Start, Bahrain Grand Prix, 2010

Should the Bahrain Grand Prix be held in 2011?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

For

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:

Against

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?”

  1. voted no,

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

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

        1. 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….

          1. 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.

          2. 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’.

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

    2. Voted no too.

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

    1. It should be about human rights though, not boring races

      1. Well, considering they only went there because Greedy Bernie received a sack of cash with no regard for F1 interest, now it is backfiring on him.

        1. I agree, this is the consequence of axing France, Austria and the second Italian and German races for venues like this.

  3. 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. 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.

    1. thatscienceguy
      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.

      1. 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.

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

        2. 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.

          1. 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

          2. 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.

          3. @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..

          4. 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.

          5. 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.

          6. FreedomFighter110
            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
            ——————————————–

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w38rPtQgpFQ
            ———————————————-
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R8CCcITJgI&feature=related
            ———————————————-
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx46SXdMHHA

          7. @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).

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

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7OmTWkfqjo&NR=1

        3. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. That was my reasoning for voting no.
        But I do share the F1 should not be political line of thinking.

      2. Or a yes, when they change that advise.

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

      1. What I said.

        1. Well, it doesn’t make sense. It’s not like the protestors were blocking the race from happening and they were shot to clear a path to the circuit.

          1. Here maybe I’ll be able to put in a way you won’t be able to twist around: if the situation is appeased to the point that the race can be held in safety it will be the direct result of the use of force against civilians. Is that really what you want from your sport?

          2. That wasn’t my point and you know it.

          3. That wasn’t my point and you know it.
            No, but the way you present your argument makes it look like the race was the sole point of protest. It’s not nearly as simple as you make it out since the race itself was not a part of the protests.

    1. No it wouldn’t, a massacre such as that would only make it worse and incur less chance of a race being held.

      What a strange comment.

      1. The country is not safe to hold a race. Why? Because protests are being met with an armed response. The country is under martial law. There are only two ways this will end:

        1) The government agrees to reform.
        2) The protests are silenced by the arrests and executions.

        There you go.

        1. Are you talking about China?

    2. Seems clear to me, I fully agree with that.

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

  7. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    1. Boring procession… like Abu Dhabi is?

      But the final race this year is Interlagos I believe.

      1. michaela light
        30th April 2011, 16:42

        i think the last race should be india, a much better and safer country, not bahrain or abu dhabi

  11. 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. 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. 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.

    1. thatscienceguy
      30th April 2011, 12:54

      what about legitimising lawless and murderous governments?

      1. 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.

        1. MagillaGorilla
          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.

        2. 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…

        3. 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?

    1. The annual Oil Polo championship is still going ahead apparently.

  15. 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.

  16. I don’t see any reason for F1 to go to Bahrain, whatever the political situation.

  17. I agree F1 should never be political. And that’s why we should go back next year, if the situation has calmed down then.

  18. A couple of points.

    If, as is stated above, the British government has advised against travel to Bahrain then any British issued travel insurance will be invalid. That means any team or journalist based in Britain will be traveling at their own risk. Not likely to happen.

    If the race is held then there will be demonstrations at the track. The protesters will do anything to get on live world-wide television and the security forces will be desperate to stop them. I, for one, do not want a gran Prix to be a flash point for more violence.

    No race this year.

  19. No. I could go into more detail, but I think all of the sensible, conscientious people on the site are in agreement by now, so why bother trying in vain to persuade the stubborn?

    1. but I think all of the sensible, conscientious people on the site are in agreement by now

      I agree that the race shouldn’t go ahead, but its really arrogant to presume that people who disagree with you aren’t sensible and have no conscience. I think that most of the time its impossible to separate sport and politics, but arguing that we should try our best to do so is perfectly valid.

      1. Your point is valid Ads, but I’m with Ned on this one – as I’ve said before in other threads, the separation of sports and politics is a false debate in the case of Bahrein. people getting shot at for demanding change from an autocratic government is not ‘politics’.

      2. It is of course a bit arrogant. It’s not something I would normally argue, but, judging by some of the more inconsiderate comments I’ve read on the site over the last few weeks, for once I think it’s justified

        1. I really appreciate your concerns Ned for the Bahraini people, dont get me wrong, but ignoring how the majority of Bahraini people feel is also a bit inconsiderate. I just want to get the message across that there is another side to the Bahrain issue and no we are not the government and are not the ones killing and terrorizing. Thanks to the measurements taken by our government, we feel safe. Bahrain is a country of law and order, and we refuse to live in the chaos we were in.
          This is not about reform, it is now known they had much bigger plans. We have the same demands for reform and there are legal ways to ask for them, not plan a coup to overthrow the government.

