??Bahrain Crown Prince will decide if race happens? ?ǣ Ecclestone

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Start, Bahrain, 2010

Start, Bahrain, 2010

Bernie Ecclestone has said he will leave it up to the Crown Prince of Bahrain to decide whether next month’s season-opening race goes ahead.

Ecclestone told the BBC:

“He will know whether it’s safe for us to be there.

“I’ve no idea. I’m not there, so I don’t know. We won’t advise people to go unless it’s safe.”

The Crown Prince is the son of Bahrain’s king Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah.

Protests against the country’s ruling monarchy in recent days have seen several fatalities as the police have fired live rounds at the demonstrators.

Update: Many of you know F1 Fanatic reader LAK, who lives in Bahrain. Make sure you read LAK’s view on the situation in the forum here: A Bahraini F1F, the Bahrain GP and how we see it.

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

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125 comments on ??Bahrain Crown Prince will decide if race happens? ?ǣ Ecclestone

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  1. Sush Meerkat said on 20th February 2011, 10:20

    Horner: “its up to Bernie, he’s got more info then us”
    Bernie: “its up to the Prince to decide, he’s got more info than us”

    Talk about covering your behind.

    Its like saying “whatever happens ain’t my fault!”

    • Andy W said on 20th February 2011, 12:27

      Horner I agree with, Bernie… sorry but you are just trying to weasel out of making a decision.

      Bernie has spent most of the last 25 years becoming and cementing his place as the F1 Circus master, as he often makes clear its his show, he is the person who makes the deals about who hosts and who looses the races on the calendar… Bahrain is obviously not in any shape to host an F1 GP the political situation on the ground is just to volatile, bringing in the worlds media will only make the mess worse.

      If Bernie sees his job as protecting the best interests of the sport then this race needs to be cancelled, if he is prepared to have the blood of innocents on his hands and support the regime that the people of Bahrain are trying to oust…. then…. he should leave F1 and go into politics.

      • The teams are part of F1, F1 is there or isn’t there. Bernie is just being political and lazy and choosing not to do anything. He doesn’t want to be seen as abandoning (maybe due to some contractual obligation).

        Hopefully they wont go.

      • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 20th February 2011, 16:27

        Have you read LAK’s post on the forum? That is not what is going on. The vast majority of people in Bahrain do not want regime change – merely a change of Prime-Minister.

        And while I deplore the violence that went on, it’s not like we haven’t had violent protests in the UK – should we lose the British GP thanks to a bunch of students protesting over fees? I know it’s not exactly the same, but then it would have been so easy for someone to have been killed in those protests and then things spiral out of control.

      • He has been in politics for a very long time.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 20th February 2011, 14:52

      “you were following me?? I was following Flanders!”

      Simpsons again working fine in the real world.

    • therealeggman (@therealeggman) said on 20th February 2011, 15:04

      It’s all down to money, Ecclestone wants his pound of flesh and the Prince wants the good publicity that an F1 race would give.
      Does F1 really want to be associated with somebody who ordered troops to fire on unarmed men women and children?

      • Now that you talked about money, i do wonder if there isn’t a game of chicken played between the teams and Bernie.
        If the event gets canceled by the FIA and FOM Bernie has to pay the teams even as if it happened. But if the teams refuse to go because they feel unsafe then i wonder if he can refuse paying-up.

        Maybe they both try to play it till the end, hoping that the other will back down from the event first.

        But if the prince says it’s not possible to happen the i wonder what are the paying responsibilities of Bernie?

        Hmmm… We may have some games played with money here.

  2. Icthyes said on 20th February 2011, 10:20

    What a cop-out.

    • thatscienceguy said on 20th February 2011, 11:39

      So the US government says its dangerous to go to Bahrain. The UK government says its dangerous to go to Bahrain. The Australian government says its dangerous to go to Bahrain. The French, German and Swedish governments probably say the same.

      But Bernie is relying on the guy who will be desperate to show the world that the country is safe and secure under his stewardship about whether F1 should go there.

      Gee, I wonder what the answer will be.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 10:22

    This isn’t Bernie passing the buck. It’s something else entirely. It’s a typically Bernie move to get what he wants, which is what he considers to be the best thing for the sport. The Crown Prince will be very careful in what he does because Bahrain has been under intense international scrutiny for days. He won’t green-light the Grand Prix unless he is absolutely confident that the situation is – at the very least – stable because the race will be the first international event held in the country once the protests die down. If the Crown Prince were to allow the race to take place without the situation working towards a resolution, it would be very emabrrassing for Bahrain. This isn’t Bernie passing the buck – it’s Bernie challenging the Crown Prince to get his house in order.

