Ecclestone prepared to give Bahrain until June to decide on race

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone says the Bahrain Grand Prix organisers could be given another month to decide whether they can hold a race this year.

Speaking to Reuters Ecclestone said: “I suppose we’d be safe by early June or something like that.

“Things can change in a couple of weeks… so you don’t know. All of a sudden everything might be peaceful in a month’s time and they are happy to run the event and so we are happy to be there.”

In March the FIA World Motor Sport Council set a deadline of May 1st for the Bahrain Motor Federation to decide if a race could be held in the country this year.

The country declared a three-month state of emergency beginning on March 15th following protests against the government, which were met with a violent response.

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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86 comments on Ecclestone prepared to give Bahrain until June to decide on race

  1. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th April 2011, 12:40

    The way things are going, Bahrain could be fine and Abu Dhabi in turmoil by the time we get to November.

    It’s difficult. F1 already goes to places with suspect regimes. However in this case there’s a direct link between the race being able to go ahead and the abuses to Bahraini citizens. Let’s wait until next year and get a replacement for this one.

    • henry said on 28th April 2011, 14:34

      I see where you’re coming from, however; I think that if Bahrain is fine in a few months it will be because the brutal, violent repression has worked. There are hundreds of people who have been abused by security forces, hundreds have been spirited away with no records, and even their families are not given any information. The abuse of power is really very sad, and I am devastated for the people affected by it. If Bahrain is deemed safe for F1, the government will have been successful, and will be encouraged to repeat the same actions.

      Ultimately it comes down the the fact that whether or not the majority of the population do not support the regime, if the regime remains it is because of their brutal actions. And if F1 goes there, the whole world will be watching and passively ratifying the regime’s actions. Which should not now or ever be allowed to happen. We all know that F1 is political, there is not need to repeat the same argument. We all also know that Bernie wants his money. I just really hope, that for once, F1 manages to do something that makes me proud rather than feel sick in my stomach.

    • alexf1man said on 28th April 2011, 15:02

      Definitely a possibility :s

      But personally I wouldn’t take the risk of hosting in 2011:

      1) because of the potential for the violence to start again as a result of a GP being agreed to.

      2) because it might screw up their 2012 ticket sales if they want to host season opener which would cause more issues long term.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 28th April 2011, 16:18

      I’m confused- has it been given an extension or is Bernie just saying that he’d like to?

  2. thatscienceguy said on 28th April 2011, 12:43

    COTD contender imo.

  3. Why can’t Bernie just say “I want my money, so I will just wait until the day before the end of the season and if they aren’t ready to have a race we will just finish the season and I will sue the organisor’s ***** off”.

    You might as well have asked someone in a pub in London tomorrow on their day off to give their opinion of the situation:

    “I suppose we’d be safe by early June or something like that.”

    Why has the Foreign Office never offered him a diplomatic post with insight like that?!?

  4. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 28th April 2011, 12:53

    It’s really quite hard not to detest Bernie Ecclestone sometimes. What a greedy, delusional little man he is. Quite incredible that these quotes have appeared on the same day as the death sentences:

    • Boomerang said on 28th April 2011, 13:00

      That’s one of major resons why he is rich. I suppose

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th April 2011, 13:11

        Well don’t forget he’s a CVC employee now. Bernie himself actually receives nothing from the races, just his salary and bonus. He made his billions more by the selling of F1 rather than all the cash he pocketed when he owned it.

        Not excusing his comments in the slightest, just that he’s probably under pressure to make this race go ahead from his employers. Also Bernie is famously detached from current affairs, rarely reads or watches the news and rarely has a grasp of the impact of his comments in the media.

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th April 2011, 13:13

          I have to clarify on this sensitive issue, I am not excusing his comments, just musing on his thought process. Just because he doesn’t always know what he’s saying is no real excuse for saying them.

        • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 28th April 2011, 13:18

          I thought he still had a stake in F1? Oh well, either way he still earns money from F1 in other ways. Of course, CVC are awful too, but it’s harder to dislike such a shadowy organisation

          • I’m guessing its okay to kill police officers as long as you are a protester?

            I’m honestly not sure who to back. The faceless, murdering “protesters”, or the monarch who (as far as I can tell, are simply enforcing the law and trying to keep the peace).

            Personally I’d like the Monarch to win, because its a rare system with a lot of culture and history.I also feel the protesters might find it is easier to simply leave the country and setup shop somewhere else.

          • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 28th April 2011, 14:19

            I didn’t say anything about killing police officers being justified. Two wrongs don’t make a right. But the actions of a few bad eggs don’t justify terrorising the Shia population of the island.

            Also, they should “simply leave the country”. Seriously, do you think it’s a simple thing to do?! Have you even considered what that might entail?

          • Bigbadderboom said on 28th April 2011, 14:28

            @Ned, your quite right his involvement is still way beyond that of an “Employee” collecting salary and bonus. It is often reported that he has an “Unknown” amount of capital and shares in CVC partners. However his financial involvement in F1 is as ever an intricate web of arrangements.
            That does not excuse his insensitive outbursts and ill considered remarks. I have always been a supporter of Bernie simply because he has always done what’s best for the sport (or at least as he sees it) But perhaps the time has come for the ringmaster to hang up his hat. F1 needs a more sensitive public face now, and his comments will do nothing to attract big sponsorship which in modern times hides behind morality, coorporations steer well clear of these types of issues.

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th April 2011, 15:26

            You’re right, he re-bought a 10% share immediately.

          • @Rob

            You’re really a piece of work. ‘Simply leave the country’? Are you insane?

            Eugh… I’m tempted rebut your nonsense ramblings, but it would be pointless…

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th April 2011, 6:07

            Rob, these “murdering” protestors were not murdering, just the Bahrain state controlled media made it seem to be so, while showing only the nice images of the state troops.

            It is not a case of good guys vs bad guys anyway. I would like to see all the people of Bahrain win and why not with a constitutional Monarchy. Just it has to be a real say in the goings on by all of the people not just a largely sunni elite importing other sunni to tip the balance.

          • LAK said on 30th April 2011, 7:09

            Thank you Rob, the first comment to shed light on the truth. Contrary to what many ppl are thinking, the State TV is not trying to hide anything the army are doing. What you all don’t know is that this is a media war more than anything. The opposition have strong ties with International Human Rights organizations and International media, so when the revolution started they literally spread exaggerated lies and rumors to escalate the situation and gain International support to justify their goals of overthrowing the government.
            People did not see the crimes they have committed, and the truth is now coming out as justice and law are being applied.
            The government is not ruled only by Sunni elite as you say, other than the ruling family, there are many Shiite ministers, and they were the majority in the parliament as well. So they were never oppressed and never will be, we’re just upset that they committed treason. Bahrain is a country of multi-cultural backgrounds and religions and that’s what makes us great! But when one group (I won’t say sect as not all Shiites agree with the opposition, in fact many of them more forced to join) decides to eradicate the other’s opinions, speak in their name to the world, and ignore the voice of the other half of their fellow citizens it becomes unacceptable. Sadly they have also done so with violence and they won’t be let off easily with the King’s usual royal pardons. Their crimes are too big to ignore and people all want to see the law applied.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th April 2011, 6:03

          Bernie has a salary as director and he holds a few percent share himself (2-4%), so he does benefit directly from money made.

    • It’s pretty hard not to detest Bernie Eccelstone all the time. I particularly hate the jovial, look at the cunning clever uncle veiw the beeb and particularly EJ take. Sycophancy is always vile.

      It’s times like this you see what a twisted cynical, money driven monster he really is. All the wit in the world can’t hide unfettered greed like that. The first thing they need to do during the concorde negotiations is kick both him an CVC clean out of the sport.

      • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 28th April 2011, 17:46

        I know what you mean. For years, while I was young and naive, I always thought of him as a nice guy, the benovlent leader of F1. It doesn’t help the way everyone in F1 (including the BBC) speak so highly of him. Well, they would, saying as he’s partly responsible for the riches some of them have made.

        Another thing which irks me is the way people call him simply Bernie. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it all just adds to the happy friendly image he has. You wouldn’t hear people refering to Nick, the bloke who runs the BNP, for example

  5. Ralph said on 28th April 2011, 12:59

    Yeah like Bernie… Money never sleeps!

    Greed is still good.

  6. Dan Selby said on 28th April 2011, 13:11

    This is absolutely disgusting. Always had alot of respect for Bernard but this is truly another level.

    Does he even know what’s going on there? Does he understand that families DO NOT KNOW where their loved ones are because of this backward regeime?!?!?!

    Disgusting. Downright disgusting.

    • henry said on 28th April 2011, 14:41

      Did you really mean that? Why have you always had so much respect for bernie? He is a dwarfish megalomaniac who is takes greed to an altogether different level than us mere mortals can conceive of.