          1. If this majority you claim is so large, how is it possible that they can’t get an international forum? The ‘much bigger plans’ I assume is a reference to Iran. Surely Iran isn’t popular in Western media (to say the least). Are you claiming that all journalists, including the likes of Robert Fisk and others are just plain lying to have another ‘revolt in the Arab world’ story? I’m not a specialist on Bahraini history, but to the outside, the Gulfstates remind me of how 19th century nationstates liked to portray themselves (that is, the bourgeois-upper class part). ‘There is no governmental repression’, ‘a large portion of the population sides with the government’, ‘the government is just keeping the peace/order’, ‘we’re more civilized than ever’ and a classic ‘the riots are instigated by a foreign power trying to undermine our own government’.

            p.s.: I don’t mean that the Gulf is some backward region, it just looks all too familiar to a historian.

          2. I am pretty much with xtophe on this LAK. The simple fact that state violence was needed to make a large part of the population feel secure show the picture is not as simple and clear lined as you see it.

            A lot of people in the world have learnt to take the stern messages from their governments with a big pinch of salt, as a government will always try to show its side of the picture. That is why we need opposition and independent media, something Bahrain has, for now, forsaken.

  20. An easy no for me. I agree with Ecclestone that F1 shouldn’t be political, but when the government orders the police to gun down unarmed protesters in the streets that is just a step too far.

    1. Agree thhat Bernie is right, F1 shouldnt get inolved in 1 countries politics, but visiting Barhain opens F1 up to be an involentry tool to which people can use for their causes whether F1 wants to be or not. Easiest way is to let them sort it out with the proper channals.

  21. No no no no no no no!

    It would be disgraceful to return there with what is going on.

  22. No.

    And Qatar shouldn’t be hosting the World Cup either

    You can’t help but make sport political, since for decades now authoritarian regimes have been using large global sporting events to legitimize their regimes. Hitler used the Olympics, Mussolini had the World Cup, Franco had Real Madrid, etc.

    We should be sanctioning these nations as a way to prevent their rulers from turning around and telling their citizens that there is no hope for them since all these wealthy people from the west and democratic nations de facto support them through their support of their sporting events.

    Sporting events with global audiences are used as a political tool as a way to convey strength and stability – and we have a collective responsibility as representatives of the free world to take that tool away from dictators.

  23. I voted yes, assuming that it is safe for the drivers, fans etc.

    I don’t approve of human rights imperialism and exported revolutions. More saliently, I like Formula 1 and I want to see this grand prix.

    Since the default for 2011 would be for the grand prix to go ahead as scheduled, there is an asymmetry between how strong a political statement it would be to keep the grand prix vs. cancelling it, which is worth the consideration of those in favour of cancelling.

    If however the Bahrain Grand Prix is to be cancelled for political reasons, I propose that in keeping with the spirit of this new human-rights-conscious F1 we also cancel:

    Malaysia – due to institutional racism against Indians and Chinese ethnic minorities, and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers

    China – denial of freedoms of speech, press and religion

    Turkey – torture of prisoners, oppression of Kurds and Kurdish secessionists

    Brazil – police violence and torture

    Abu Dhabi – mistreatment of foreign workers

    India – caste system still in effect, police abuses and corruption

  24. It’s dangerous. But if they can avoid the danger to fans and teams then sure! I don’t care about the Bahrain people.

    1. Sometimes, I just wish exceptions could be made to the personal insults/ swearing site rules, because how else can we reply to comments like this?…

      1. Nice Ned, happy Ned….

        But I agree.

  25. No. Preparations have been made for the entire rest of the season. There is no reason to ask others to move now. Throw in the human rights violations, I just don’t think it’s appropriate.

    If the race happens, it would be interesting to see if the teams will not go.

  26. Corvette (@)
    30th April 2011, 17:00

    Hey Bernie, you are just the politician over there, aren’t you?