    • But the Crown Prince’s house is not in order. Safety is not really the point. Taking an international sporting event into Bahrain after events of recent days is not right.

      Moreover, the situation is so fluid. If a decision is made on Tuesday, it can’t reasonably be expected there will be a good forecast for the situation on Wednesday, much less than on March 13.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 10:42

        But the Crown Prince’s house is not in order.

        I’m sorry, but you missed the point. Bahrain might not be in order now, but Bernie is challenging the Crown Prince to get the country to a point where it is in order. By allowing the Grand Prix to go ahead, the Crown Prince would be endorsing his own country to the world, saying “Come on in guys, it’s safe now”. He has to balance his desire to see the race against the state of the nation. Bernie has positioned the Grand Prix in such a way that it is a litmus test for the true state of the country. If the race goes ahead and Bahrain is in a serviceable condition, then it is proof that order is being restored. But if the race goes ahead and there is still trouble afoot, the Bahrain government will have shown themselves to be incapable of governing their own country because they will have given the go-ahead to a major international event without verifying that they have their own country under control, which will not only be incredibly embarrassing for them, but it will also be a massive endorsement of the protestors.

        • Sush Meerkat said on 20th February 2011, 10:58

          I’m sorry, but you missed the point. Bahrain might not be in order now, but Bernie is challenging the Crown Prince to get the country to a point where it is in order.

          LOL, yeah Bernie the humanitarian, fighting for the people.

          No PM, Bernie said that because then the decision’s heavy burden doesn’t rest on his shoulders.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 11:09

            No PM, Bernie said that because then the decision’s heavy burden doesn’t rest on his shoulders.

            You know, this argument would carry more weight if Bernie didn’t have a history of willingly making difficult decisions. Like, for example, relocating the British Grand Prix from Silverstone to Donington despite pressure from fans and lobby groups because the Silverstone circuit wasn’t up to the standard he expected (after all, the Silverstone pits were some of the worst on the calendar and had been for years).

          • Mike-e said on 20th February 2011, 11:15

            I guarantee its a situation along the lines of;

            If Bernie cancelled Bahrain would not have to pay him, whereas if the prince cancelled they still would.

            This is a completely money driven piece of delegation.

          • Sush Meerkat said on 20th February 2011, 11:20

            You know, this argument would carry more weight if Bernie didn’t have a history of willingly making difficult decisions. Like, for example, relocating the British Grand Prix from Silverstone to Donington despite pressure from fans and lobby groups because the Silverstone circuit wasn’t up to the standard he expected (after all, the Silverstone pits were some of the worst on the calendar and had been for years).

            I think your eagerness to win arguements online is clouding your judgement there PM, when it comes to venues, he’s all about the money, Donnington was willing to pay the fee’s, thats all.

            Making more money is not a difficult decision, thats not politics, thats business.

            Whats happening in Bahrain is politics, and Bernie is distancing himself from the hoohaa.

            I mean no offense to the people of Bahrain when I say their predicament is “hoohaa”, I just couldn’t find the right words.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 11:28

            when it comes to venues, he’s all about the money, Donnington was willing to pay the fee’s, thats all.

            Bernie had been riding Silverstone for years to up their game. Their pit complex was in appalling condition, and they made virtually no move to improve it. Every time upgrades were planned, something came up and they got pushed back. I guess Bernie finally ran out of patience, and when the contract was up, he decided not to renew it because Damon Hill and the BRDC had been jerking him around for too long.

            Or do you think it’s just coincidence that Silverstone announced a major circuit reconfiguration and unveiled plans for a brand-new pit complex when they got the race back?

          • That’s hardly a show of good faith in my opinion.
            It’s what should have been done in the first place.

          • George (@george) said on 20th February 2011, 12:20

            I find myself agreeing with PM for a change, the whole situation is more complex than it looks at first sight. As far as giving the Crown Prince the decision goes, well he will know far better than Bernie how the situation is.

            Peaceful protests tend to fizzle out after a couple of weeks, it’s reasonably likely that unless there is a full blown armed revolt the situation will have calmed by mid-march.

