Should the Bahrain Grand Prix be held in 2011?

Debates and polls

Start, Bahrain Grand Prix, 2010

Start, Bahrain Grand Prix, 2010

The Bahrain Motor Federation has until tomorrow to tell the FIA whether the Bahrain Grand Prix can take place this year.

The race was supposed to open the season on March 13th but was postponed after anti-government protests were violently suppressed.

There has already been much debate here over whether the race should go ahead. Cast your vote here and we’ll find out what the majority of F1 Fanatic readers think.


Bernie Ecclestone has pressed the case for holding a race in Bahrain as soon as possible:

“Formula One must never be political ?ǣ full stop. My job is it to do the best deals possible for Formula One ?ǣ to secure jobs. Five thousand people have jobs which are directly or indirectly connected to Formula One, and I want to secure these jobs.

“It is not my business to make politics. We have politicians for that.”

Ecclestone has said the organisers could be given more time to decide if the race should go ahead:


The Bahraini government has poured money into the Bahrain International Circuit. Holding a race there now would be a political act, giving a clear sign of support to the country’s ruling family.

In the weeks since the cancellation of the race details of human rights violations have emerged. The British Foreign Office advises against travelling to the country on safety grounds.

More details on the situation in Bahrain at present can be found here:

I say

Before the race was postponed I argued that it should be cancelled, and my view remains the same:

You say

Should the Bahrain Grand Prix be held this year? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should the Bahrain Grand Prix be held in 2011?

  • Yes (23%)
  • No (75%)
  • No opinion (2%)

Total Voters: 404

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130 comments on Should the Bahrain Grand Prix be held in 2011?

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  1. josephrobert (@josephrobert) said on 30th April 2011, 11:14

    voted no,

    • john said on 30th April 2011, 13:20

      even with the terrible human rights, the track is dull and produces boring races.

      • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 30th April 2011, 18:07

        The track is dull, but that’s not the issue here

        • Andy W (@andy-w) said on 30th April 2011, 20:09

          Agreed… Bernie may talk about F1 not being ‘political’ but to hold this race would not only be physically dangerous as it would undoubtedly spark protests and they could turn violent, but its also clearly a political statement supporting one side of the debate in a fraught situation….

          • Mack41 (@mack41) said on 30th April 2011, 22:24

            But not holding the race can also be viewed as a political statement. I voted no but no matter what they choose its going to have political ramifications, which is too bad. No one should care why or why not a race was or wasn’t held when there are human rights violations taking place.

          • Andy W (@andy-w) said on 1st May 2011, 14:17

            Yeah not going is a political statement…. Its a statement that states F1 is not going to countries where brutality is used a means of stamping out political discourse.

            Its remarkably similar to the stance taken against South Africa during apartheid…. F1 decided it was not in the best interests of the sport to be seen associating the sport with such a deeply immoral regime and that if it had done so it would do considerable damage to the reputation of the sport.

            My point is that I feel that Bernie is more interested in keeping his rich friends happy and is pretending that he can do that with the rhetoric he has been spouting… the reality is that this isn’t just a political issue, but also a moral and ethical one… and on all 3 arguments I come up with the answer of ‘no f1 race in Bahrain in the foreseeable future’.

      • Doance (@doance) said on 1st May 2011, 16:06

        but with the new pirelli tyres, it could well produce an exciting race

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 30th April 2011, 13:50

      Voted no too.

  2. RIISE (@riise) said on 30th April 2011, 11:19

    Nope, why risk what won’t really be missed?

  3. fordsrule (@fordsrule) said on 30th April 2011, 11:19

    I voted No, not because F1 should make a statement for the people of the country. But it just wont work, I dont see who would even go to the race, and there is no good spot for the Grand Prix to be placed in the calendar. Either dump it altogether or put it back in for next year, Not this year.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th April 2011, 11:21

    I voted yes – but only if it’s safe to go there. I agree with Ecclestone: Formula 1 should not be political. If the conditions in Bahrain are as poor as everyone is making them out to be, then it’s highly likely that the country is already passed the point where it stops being safe.

    • thatscienceguy said on 30th April 2011, 12:46

      You keep on with this line that F1 should not be political. Fine. But going there WILL be political, it WILL be used as a tool by the Bahrain Government to show all is well and “look at all the happy smiling Bahrainis”.