      I think the reason he supports these corrupt regimes is because he can understand how the unpopular dictators feel. He really can relate to their situation, and therefore sympathises. He can also understand why they dont want a few miserable people’s deaths to rain on his parade…

      just to be very clear, the ‘miserable people’ is meant to represent bernie’s view, not mine.

      • Bigbadderboom said on 28th April 2011, 16:34

        It’s ok to call Bernie a meglomaniac (and then insult his personal phisique) but he has admirable qualities. Much has been said about Bernies attitudes, comments and remarks, but as an F1 I have always respected Bernie for delivering F1 and ensuring that it has all that it can, his management and negotiating skills are second to very few. Often situations within F1 have been describes as a “Stalemate” or “Unrecoverable” yet this one man has often been the difference between things happening and not happening. I do agree it’s probably the right time for him to pass on the reigns, but I don’t think it’s cause to start randomly attacking his character. Remember this site is for discussing F1 as F1 fans. I’m lucky not to live in a part of the world affected by these troubles, and I have every sympathy for them, but Bernie isn’t the cause of these problems.

        • Absolutely agree BBB and well said.

        • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 28th April 2011, 17:53

          You can’t fail to be impressed by Adolf Hitler’s achievements either. But I wouldn’t say I respect them, or find them admirable. Similarly, I’m astounded by Ecclestone’s achievements in F1, but I certainly don’t find much to admire in such ruthless, single minded and greedy man

          Oh, by the way, sorry Mike Godwin

          • Maciek said on 28th April 2011, 20:34

            Nice reference Ned. I actually didn’t know about Godwin, but it only makes sense – the reason things eventually get compared to Hitler and the Nazis is because they were so far out beyond normal or even understandable, that they just make an irresistible extreme against which to compare other injustices, human stupidities, etc. Which is exactly why anyone praising Hitler for anything (hint: Bernie Ecclestone) is deserving of nothing but derision.

            Two things that need saying: given that he’s said what he’s said, is his present stance at all surprising? And: anyone defending him for his utter disregard for the idea of justice (because clearly, he utterly disregards it) is just trying to rationalize away something that is just plain ******’ wrong. What a slimeball.

          • Bigbadderboom said on 29th April 2011, 11:37

            “You can’t fail to be impressed by hitlers acheivements”

            I think i can!

            I had you down as more intelligent Ned than to compare Bernie Ecclestone to Hitler, but they do say that eventually all blogs will be reduced to someone comparing another to Hitler. To compare ruthless business tactics (Which is what delivered f1 don’t forget that) to the attrocities that Hitler commited is ridiculous. A meaningless comparison, and an insult to many.

          • Maciek said on 29th April 2011, 20:39


            You should read Ned’s post to the end and click the link…


            I’ll agree, though, that saying “can’t fail to be impressed with Hitler’s achievements” is in itself a questionable take on history.

        • Henry said on 28th April 2011, 19:43

          @ BBB

          I got a little carried away re: bernie, mainly the dwarfish comment was unnecessary, I regret that. And while I respect what the man has achieved I dont admire it, or him. Sorry. I will happily agree that some of what he has done, at some point, was probably pretty good for F1. But I was more taking issue with the way he always, always puts commercial again first. I know he is an employee with a responsibility, but I still view F1 as a sport not a business. In a stock-market listed company, which has as its primary aim growing value and revenue for its shareholders, I can understand more mindless pursuit of money, although I dont like it. And I know that F1 is essentially a business, and a big one. However I do like to pretend its a sport, once in a while. Naive, maybe, but I think there are worse things to be.

          • Bigbadderboom said on 29th April 2011, 11:48

            I agree, it’s an ugly simbiotic kind of relationship, one can’t exist without the other, and I would love the sport to exist without the business, but such is modern life. Recently I see the business as more of a parasite that feeds endlessly on F1, it is a shame, and i think Bernie should walk away now, but I do defend Bernie because I think too many people forget what he has done and too often jump on the bash Bernie band wagon. Bernie was good for F1, but perhaps his shelf life has expired.

  7. Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 28th April 2011, 13:13

    just the way he says “I suppose we’d be safe by early June or something like that” suggests to me that he’s making it up as he goes.. deciding himself the rules, like the queen!

    yay for the good old moral v financial debate

    • Hewis Lamilton said on 28th April 2011, 17:39

      Ironically, a couple of months back there was a picture of Bernie in the newspaper. A friend of mine told me he had seen the lady that runs Formula 1 in the paper. (the friend could care less about racing) I thought it was a joke, but he was sincere. He actually thought Bernie was a woman… the Queen comment made me remember.