          • Sush Meerkat said on 20th February 2011, 12:30

            Or do you think it’s just coincidence that Silverstone announced a major circuit reconfiguration and unveiled plans for a brand-new pit complex when they got the race back?

            I like how your sidestepping the issue of, you know, whats happening in Bahrain.

            Silverstones Pit complex has nothing to do with how Bernie is acting over this political issue.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 12:49

            That’s hardly a show of good faith in my opinion.
            It’s what should have been done in the first place.

            Actually, the initial reaction was not altogether unreasonable. Please, hear me out on this one:

            Before the protests began in Bahrain, there had already been two major revolutuions going on. First in Tunisia, and then in Egypt. Both resulted in leaders being deposed. In addition, similar movements were spreading like wildfire across North Africa and the Middle East. It is not altogether inconceivable that some people in the Bahrain protests were simply looking for revolution for the sake of revolution, having witnessed the events that transpired in Cairo and Tunis.

            Now, I’m not saying that Manama’s response to the protests was completely justified, particularly when it came to killing protestors. However, there is a reason why we don’t do things by mob justice. If we stormed government buildings every time we didn’t like something a government just did, we’d never get anything done because someone would always be storming a building somewhere.

            In the event of a political uprising, the most appropriate response would be a display of non-lethal force measured against the level of violence. Start with police blockades and eventually move up towards the use of tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. The idea is not to quell the uprising by beating them down, but to demonstrate that violence is not going to solve anything. Show the protestors that a diplomatic resolution benefits all parties. However, you cannot simply sit down and talk things over straight away for the same reason that you cannot storm the nearest government building. In this respect, the Bahrain governmnet failed, but crowd control tactics are an accepted way of dealing with rioters. Or did you not see the student protests in London a few months ago?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 12:53

            I like how your sidestepping the issue of, you know, whats happening in Bahrain.

            Silverstones Pit complex has nothing to do with how Bernie is acting over this political issue.

            Actually, it has everything to do with the situation. Bernie is in the habit of putting race organisers in a position where they must make a decision that will decide their future. They can either meet his demands and keep their race, or they ca go their own way and lose it.

            In the case of Silverstone, Bernie demanded better facilities for all, particularly in the pits. The BRDC had to decide whether they wanted to keep the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and if they did, then they had to work towards improving their facilities. If they did not wish to upgrade, then they would lose the race.

            Here, it’s slightly different, but it’s essentially the same thing: the Crown Prince has to decide whether his country is in a state where they can reasonably hold a Grand Prix. If he believes it is, then he has to show as much. If not, then he cannot host the race.

          • Icthyes said on 20th February 2011, 15:28

            You always love to roll out this discredited chestnut.

            Fact is it would have been financial suicide for the BRDC to have invested in Silverstone with the short-term deals Bernie gave them on convenient grounds. Fact is Bernie just wanted to do one over the BRDC, a political powerhouse in British motor racing. Unfortunately for him he did a deal with Donington Del Boy that fell through and Silverstone forced his hand. A similar thing has happened with Bahrain; in following greed and ambition, Bernie is now in a corner.

            Your argument holds no weight. He is passing the buck to avoid losing his blood money if it doesn’t go ahead.

        • Damon (@damon) said on 20th February 2011, 11:17

          it’s Bernie challenging the Crown Prince to get his house in order.

          I see where you’re coming from. However, I’m not too fond of them getting the house in order by shooting innocent people.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 11:25

            I’m not too fond of them getting the house in order by shooting innocent people.

            They’ve said overnight that they want to talk to the protestors. They’r withdrawing from the Pearl Roundabout as a sign of good faith. I posted as much in today’s roundup, but it largely went ignored.

        • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 20th February 2011, 12:27

          I’m sorry, but you missed the point. Bahrain might not be in order now, but Bernie is challenging the Crown Prince to get the country to a point where it is in order. By allowing the Grand Prix to go ahead, the Crown Prince would be endorsing his own country to the world, saying “Come on in guys, it’s safe now”. He has to balance his desire to see the race against the state of the nation. Bernie has positioned the Grand Prix in such a way that it is a litmus test for the true state of the country.

          I get precisely what you mean, PM. And I think I agree.

        • Sush Meerkat said on 20th February 2011, 12:59

          Here, it’s slightly different, but it’s essentially the same thing: the Crown Prince has to decide whether his country is in a state where they can reasonably hold a Grand Prix. If he believes it is, then he has to show as much. If not, then he cannot host the race.