  27. bigbadderboom
    30th April 2011, 17:57

    No it should be cancelled this year. But only because the whole situation has attracted far too much public attention. And as we can see here there is too much negative feeling. Purely for that reason be it right or wrong the race should be returned to next years calender when the situation may be resolved.
    F1 cannot avoid becoming entangled in a public relations nightmare should it be forced through, Bernie may have good intentions of keeping the sport A-Political but it is now unavoidable and Bahrain for this year should be given a wide berth.

  28. My opinion has not changed, I am in favour of having the race if F1 personnel can go there safely. If not, then there’s no race.

    That’s the only thing that should be of importance to F1.

    1. I agree with this, mainly, with the caveat being that if, as speculated elsewhere in the thread, the only way to bring security in time for the Grand Prix is through brutal crackdown against mainly peaceful citizenry, then that’s too high a price to pay for a race.

    2. So what do you say about following the travel advice given by, amonst others, the UK and rather not go?

  29. I don’t want to say no straight away just incase the situation concludes peacefully, though at this rate that’s unlikely. If it continues or ends not so well, then it wouldn’t be right to put the race on.

    At the rate things are going I would say leave the race alone and let Bahrain sort out their problems.

  30. At the end of the day all that I care about is that races go ahead. The more races the better. Safety of the travelling circus is a must. But I really couldn’t care less about the Bahraini government & their people.

    1. If you feel good about yourself, than thats your right. Personally I think not caring at all is sad.

  31. I seriously doubt that Bernie will forgo shoehorning a race for Bahrain into this year’s schedule unless rebels have literally taken over the pits. After all, it’s a country of virtually unlimited wealth and Bernie certainly won’t pass on sucking on that teat.

  32. Lucas "Mr. Veloce"
    30th April 2011, 19:00

    I personally don’t think Bahrain should be held this year, or any other year along with Turkey for that matter. I do remember Bernie saying he wanted loads of races, possibly 20 or 25 in a season and he would need to drop a few ‘Unsuccessful races’, which he claims means getting rid of Spa and Nurburgring, WHAT? Those two are extremley successful, the crowds that turn up are unbelieveable. Bahrain and Turkey barely get any grandstands filled at all, I even remember a friend who went to the Turkish Grand Prix and he and the people he went there with were the only people in the grandstands. All Bernie wants is money, and that selfish shorty will ruin the sport. Top tip Bernie, get rid of these races where there are less people who turn up than the cars on the grid.

  33. It should be cancelled. It’s too much of a risk, so in not having the race we avoid any doubts and fears that the Grand Prix could make things worse. I hate that Bernie Ecclestone so flippantly says ‘Well I suppose it could be alright in a month…’

  34. It should never take place again.

  35. I would like to pretend that I cared one way or the other, but to be honest I don’t.

    If the race is held, I will watch it, if it isn’t held, than I am not going to miss it.

    I still think that Formula 1 would be setting a dangerous precedent if they started boycotting countries due to internal political situations. The situation and protests in Bahrain might be legitimate in the eyes of the majority of people (they are to me anyway), but if Formula 1 boycots one country, what is to stop nut jobs, with screwed agendas (i.e. The Save Albert Park mob) in other countries from launching protests and rioting if they know that is all it takes to get some exposure to their agenda, and get a Grand Prix cancelled.

    1. There are countless ways to debunk Ecclestone’s “F1 should not be political” claim (he didn’t seem to think that way when he tried to donate a million pounds to the Labour party).

      But for one moment, let’s take these words of Ecclestone’s at face value.

      What he is therefore saying is “we will go anywhere for the right price”. So, providing they pony up the dough, make room on the calendar for Grands Prix in North Korea, Zimbabwe and Myanmar (Burma).

      Now, we can either take Ecclestone at face value and believe that he truly would take F1 to such appalling regimes. If so, then any sensible person would consider what he is saying to be utterly unacceptable.

      Or, as I do, presume that Ecclestone is being characteristically disingenuous when he says “F1 should not be political”.

      He is in fact drawing a line and deciding which regimes are too tainted for F1 to touch. And he is plainly desperate to keep Bahrain in the game and continue cashing its cheques – while covering his ears to the growing concerns over the situation in the country.

      It’s not as if he hasn’t got previous in this department – remember how long F1 stayed in South Africa.

      It is disappointing how little comment on this there has been in the wider F1 media. Presumably no-one wants to upset Ecclestone.

      1. I’d never really considered that, but it is pretty disapointing. Joe Saward, to be fair to him, has had a lot to say on the issue, and at least F1 Fanatic is confronting the problem.