  8. Todfod (@todfod) said on 28th April 2011, 13:23

    Well.. I guess that letter written to Bernie by the Bahraini youth had little, or no influence whatsoever on his decision. I really detest this old, greedy, cunning half-corpse of a human being.

  9. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 28th April 2011, 13:33

    Well, there’s a three week gap between China and Turkey, so Bernie has to keep F1 in the news. This is surely one way of doing it…

  10. Anthony said on 28th April 2011, 13:36


  11. Hamish said on 28th April 2011, 13:38

    “Things can change in a couple of weeks… so you don’t know. All of a sudden everything might be peaceful in a month’s time and they are happy to run the event and so we are happy to be there.”

    In other words, theres no power like military power.

  12. BBT (@bbt) said on 28th April 2011, 14:05

    Its no great loss, forget about it…. errr, do I mean the money or the race?

  13. Ol' Peculier said on 28th April 2011, 14:12

    I’d hope that if it did run, nobody went, including the teams if they could get away with it.

    Does Bernie have any sense of what is going on? He probably doesn’t know about the wedding tomorrow.

    The quote that “happy to run the event and so we are happy to be there.” is insane.

  14. Legend. Love Bernie. the world isn’t a perfect place, F1 has nothing to do with politics. If it’s safe for the teams, they should race. if not, they shouldn’t. That’s as far as it should go, F1 doesn’t need to get involved in any other aspect of the percieved problems in Bahrain. Don’t believe everything you see on the news.

    • Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 28th April 2011, 14:24

      well considering i see nothing on the news..
      you raise a fair point about staying apolitical though

    • Completely right. When it’s safe, let’s go race.

      • Absolute Rubbish.
        Racing in Bahrain makes the political statement that we belive the oppression is okay and we support the government. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: If you want to keep politics out of F1 keep f1 OUT of Bahrain.

        The other option is a revolting indifferance to the suffering of a brutally opressed people for an entertainment that can be got in completley peacfull a-political settings.

        • Hallard said on 28th April 2011, 21:22

          Too right, Scribe. People argue that F1 isnt political (and I wish it werent), but the fact of the matter is that F1 is political as long as people perceive it to be so. The intent here isnt relevant to the reality.

  15. If all of these problems are resolved in Bahrain by November, then I can’t see what’s wrong with having a race there.

    • Because it’s morally reprehensible to get our kicks in a manner that supports an oppressive governments decitfull narrative.

      It’ll only be safe because they detained, killed and used extreme force against members of an originally peacefull protest movement.

      I for one will not put up with that an will be boycotting the race. The broadcasters and teams should do so as well, if there is a race we’ll know a lot more about the people taking part.

      • F1 currently races in other countries with problems regarding human rights, albeit not to the same extent as Bahrain, but it doesn’t make it right. If Formula One refuses to be used as political tool, then they don’t have to be.

        If the whole situation is resolved, then it will just be an event in Bahrain which is part of its past. Virtually every country F1 races in has had political problems involving its citizens in the past.

        • Scribe (@scribe) said on 28th April 2011, 17:34

          Racing in Bahrain because it’s not the only country we go to with a poor human rights record is a classic two wrongs making right argument.

          Formula 1 unfortunaltey cannot currently refuse to be a political tool because it’s a prestigous bestowed international event sought by governments for political gain. The only way to change that would be to race only at private circuits such as Spa, Silverstone and Monza. The fact that we do race in China and Abu Dhabi doesn’t fill me with pleasure, in fact it’s deeply annoying that the sport that I love is used by totalitarian regimes to makes themselves look good. F1 shouldn’t be a political tool that’s completley right, however it is an we have to face up to that.

          Like you say if the entire situation was resolved we could race in Bahrain. That means, if the people in Bahrain had self detriminaition, that is the constitutional democracy the protestors demanded of their own accord the situation would all be resolved. If the protests are over because the government kills anyone that dares revolt then the whole situation is emphatically not over.

          Yes most F1 countries have rights violations in the past but thats entirley besides the point, it’s about what they’re doing now.

          It’s deeply unfortunate that Bernie Eccelstone has made a Grand Prix a vanity project for despots looking for a bit of international sparkle. The fact that having a race means something internationally does however mean that racing F1 in Bahrain would be a deeply political act and one in support of despots against the wishes of their people. To me at least that is unacceptable.