      Either way it will be political. You can’t stop it from being so.

      F1 made the wrong move by going to South Africa during apartheid when just about every other sport refused to go. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 30th April 2011, 14:04

        it WILL be used as a tool by the Bahrain Government to show all is well and “look at all the happy smiling Bahrainis”.

        Being used to make a political statement is different to makeing a political statement of your own. The government in Bahrain is quite capable of digging its own grave; it doesn’t need help from Formula 1. So let the race happen. Let the world criticise Bahrain for being more interested in the race than its people. Because it’s been quite clear for some time now that the only people who can make the race happen is the Bahrain government. It’s entirely their decision.

        • karan01 (@karan01) said on 30th April 2011, 14:48

          Having the race in Bahrain directly helps the ruling family and all the princes…all while the people suffer

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th April 2011, 14:54

          It should not be their desicion. These are the same people who try to convince their own population, that all of a sudden all the protests were Iran instignated and the bad guys are those protesting.

          Until the current day raids agains shia population, doctors, human rights activists and journalists are carried out by governemt troops, Saudi troops and thugs allied to the goverment. How is that a calm situation.

          Anyway, it won’t happen as the safety you see looks fine, is not there. An event like the GP would be just the perfect place for anyone to show their protests have not calmed down. Getting in, doing damage, hurting people or kidnapping team members, media representatives or visitors will all be pretty likely to be tried.

          • LAK (@lak) said on 30th April 2011, 19:06

            You all act as if the Bahraini people are all against the government, we certainly are not!! In fact most are with the government and many protesters have also switched sides and don’t agree with the opposition did. You all complain about the army, they aren’t killing innocent at all, come and have a look yourselves.. The opposition are have been feeding international media exaggerated lies to get people on their side, what about the innocent people of Bahrain who have endured a month of terrorism, abuse, and killings by the protesters? Don’t they have a right too?
            People outside of Bahrain fail to see the real picture. We are a peaceful and developed country that does not oppress or kill it’s people! The protesters have spoken on our behalf completely ignoring the other half of bahrainis! We have demands and reforms as well but we did not resort to their violent acts! We couldve resolved this peacefully, but they refused! Now they are getting punished for what they have done. We lived for a month with no law and they have proved themselves to be very chaotic and violent. Enough is enough, we couldn’t put up with their violence, hate and sectarianism. They killed innocent people, abused those from different sects, terrorized our children in schools, and abused patients in hospitals! We literally were too scared to leave our homes, and begged the government to intervene and protect it’s people. The government we extremely patient with them till killings happened this was where they thankfully stepped in! We just started to feel safe when the army came out, they are here to instill order, not kill..
            Bottom line is many Bahrainis support their government 100%, many Shia also do. If we have the race it’s not to please the princes as karan01 said, but to please the people first and foremost. You should see the hype on twitter about F1, everyone has been tweeting about it because they want it to happen for Bahrain. We feel we’ve been through a lot and came through (still are) and by the end of the season I imagine it would be a perfect event to celebrate and unite! After all we all love our country and want to always see it at it’s best form

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 30th April 2011, 19:41

            I’m sorry LAK, sure a large part of the population may be supportive of the government, but I ask you: why are they/you? Because they didn’t handle this at all well, and they aren’t willing to change anything for those who felt bad enough about it to protest, instead they put them in jail, or even to death, with a closed-doors trial. Do you honestly believe anyone is doing that because they have nothing to hide?

            The protesters were promised reforms, and then Saudi Arabia called in because they fear their own unfair policies might be exposed further if people are allowed to protest in Bahrain, and the conservative part of the government stepped in, and turned to blaming Iran. That’s about the same as Godwin’s internet law, really.

            That protesters are, after having seen people being harshly repressed say they don’t support change to save their live, or that of their family hardly seems an indication of a good government.

            No, the Bahraini government has shown they are afraid of people, and afraid of the Saudi’s (unless they are willing to go with what their leaders tell them is best). Maybe it will be quiet soon, and you might be very safe, but you know that you could find evidence of very bad deeds by that government if you dared to look deeper.