        However, I do fear that you might be in line for a late night visit from a few of Ecclestone’s goons if you keep writing anything which might get in the way of his money-making…

        1. Hired goons?

          I think most sites have been playing it safe by concentrating on the, err, safety aspect of it without going into the moralities of the situation.

          Memories of the bloodshed are too fresh and the issue is just a giant lead weight in our enjoyment of the season. Let’s go back next year if we can.

          1. LOL nice one there with the simspons reference!

      2. I prefer to think that Bernie expresses an ideal rather than reality. In an ideal world, sport would be able to function without worrying about politics. Unfortunately politics is a messy discipline that insists on putting its metaphorical fingers into everything, so in practise F1 has to take politics into some sort of consideration.

        The practical matter at hand is how and where the compromises between sport, politics and the other matters relevant to F1’s continued existence should be placed given that we live in a world of pre-existing compromises.

      3. There are countless ways to debunk Ecclestone’s “F1 should not be political” claim (he didn’t seem to think that way when he tried to donate a million pounds to the Labour party).

        Holy disingenuity Batman! A bribe is political? It’s just business sense that you “hire” the right politicians for your cause.

        Ecclestone said they raced in South Africa even when it had long been politically incorrect to do so. That’s what he means about F1 being a-political.

        I realy don’t understand how people can say F1 shouldn’t because it’s such a bad regime. What about China? Singapore? Malaysia? Or for that matter even countries like Turkey and India?

        To be honest F1 doesn’t seem to care much about safety either. Every year F1 teams and reporters (and who knows how many fans) get mugged and robbed in Brazil.

  36. I love F1 and want to see as many races as I can in the year but not at any expense. I believe that despite any political issue, there might be a safety concern as well, no matter how small that may or may not be it is still a risk.
    So my answer is definately NO.

  37. Think it is time for this one to be pulled, draw a line under it and move forward looking to the rest of the season, without this hanging over the heads of all involved. It can be revisited for next year if the situation stabilizes within the country, but come come enough already, Moving on……

  38. I don’t think the Grand Prix should be held this year. I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s going on in Bahrain, but I do know that I have seen more than one video of tanks and army personnel in Bahrain shooting people dead when there was no immediate danger.

    And that’s indefensible, no matter what “side” you are on.

    1. Plain and simple but very true.

  39. I would love to see the race but it’s better not to hold this year.I guess Bernie somehow will manage to hold the race.

  40. What’s the big deal – a bunch of cars going around on a piece of asphalt – who cares were it’s at? Have all races in America and Europe and screw the dictators. Bernie E follows the same principals as the world did when it was to weak to boycott Hitlers olympics. He’s a small greedy bootlicker.

  41. Ecclestone says that F1 shouldn’t be political?

    He’s right it shouldn’t – But we all know that it is one of the most political sports out there…

    I voted no – Even with DRS and KERS – Nothing bar a substantial make over can make this dull Tilke designed processional highway exciting…

  42. The whole ‘F1 shouldn’t be political’ argument is pointless. No matter how Bernie will spin it, in the end going there is a political statement by endorsing the regime’s brutal policies towards its people. It’s just as much a political statement as not going. The only correct decision is NOT to go to Bahrain untill matters are settled peacefully there. What price is the F1 paddock willing to pay to ensure its own safety?

    1. It’s not so much that by going to Bahrain F1 is saying “We support gunning down protesters”, it’s more that the country itself is saying “We’re so cool, we can have an F1 race even after having to have tanks in the street.”

      If Bernie had said “F1 lives in its own bubble and so long as it’s safe nothing else matters” it would be insensitive but at least logical. The apolitical argument is ridiculous.

      I personally don’t care F1 is used by China, Abu Dhabi etc. because I like to think people are smart enough to see past the happy facade. But when you have tanks down the road, it’s safe to say you’ve passed the limit.

      1. China had tanks on the road to beat down protesters too …

        Not sure why tanks are so important. Seems a bit arbitrary. I’d say unwarranted violence against protesters is as much a problem. China kills protesters on a regular basis.

        1. 1) They weren’t tanks in downtown Shanghai months before F1 was in town.

          2) I never said it had to be tanks. It’s just an example.