          The reason he does that is because if he cancels he loses money, if the race organisers cancel they have to pay him a cancelation fee.

          • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 20th February 2011, 13:04

            *Longest F1F comment argument in recent memory*

          • Sush Meerkat said on 20th February 2011, 13:10

            *Longest F1F comment argument in recent memory*

            LOL, yeah its good fun though, its not like a normal flame war on the internets were people just randomly insults each other.

            We are respectful to each other.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th February 2011, 14:09

          PM, the protesters were peacefully calling for reforms to actually make the democtratically elected parliament have a political voice in things.

          It turned out of hand and into calls to oust the regime only when said regime/its security forces panicked into mugging, shooting and beating up everyone close to the protestors. Including medics trying to treat them.

          As for Silverstone. Would you invest in a track without any long term view on weather you would have a chance of making a ROI? Thats why they invested immediately when having a long term contract.

        • And my point was that there is simply no way for the country to be “in order” in three weeks. The protesters won’t stop for less than comprehensive reform, absent a further crackdown. There is no way that process is completed in three weeks, even if the protest phase is over.

          And, anyway, the Bahrani government doesn’t deserve the prestige of a major international sporting event days after sending troops into break up a peaceful protest.

    • GMacGregor (@gmacgregor) said on 20th February 2011, 10:42

      This could be true in another kind of country, but sadly it isn’t the case in Bahrain.

      The Bahraini monarchy is not only a despotic tyranny, but it is also immensely childish. The Bahrain GP was never about improving the country’s perception worldwide, increasing tourism and bringing in some cash at the same time. The GP is a toy for them, an endeavour to improve their status, similar to how the spoiled rich kids at school insist on getting the coolest things so they can show them off to their classmates.

      They did not do this for the country, they did it for themselves, make no mistake. The Crown Prince will say YES, of this I am sure. He won’t let some (in his eyes) pesky ingrates spoil his treat.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 11:12

        The Crown Prince will say YES, of this I am sure.

        Even if the condition in the country is so poor that welcoming the race with open arms and enjoying it would prove to be such an immense embarrassment to his country that the protestors would likely storm the parliament building and depose every last politician in it?

        You make the mistake of assuming that just because a ruler is a “despotic tyrant”, he is also a complete moron.

    • Read far too much into this I think mate. I do think it’s a simple ‘buck passing’.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 11:00

        Go back and look at some of the other things Bernie has done to get circuits to fall in line. Most notably Silverstone. Go back over them and tell me that you don’t see similarities in what he is doing. Bernie’s entire m.o. is based on getting circuits to do exactly what he wants whilst making them think it was their idea all along.

        • I just love how you are comparing the situation with Silverstone and the BRDC with Bahrain and the tyranic rule of the royalty.

          Oh yeah, it’s really the same.

          No, Bernie relationship with the BRDC is totally different to his relationship with the King of Bahrain, and his handling of this situation is totally in regards to that. Bernie doesn’t have the balls to stand up to the King and his family (unlike the BRDC), therefore he is simply passing the buck. Otherwise, contractually, this is going to cost Bernie a huge load of dosh and we know how important that is to the wee scrote. Likewise with the teams, they are not (at present) going to speak in the face of their contracts.

          In time, we will find out who really has balls, and boycotts the place.

          However, none of this is really important, what matters is the people of Bahrain and our support of them.

          • Don’t really want to get involved in this spat, but as I have said in previous posts:

            F1 should not be in this position in the first place. The crown prince should not have to opportunity to use F1, a sport, as a bargaining tool to sort things out, plain and simple (i.e. if you don’t stop protesting we won’t get F1).

            PM this is where your argument is very flawed. F1 should not be used as a bargaining tool in any way. Also, your knowledge of the personal thoughts and personality of the crown prince, his relationship to Bernie seems very personal, I did not know you had met them, had any dealings with them or had such a deep understanding of the socio-economic politics of Bahrain and the surrounding area.

            F1 should not be dealing with authoritarian regimes in the first place, as if things go wrong (which they have) things get messy.

        • matt90 said on 20th February 2011, 16:16

          If he was treating this situation the same as Silverstone then he’s even more of an egomaniac than we all thought, believing he has the power to fix the situation simply by suggesting its the crown princes best interests to make a decision based on the state of the country. Although, I wouldn’t put Bernie past this, I think it’s more likely he’s weaseling out, and I hope for the sake of the teams, tourists and journalists that the crown prince makes the right decision.