          • @bosyber with all due respect I due find it both funny and frustrating that everyone seems to have their own theories about what we Bahrainis feel. Why can’t people believe what we think and say. We have our opinion and outlook and understand our country and it’s political situation better than anyone else. Please keep that in mind, I’m not just defending the government because I have to, we have total freedom of speech. Look at how free the protesters were, I’m a 100% sure than if they did half of what they did here in other countries they’d be locked up a long time ago. Look at the London protests that happened recently, and this was only one day imagine a whole month!

            My government treats Bahrainis very well, no taxes, free healthcare, free education, they provide us with housing, and are constantly trying to improve. The King promised reforms and he did deliver, he promised 20,000 jobs, 50,000 housing units, did change around ministers, released the prisoners, all within the first weeks. They offered dialogue and said they were ready to discuss all their demands. Wasn’t this what the opposition wanted? Why didn’t they agree? The refused dialogue completely! Many of the opposition were also disappointed because most just wanted reforms and not to overthrow the regime.

            As we later found out they wanted to overthrow the regime, 3 of the opposition even went as far as announcing their own country. They were aiming to take over our country without even taking our opinion!! They spoke in the name of the people of Bahrain, while in reality the people of Bahrain did not agree with them! The masses at the roundabout were controlled by the few opposition leaders. The opposition got their orders from outside, there is substantial proof of Iran’s involvement, even Hillary Clinton urged Iran not to meddle with Bahrain.

            It was the GCC troops that came and helped us, not just Saudi Arabia. As you know Bahrain is part of the GCC and the Peninsula Shield army serves all members of the GCC. Saudi Arabia is a very close ally and they also do not agree with someone else ruling Bahrain so they and the rest of the GCC countries supported us by sending troops in case they are needed. When the troops are in Bahrain they are under Bahrain’s command. They are just here as extra help, but Bahrainis are running everything. I hope this explains the picture a bit more..

          • Mike said on 1st May 2011, 5:38

            LAK, Surely you can see that there are some people, even if only a few, who are not happy with the government right?

            My government treats Bahrainis very well, no taxes, free healthcare, free education, they provide us with housing, and are constantly trying to improve.

            For some yes, but I think it is quite clear that some other people, are not treated as well as that. It doesn’t make sense that so many people would be protesting if things were not problematic for them.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st May 2011, 12:05

            LAK, even if all you say is the complete picture (I will not debate that here and now), after hard crackdowns there are bound to be a considerable group of people who have far stronger feelings about toppling the government then they will have had before.

            No government will ever be able to control everything to such an extent that no one will be able to stage an act of violence in such unstable circumstances. And with international warnings against travel still upheld, and the state of emergency in force, you can hardly deny this still a very volatile situation.

          • FreedomFighter110 said on 1st May 2011, 15:15

            This is the safety Bahrain’s police offer its people, and if we go for the F1, I don’t think much will change


          • Andy W (@andy-w) said on 2nd May 2011, 8:08

            @Lak, very few people out side Bahrain actually know WHAT is going on, even less people who are fans of F1 really understand…. Not because we don’t care or because we aren’t interested… but because information just isn’t getting out.

            Now you speak of your personal experiences in the country and whilst I will cast no aspersions of being a stooge at you, I can neither stand up and say you are telling the truth, or that the truth you are telling mirrors the reality of what other Bahrainis(?) is.

            I think the general will of F1 fans is that a) we want to help the people of Bahrain. b) we want to see F1 races, but races where the racing is the major news story not protests, and suppression of protests. c) we don’t want our sport to make things worse….

            and its point c) that I think is the ‘most’ important one to F1 fans. Regardless of who is really causing trouble in Bahrain and what type of trouble they are causing (and I suspect that both sides have blood on their hands) bringing the F1 circus to town is going to give the protesters the global spotlight and they will try and use it to highlight their cause (however just or unjust it is) and that will bring a response from the authorities (however appropriate that response is or isn’t).

          • dans said on 6th June 2011, 14:17

            Heres one from the early protests when they thought no one was watching.


        • Mike said on 30th April 2011, 15:04

          But obviously allowing yourself to be used to make a political statement is siding yourself with that political statement.

          Going to Bahrain says the events there a a-ok.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th April 2011, 17:20

      I voted yes – but only if it’s safe to go there.

      The British Foreign Office advises against travelling to the country on safety grounds.

