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?

  1. IceBlue (@iceblue) said on 30th April 2011, 18:40

    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.

  2. Lucas "Mr. Veloce" said on 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.

  3. Electrolite said on 30th April 2011, 21:12

    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…’

  4. pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 30th April 2011, 21:26

    It should never take place again.

  5. 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th April 2011, 21:54

      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.

      • Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 30th April 2011, 22:06

        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…

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 30th April 2011, 22:17

          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.

      • 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.

      • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 1st May 2011, 11:45

        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.

  6. Steve said on 30th April 2011, 21:48

    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.

  7. 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……

  8. 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.

  9. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 1st May 2011, 3:13

    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.

  10. nakos said on 1st May 2011, 4:37

    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.

  11. SwEEp (@sweep) said on 1st May 2011, 8:30

    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…

  12. Steve said on 1st May 2011, 10:17

    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?

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 1st May 2011, 10:27

      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.

      • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 1st May 2011, 20:26

        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.

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 2nd May 2011, 9:43

          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.

          • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 2nd May 2011, 22:14

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

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd May 2011, 9:50

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

          • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 2nd May 2011, 22:09

            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?

  13. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 1st May 2011, 11:19

    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?

  14. devotee (@devotee) said on 1st May 2011, 11:55

    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.

  15. mohammed almeslimani said on 1st May 2011, 14:54

    we want bahrain F1

    It’s safe here :)

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