    • I agree with PM although I think it is passing the buck but not because of weakness but because he’s a shrewd businessman and trying to get the best outcome for F1. Either the situation improves for F1 to take place or the Crown Prince calls it off first and (possibly) is the one to break the contract.

    • Julian said on 20th February 2011, 12:51

      it’s Bernie challenging the Crown Prince to get his house in order.

      Didn’t you say something along the lines of ‘F1 and politics shouldn’t mix’?? :P

      • snowman said on 20th February 2011, 16:35

        Calling a billionaire businessman weak doesn’t really add up. See it like Steph, he is forcing the Crown Prince into breaking the contract. If the Crown Prince does the unlikely and doesn’t there is nothing to stop Bernie then just coming up with advice from someone else and backing out of it with the penalties.

    • PeriSoft said on 20th February 2011, 19:06

      It’s a typically Bernie move to get what he wants, which is what he considers to be the best thing for the sport.

      I’ve been trying to think of an appropriate response to this, but I don’t think that written language can possibly express the interstellar absurdity of that statement. It has left me as incredulous as my mind will allow me to comprehend, and – remarkably – outclassed the wrongheadedness of Mr. Ecclestone’s self-professed admiration for tyrants, his description of pro-democracy activism as “making a fuss”, and leaving a delicate and dangerous decision to a man with the biggest possible vested interest in making the -wrong- decision.

      As the saying goes – “I’ll have what he’s having.”

  4. Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 20th February 2011, 10:24

    Well the British government have said it isn’t safe, but of course that obviously wasn’t the response Bernie wanted, so he now goes to the person with a vested interest in the race going ahead. This is a new low, even for him.

    Seeing as the government’s warning could void the teams’ insurance I would be surprised if they go whatever the Crown Prince says.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 10:27

      Two things:

      1) The teams have aready said they’ll do what FOM does.

      2) The situation in Bahrain has improved. The King has allowed the protestors to occupy the Pearl Roundabout and the Crown Prince has withdrawn all security forces from the area with explicit instructions that they are not to encroach upon the area held by the protestors. It’s a show of good faith to kick-start negotiations.

      • @PM – and you don’t think that it is not just a little crass to stage a GP here just weeks after protestors have been shot in the head the streets?

        No I don’t suppose you do.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 10:45

          The only way a race can go ahead is if the protests end. The only way the protests can end if if negotiation is successful. The only way negotiation can be successful is if the government bows to some of the demands set forth by the protestors. So don’t think of it as a race in a country where protestors were shot and killed. Think of it as a race in a country that has undergone a revolution and come out the better for it, the first major sporting event in a New Bahrain.

          • Except it’s not the first major sporting even in a ‘new Bahrain’. It will be a sporting event organised years ago that has gone ahead because the powers that be want it to go ahead anyway.

            Its proximity to these horrifying events is purely cicumstancial in that case. I highly doubt that most ordinary Bahrainis will be overjoyed by an event that would exclude all but 1% of the country.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 11:07

            Except it’s not the first major sporting even in a ‘new Bahrain’. It will be a sporting event organised years ago that has gone ahead because the powers that be want it to go ahead anyway.

            It’s statements like this that make me believe you’re one of thsoe people who simply doesn’t want a Bahrain Grand Prix and has latched onto the protests as a means to fulfilling that end. Nothing will satisfy you short of cancelling the race outright, even if the government and the protestors got together and said “We’ve come to complete agreement on what the future of Bahrain should be, and we want to celebrate this historic moment at the Bahrain Grand Prix so that the world can see we are in perfect unison”.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th February 2011, 11:20

            I agree with that, that is the only scenario that would enable the GP.

            But it is a hard call to get everything sorted out by next tuesday to allow the teams time to send everything over and have them stay there from the end of Februari.

            And I suppose the Bahraini will have other things on their mind before taking care of the GP.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 11:30

            But it is a hard call to get everything sorted out by next tuesday to allow the teams time to send everything over and have them stay there from the end of Februari.

            They don’t need to come to an agreement by Tuesday. They just need to show that they’ve made progress. Even if they say “Okay, we’ll give everyone a grace period to let tempers cool down, and then we’ll sit down for the first time on Wednesday”, it should be enough. They only need to demonstrate that they’re working towards a resolution.