      So a no it is then.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 1st May 2011, 17:09

      Agreed. I don’t like mixing sport with politics.

      Fair enough if the Bahrain government poured money into the circuit but as a motorsport fan it’s just as good as anyone elses tarmac.

  5. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 30th April 2011, 11:26

    I voted no. Just too soon; the race would be held as a direct consequence of gunning down protesters.

  6. If the FIA have given Bahrain the all clear then Yes Formula One should go ahead their this year.

  7. wigster (@wigster) said on 30th April 2011, 11:39

    I voted no, but not for any political reason. As the situation is still too unstable to be there this weekend, I can’t see how we can safely assume it will be safe to have a race there come November so its best not to waste time and money organising it for later in the season and risking another cancellation and or negative publicity.

  8. Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 30th April 2011, 11:49

    obviously no. No F1 race is worth it at the cost of putting f1 drivers or any f1 related crew’s life at risk. and not like this is the last time f1 is taking place. there will be an F1 2012. so it can always be hosted again.

    ensuring the safety of f1 fans and f1 people isnt political. its common sense.

  9. Chippie (@chippie) said on 30th April 2011, 11:54

    No, it wouldn’t be practical to go there this year, and it wouldn’t be right to go there in a year when all this started. Though 2012, if it’s safe – go ahead. Incidentally, who has been the guy handing out the trophies at Bahrain in the last few years? Has it been the crown prince?

  10. teeb123 said on 30th April 2011, 12:02

    I don’t think they should race there this year because the races are always very dull. The only time they can fit the bahrain gp is after the final grand prix in abu dhabi. I dont want the last race of the year being a boring procession.

  11. George (@george) said on 30th April 2011, 12:06

    Before the race was originally cancelled I was all for hosting it, but I think it’s too late now. It’s too difficult to fit it into the schedule and it would give the newspapers and lefties something else to rag F1 over.

  12. Dal (@dal) said on 30th April 2011, 12:16

    Sure include it, its an extra race for the season – it may actually have an impact of the results. BUT…. please do not let it replace Brazil as the last race, no way do I want to watch the final on BORErain.

  13. infy (@infy) said on 30th April 2011, 12:20

    I voted yes, if the violence has stopped.

    F1 should not be used as a tool for lawless protesters and murderous criminals to highlight their acts.

    • thatscienceguy said on 30th April 2011, 12:54

      what about legitimising lawless and murderous governments?

      • infy said on 30th April 2011, 17:30

        Police and the army dont use force unless they are provoked, and that is the reality of it.

        The protests became violent AGAINST the forces that were there to prevent them from damaging state assets. Those state forces then exercised their rights to defend themselves and to protect the state assets. If the protestors had kept peaceful, they would have had no blood on their hands.

        I’m a South African and it feels like just yesterday that we were fighting against the apartheid system. I have seen with my own eyes how a small group of extremist protestors can turn things into a big mess. As a protestor myself, I know that the media dont always paint a very fair, or true picture as to who started the fights.

        • MagillaGorilla said on 1st May 2011, 3:40

          What dream sequence are you living in? There are plenty of peaceful protest that were held in the past and present that led to violent acts by the LAW against peoples rights. MLK, Russia and China during communist reigns, South Africa, Libya, Iran, Yemen, and Syria to name a few. Gov’t aren’t here to protect and hold like you think they do at times act on their own accords because of power they hold. Wake up and realize that people dont always provoke gov’ts. Also Gov’t have been known to provoke protestors to legitimize attacking back.

        • Mike said on 1st May 2011, 8:34

          Police and the army dont use force unless they are provoked, and that is the reality of it.

          I’m quite sure that’s one of the things the protesters are fighting for…

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd May 2011, 9:47

          Actually in most countries one of the most important parts of training police is NOT to be provoked by individuals looking for escalation.

          That is one of the things police/riot police should be better for than the army, the fact that they know how to react or not to react to avoid any escalation.

  14. I wonder if all other sporting events have been cancelled in Bahrain this year?

  15. Oliver said on 30th April 2011, 12:25

    Yes it should be held, but only if it’s on a video game.
    Seriously, the last thing F1 needs is for the riots t take place on the track and thus hace their security shooting at people on live TV.
    The country has much more serious issues than F1 , and they should sort them out.

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