          1. Dozens if not hundreds of protesters get killed by Chinese security forces every couple of years.

        2. So are you now arguing for the China race to be dropped as well Patrickl?

          1. Yeah why not? Apparently people can’t stomach F1 racing in countries with oppressive regimes. I say pull back from China, Singapore, Abu-Dhabi, Bahrain, Malaysia, Turkey and India. There is no other way is there?

            Maybe some more European races instead?

  43. I voted yes. Of course only if the situation is save enough to drive. AFAIK there are no riots going on there anymore.

    Although the recent death penalty for 4 people convicted of police officers could hotten things up again.

    I see no reason to cancel a race for political reasons. We just had a race in China. Why race there and not in Bahrain?

  44. Not only in 2011 but forever it should not be held. We do not want races in countries that behave in such a violent wat to its people.

  45. mohammed almeslimani
    1st May 2011, 14:54

    we want bahrain F1

    It’s safe here :)

  46. The Bahrain government has shown it’s true colours to the world, there is no way F1 should go there whilst the current regime persists. They have arrested doctors and other medical staff who treated injured protesters and are threatening them with the death penalty – http://english.aljazeera.net/video/middleeast/2011/05/201151145514937193.html

  47. NO to this despicable race!!!

  48. Voted “yes”.

    Sports should stay out of politics and politics should stay out of sports.

  49. I believe Bernie has persuaded the FIA that the only reason Bahrain isn’t able to say ‘yes’ at the moment is because fans would abandon F1 in their thousands and the race would be boycotted. He wants to wait until Bahrain has faded from the public eye again, so they can get away with hosting the race without people leaving F1.

  50. Dull track, unstable political situation, some fear perhaps. Voted no.

  51. Chris Goldsmith
    19th May 2011, 11:01

    I’ve not missed a race in over ten years, but if Bahrain go ahead I certainly won’t be watching. It’s easy to say that sport and politics should stay separate, but when the race itself is paid for by the Crown Prince (a man directly linked with the murder of protestors and the silencing of the media) it’s impossible to do that. In this situation, the race is a political thing. The only way to keep politics out of it, is to refuse to hold the race.

  52. There’s a Facebook campaign for this now too – become one of the Fans Against the Bahrain Grand Prix here: http://facebook.com/fabgp

    Keith – will you be joining other F1 blogs and boycotting coverage of the Bahrain GP should it actually go ahead?

    1. I’ve explained my point of view on the race before:

      Bernie Ecclestone must cancel the Bahrain Grand Prix

      As for a boycott, I’m not convinced either way at the moment so if anyone has a view on that share it here.

  53. sid_prasher (@)
    6th June 2011, 19:33

    Voted No
    – because it has missed the deadline and it messes up rest of the season.
    Still maintain that FIA is not a political organization – any pressure that needs to be put on Bahrain Govt has to come from the governments of other countries or the UN. If no govt has officially broken ties with Bahrain, its unreasonable to expect FIA to do so (it anyways has no influence in these matters).

  54. Bahrain Wants F1 (@)
    7th June 2011, 8:51

    I am sorry to say that a have read a lot of well whishing but ill-informed comments on why it should be shut down. The country has been a victim of clever Iranian backed plot that hides behind legitimate calls for reforms, but usurps them in favor of installing a surrogate regime to Iran.

    Nevertheless, the government has lifted the martial law early, and King personally made a clear call for national dialogue with a genuine effort to deliver reforms and living condtion improvements. The opposition have welcomed this and GP reinstatemment. Yet people continue to shoot down this race and our nation.

    Let me ask; did they shut down Silverstone when the London riots occurred earlier this year? There were deaths, teargas and arrests? Yet, the UK was viewed as country that had every right to look after law and order. Be fair and hold us to the same standard.

    1. Please Mr/Mrs or whatever.

      If you want to write espionage novels on Iran plots to take over your country (if you indeed are from Bahrain) do it on your own forum or blog.
      Your government, nor any other source has given whatsoever report/investigation let alone evidence that Iran was doing any such thing or that they even were in a position to do so.

      It is perfectly understandable if you have not noted, but Iran faced protests remarkably similar to those in Bahrain very recently. Sadly they reacted just about the same way your government did, and were rightly condemned for it. Possibly by Bahrain as well.

  55. luis-albert
    7th June 2011, 12:06

    I say YES, briefly guys look @ the previous years. Bahrain has hosted the event with great sucess, myself been there twice and I am very positive it will be great this year too. Go go Bahrain F1

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