          • DeadManWoking said on 20th February 2011, 12:07

            Here is the CNN interview with the Crown Prince:

            http://cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2011/02/20/robertson.bahrain.amir.intv.cnn

            They don’t need to come to an agreement by Tuesday. They just need to show that they’ve made progress. Even if they say “Okay, we’ll give everyone a grace period to let tempers cool down, and then we’ll sit down for the first time on Wednesday”, it should be enough. They only need to demonstrate that they’re working towards a resolution.

            It’s a good thing that you teach English and not History, PM

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FO725Hbzfls&NR=1

          • @PM

            With all due respect, your understanding of events in Bahrain seems a little simplistic and ignores the wider regional context. Even though the regime is now willing to negotiate with the protestors the situation is likely to remain highly volatile for the foreseeable future. The protestors are largely Shia seeking to wrest more power from the Sunni elite. This means that Iran and Saudi Arabia both have an interest in any outcome and there is potential for rapid deterioration and sectarian violence. Do you really think therefore that this is a suitable backdrop for a GP? Even if the race could be held safely this seems entirely disrespectful to those protesters who have lost their lives.

      • @ PM – additionally – I am so pleased to hear that the situation has ‘improved’, since you are on the ground there after all. Also – as i Cairo, once it’s all died down, it’s ok – everyone can just go back about their business like nothing happened can’t they..?

        No doubt you will counter with the fact that you have a guy from Thailand living in your ‘dorm’ and that you are currently reading a book set in Morocco.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 10:48

          Nope, I actually read an article from CNN. Granted, it’s not the same as being there, but the article directly quoted the Crown Prince stating that the government wanted to sit down with the protestors and talk it through. Or do you think that CNN, one of the most respected media outlets in the world, would fabricate a major story like that simply because you faced a similar situation in a completely different coutry?

          • I think that getting all of one’s news from CNN or any major media outlet is always going to cause gaps in one’s knowledge.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 10:55

            And I think that assuming you know better simply because you’re closer geographically sets a pretty poor precedent. While similar, the issues and the situation in Bahrain and Egypt (and any other country wracked by violance, for that matter) are not identical.

            For example, in Egypt, the protestors were demanding the resignation of Honsi Mubarak after a thirty-year reign. In Bahrain, the demonstrators want a new prime minister, one who is not a member of the royal family. There’s a subtle but very important difference: the Egyptians wanted a totally new governmnet, whilst the Bahrainis want more transparency in the way they are governed. Now, you can argue that this is just semantics, but I’m an English teacher – I live in semantics. It might seem slight, but it’s a world of difference.

          • gDog (@gdog) said on 21st February 2011, 2:34

            President Ahmadinejad was directly quoted as denying Neda was shot by his own security forces.

            I’m not sure I entirely believe that one either.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th February 2011, 11:18

        Officially the teams have said they’ll do what the FIA and FOM decide.

        But Boellier, Parr and others have already shown they would rather have it cancelled. If travel is limited by the government advice, this will mean complications for insurance alone, not even thinking about the ethics of it.

        Sure, no one wants to give the call first. Maybe Bernie would be relieved if the travel advice was changed to a downright no go, that would make it impossible to go ahead.

        Leaving it in the hands of the Crown prince, the chief commander of the armed forces and main protagonist of the GP might not be the best solution, as he will be right in the middle of getting everyone talking instead of shooting right now.

        Taking care of a GP should hardly be paramount in his mind right now.

    • I agree.

      Imagine if they do race, and something happens. Or even almost happens, It will be the worst media attention F1 has had since I can remember watching it. And that’s a while ago now.

      (And this is ignoring the Bernie is as good as supporting the oppressing regime himself, but that’s being hypocritical. No one is complaining about other oppressive countries who have GPs.)

      • Feynman said on 20th February 2011, 11:30

        You speak for yourself, plenty of people are complaining, and have been complaining for years about the totalitarian cesspools that F1 pimps itself out to. If the money’s right, it’ll put on a live floor-show for anyone.

        The Bahrain race is done, it’s through, it’s not happening. If F1 seriously thinks it can quietly drive its transporter-truck wheels through blood spattered streets, that it can hold a party in an army cordoned bubble, that it can go from quiet complicitness to overt support of a medieval regime, if it thinks we’ll all hold our nose and swallow that, then I’m finally done with it.

        It’ll have shown definitively, once and for all, that this business has absolutely no place in sport and has no place in civil society.

