred from entering the country and some of those who bore witness to the government’s clamp-down were beaten as well.
This weekend’s GP2 Asia race meeting was cancelled. Ambulances that should have been on stand-by at the track were instead among those driving the government’s victim to hospitals by the hundreds.
It is easy to make arguments about ‘moral hypocrisy’, and point to questionable actions taken by other governments in countries that F1 visits.
But showing up in Bahrain and accepting their money to race days after the world has watched it murder its citizens would be unconscionable.
The difficulty in guaranteeing the safety and security of the teams’ employees and everyone else who travels with the F1 circus is a further concern.
With testing due to begin at the circuit on March 3rd the first staff will be scheduled to arrive in Bahrain next week.
The desire to ensure the smooth running of the race would likely provoke another wave of repression from the security forces.
Those with longer memories recall how Formula 1 continued racing in South Africa in the seventies and eighties long after most other sports, repulsed by the brutal and racist apartheid regime, boycotted the country.
This attracted little attention 30 years ago when F1 was far less popular. Today the eyes of the world are on whether F1 will again turn a blind eye to the plight of an oppressed people out of its eagerness to line its coffers.
It must not.
2011 Bahrain Grand Prix
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Image ?é?® Red Bull/Getty images