          • LAK said on 30th April 2011, 7:35

            I really appreciate you all being very concerned about my country and us as Bahrainis, so I thank you for that. But I do find it funny that many of the protesters have switched sides and left the opposition, and people are still going on about them being “oppressed”?! They realized that the opposition’s promises were useless and have pledged allegiance to King and Bahraini government. They do realize that being a part of the G.C.C. is much better than being ruled by the countries who are supporting them, just look at how Iran and Syria are treating their people. They still have their desires for reforms and the government still stands by their promise of giving it to them. They were never oppressed in the first place, and they know that the government will attend to their needs as it’s always have. They were just following orders from their religious leaders from other countries to support a coup for religious and political gains using the masses sending them off to face the troops and become “martyrs” while they sit back. Many protesters now are blaming the opposition leaders for what they did, and admitted that they followed their orders because they received threats if they didn’t.

            So my question is if Bahrainis are moving on and the protesters themselves say we don’t support the opposition anymore, why are people outside of Bahrain still defending them?

        • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 28th April 2011, 17:56

          Virtually every country F1 races in has had political problems involving its citizens in the past

          The past is irrelevant. Of course F1 has had opportunities to do the right thing in the past which it didn’t take. That’s unfortunate, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t choose to make a stand now

          • My point is if the situation in Bahrain ends, then it becomes part of its past, thus becoming irrelevant. If the race goes ahead whilst the conflict is still happening, then there’s a problem.

          • Scribe (@scribe) said on 28th April 2011, 18:47

            An my point is that it’s entirley dependent on how the situation ends. Like Ned say, F1 has the oppourtunity to do the right thing, make us proud for once. If it fails to do so, I hope as many people as possible boycott.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th April 2011, 9:57


    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th April 2011, 9:55

      While your statement is factually correct, the chances of that happening are almost non existant.

      If the government have cracked down hard on anyone close to resembling a possible regime critic now, how big is the chance they will get reforms towards respecting human rights, treating all parts of the population with the same regards and getting a more democratic government settled by half a year from now?

      Therefore a race will have to wait at least for another year, or rather for another decade.

  16. King Six said on 28th April 2011, 14:37

    It’s not just Bernie, the teams don’t care either. The complacency means that something would need to happen at the Bahrain GP this year (it will happen, the money means everything) so that you would never get this sort of thing happening in F1 again, and they would know their place.

    • Think Williams said they’d have boycotted it. I hope some of the others do.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th April 2011, 21:26

        I bet no-one would boycott it if it went ahead, except maybe HRT to save money.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th April 2011, 9:59

        I think many of the teams have stron reservations against going to Bahrain.

        Williams expressed them, as has Virgins Wirth. I think Renault GP was also pretty clear they would be none to happy to go. Just they will not talk about it too openly, as they know its better to push behind the scenes for now.

  17. butterdori (@butterdori) said on 28th April 2011, 15:09

    Change “all of a sudden”???
    What a load of ********…

  18. Hold on, I’m sure it was the FIA who imposed the 1 May deadline. Who’s calling the shots here, Bernie or the FIA?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th April 2011, 10:00

      Thats Bernie for you, pushing a bit just to get in the way of Todt!

      Sure its the FIA that has the call on this one.

  19. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th April 2011, 18:27

    Regardless of which ever way you look at it having an extra month will really make very little difference. You’re not going to just suddenly establish ‘peace’ and be able to instil confidence that it will remain that way.

    Bernie is really clutching at straws here. He has countries lining up to host a GP so why so worried? I’d rather Bahrain make way for another GP than any other circuit, not that I particularly dislike it, just my least favourite ;)

    • Andy c said on 28th April 2011, 21:06

      Proof that money talks Andrew.

      I’m disgusted that a country still under martial law can possibly be considered safe for f1 fans.

      The 4 people accused of murdering 2 policemen were refused access to solicitors then One solicitor was arrested. No attempt at a fair trial. If they are guilty of course they should be punished to the fill extent of the law. But justice is about a fair trial…

      Oh no hang on a second Bernie. You haven’t considered that for a minute have you?

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 28th April 2011, 21:49

        To be fair though, it’s not Bernie’s job to mediate. It’s his job to secure profit making Grand Prix. If anyone, it should be the FIA, not FOM.

  20. verstappen said on 28th April 2011, 23:30

    I still think there will be no race. Bernie’s just rattling Jean Todt and making sure that he can always claim: If it were my decision…

    Smart man. And everybody continues to be fooled by him – maybe I’m the cool this time, but I really expect no Bahrain this year.

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