        Coin-operated Bernie Ecclestone’s views on democracy:
        http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article6633340.ece

  5. I imagine the teams will be jumpy about going there if the Crown Prince says it’s OK but the Foreign Office advice is still in place. That would open up a massive insurance & litigation trap for the hundreds of team personnel travelling from the UK. And no employer want that kind of risk.

  6. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 20th February 2011, 10:46

    Right. Well, I guess we will just have to hope that the Crown prince is serious about quickly changing his country for the better then. If he cannot (and let’s hope that he realizes having more violence won’t solve it) but does pretend to have things under control and makes the race go through, I wonder what teams will do with most of them having the governments of their flag saying they should avoid traveling there (that will be re-evaluated in a month, I think?).

    I also imagine insurance etc. will be a big issue; I suppose Bernie has ensured the crown prince indemnify everyone or something?

    I guess this was to be expected from B. Ecclestone, but it is disappointing.

  7. The Dutch Bear (@the-dutch-bear) said on 20th February 2011, 10:48

    Bernie shows again what we already know: that the only thing he cares about is $$$. The royals of Bahrain have already showed that they don’t mind killing innocent and unarmed protestors. Bernie obviously doesn’t mind having blood on his hands. However let’s wait whether the teams are more scared of their insurance companies or Bernie.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 10:51

      Typical. Just assume the worst in Bernie because that’s the easiest thing to do. Never mind the way he’s done this plenty of times before in the past with circuits as he attempts to get them to do what he wants. The difference here is that he’s issuing an ultimatum to a government and not the BRDC.

      • Yeah, sure, that’s the only difference. Otherwise, “we won’t go to Silverstone because the pits are too small” is totally comparable to “we won’t go to Bahrein because one of the 600+ people we’re in charge of might get gaught in the middle of a revolution and shot”. Seriously ?

      • matt90 said on 20th February 2011, 16:35

        The very idea that Bernie is issuing an ultimatum to the goverment in the hope that’ll sort out the problems is bizzare. He’s doing it because he’s either weaseling out (most likely) or because he genuinely believes the crown prince knows best. It can’t be an ultimatum, otherwise he’d be in negotions with North Korea to host a GP on the basis they give up their nucleur programme. A GP is important, but their are more important things going on in Bahrain, and although it is the first major event since the killings, it is foolish to believe the prospect of a Grand Prix will affect the situation and negotions, rather than the situation and negotions affecting the prospect of a Grand Prix.

        • it is foolish to believe the prospect of a Grand Prix will affect the situation and negotions, rather than the situation and negotions affecting the prospect of a Grand Prix.

          Agree entirely. Foolish and deluded.

    • DeadManWoking said on 20th February 2011, 10:57

      According to that BBC article the travel advisory does not trigger insurance invalidation clauses:

      The British Foreign Office – along with counterparts in many other Western countries – is advising against non-essential travel to Bahrain.

      But BBC Sport understands the warning is not enough to trigger clauses that would invalidate insurance for most F1 teams. For that, the travel advice would have to be not to travel there at all.

      • Ads21 (@ads21) said on 20th February 2011, 11:16

        But Adam Cooper makes a very good point:

        One report today says that the teams may not have an issue with insurance unless there is a definitive ban. However the BBC’s travel expert confirmed on TV yesterday that for most normal travel insurance – the type that many non-team personnel will have – would be invalidated if a warning was ignored.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th February 2011, 11:23

          And it will be a bit of a guess what media pundits will be there.
          As Jake Humpfrey tweets, the Beeb cannot just send anyone into a dangerous place. He might not be the only one refusing to go.

      • It depends upon the insurance. I would guess these policies are specially written – they aren’t generic travellers insurance. Just like the tyre debacle in Indianapolis, if someone with authority says “unsafe” it will stop everything. (Who makes that call, though, I have no idea.)

  8. fatbloke76 said on 20th February 2011, 10:52

    there could also be a different way to look at it. if bernie cancels the event maybe he has to foot the bill, if the prince cancels bernie still gets paid perhaps. now we all know bernie is about money above anything else

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 10:57

      Nope, Bernie doesn’t foot the bill. FOM gets paid regardless of whether the race goes ahead. In fact, the payment was most likely made months ago, when the calendar was finalised. Especially since Bahrain pays extra to be the first race on the calendar. They don’t jsut fork over the money the day before the teams arrive – they pay months in advance.

