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.


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. No no no no no no no!

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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…’

  14. It should never take place again.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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……

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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