      • PM – RE. protests in Cairo and the differences between those happening elsewhere – I accept there is a difference and not so subtle either. Semantics do not come into it – and I don’t even need to justify that statement by pointing out what it is that I do for a living.

        What really intrigues me is how it is that you seem to have appointed yourself as the arbiter of all public opinion on this forum? Really – I’d love to have some light shed on this by you..

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 20th February 2011, 11:14

          Arbiter of public opinion? No.

          Devil’s advocate? Very much so.

          Do you think the blog would be nearly as interesting if each and every single post was along the lines of “Boo! Down with Bahrain!”?

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th February 2011, 11:25

            No it wouldn’t. Funded arguments make sense.

            Then again some of your arguments get a bit too much on the personal comments toward others. I would like you to tone it down a bit there.

          • I think it’s just your tone.

            Anyway – I’m in no way an apologist for Revolutions for the sake of it. I’m very concerned abut the power vacuums that are now going to arise in the Region.

            But that’s a posting for another forum.

          • Maciek said on 20th February 2011, 18:47

            What I’m very curious about is why PM consistently takes the word of the authorities (whichever ones) as gospel truth, but just as consistently doubts the words and motives of those who protest against authority. Whiffs of vested interests methinks.

            The crown prince has been quoted as saying he wants to negotiate – well, I mean everything’s honky-dory then, carry on, nothing to see here. [I wish I had words for what I'm thinking, but I'm just sitting here shaking my head].

            Oh yeah, and way to suggest that the blog wouldn’t be as interesting without you, PM. Humility is your most endearing quality, you know that? I’ll do you a favor and enlighten you on something you don’t seem to be aware of: you’re the only one here who takes you seriously.

    • Damon (@damon) said on 20th February 2011, 13:04

      if bernie cancels the event maybe he has to foot the bill, if the prince cancels bernie still gets paid perhaps. now we all know bernie is about money above anything else

      No no no.
      If it’s Bernie who would cancel the event, he has a reason to do it. It is Bahrain that is responsible for not providing conditions for the race to be held, not F1. Thus, I can’t imagine a business deal, where F1 would not get paid in such circumstances.

  9. Cop out. Isn’t this the man who said “they think they’ve go me the balls – their hands aren’t big enough”.

    Well if that is the case, make the call Mr Ecclestone, call it off.

  10. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 20th February 2011, 11:19

    My initial thoughts are that this is quite a smart move by Bernie. It puts the ball in Bahrain’s court. Just because the Crown Prince says yes, go ahead, doesn’t mean it actually will. It puts further pressure on them, another thing to have to consider and potentially the consequences. Whether it’s safe or not is really down to FOTA, Bernie and the FIA. Ultimately the Crown Prince’s decision will be subjective.

  11. Bigbadderboom said on 20th February 2011, 11:24

    So, more chess moves from Bernie. If the Crown Prince dares to race and the weekend is heavily protested then it’s the fault of the Crown Prince. If the Crown Prince says no to this years event, then FOM enforce their right to still be paid for the event.
    @ PM I agree with the fact that this is simply not Bernie passing the buck, he is a very clever negotiator, and as we all know he reads situations and plays the players better than anyone. However i cannot see how going racing so soon after the unrest will portray F1 in any sort of positive light. Bernie does not want to be seen to loose face, after all it was he who chased down these big money contracts in so called emerging markets. Personally I think Bahrain should be given a wide berth this year, otherwise this could end up bitting Bernie on the rear, and negativley reflecting on F1

  12. F1 is all about being non-political.

    FIA / FOM should scrap the event in any case… Middle East can handle the ‘loss’ in income!

    All about the money.

  13. This is dangerous ground.

    The Crown Prince could guarantee the safety of F1 at the expense of his population by creating a Military style “Green Zone” for the event.

    If this happens and protesters attempt to get to the event, further fatalities may occur. If this happens the entire sport will have blood on their hands because of their presence.

  14. What Bernie says and what Bernie does are two different things.

    I think the teams would influence Bernie to not go, should it still be in the situation we are in today.

    However

    Bernie does not like to be seen to be influenced and as such puts it on the Crown Prince. Whether or not the Crown Prince says yes or no, I think there will be no F1 race

  15. Seysel said on 20th February 2011, 11:58

    Yup, it’s money money money and Bernie doesn’t have the balls. Pass the buck is his motto these days!!!

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