Bahrain protesters turn attention to F1 race

F1 Fanatic round-up

Bahrain International Circuit, 2004In the round-up: Bahrain protesters turn their attention to the forthcoming Grand Prix.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Bahrain youths protest against Formula One (Google News)

“‘We (object to) holding a sports race that belittles the sacrifices of our children and ignores our suffering and wounds,’ said a statement read by a youth dressed in a white death shroud and a black hood, according to a video posted online. ‘Do not tarnish the reputation of the respected auto sport with the blood of Bahrain victims.’”

Bahraini protester dies after being shot at demonstration (Reuters)

“Mohammed bu Daniel said his cousin was taking pictures of a demonstration when what he described as “militia members” in an unmarked car opened fire on him. ‘They took him to Salmaniya hospital and he was martyred there at 4:30.’”

Extreme thrills at F1 village (Gulf Daily News)

“Passengers will be taken on an almost one-minute ride to the top of a tower and hear a countdown before being released to free fall 36 metres and swing across Bahrain International Circuit (BIC)’s F1 Village at speeds of up to 120kph.”

The principal reasons behind the successes in Formula One (The National)

“The role of team principal in Formula One is as varied as it is complicated: McLaren-Mercedes’s principal does not do the same job as Force India’s, nor do either men undertake the same duties as the man in charge of the Ferrari team.”

Comment of the day

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about Sergio Perez joining Ferrari. Bananarama makes the case for the switch:

I think Perez at Ferrari wouldn?t be a bad thing for either side. He is talented but inexperienced, he can learn extremely much in such a big team and especially from a driver like Alonso who is possibly the best out there (my opinion). Once Alonso decides it was enough for him, Perez will be the experienced one in the team and maybe get a new promising one by his side. Or Hamilton or Vettel.
Bananarama

From the forum

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If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to F1′s oldest surviving world champion, Sir Jack Brabham, who turns 86 today.

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117 comments on Bahrain protesters turn attention to F1 race

  1. CarnivorousPope (@) said on 2nd April 2012, 0:25

    Can’t say it wasn’t expected. Just wish the backup plan was France or Austria though and not just a cancellation. It’s a joke that this was put in again this year and I just wish they had thought it through properly.

    • Zadak said on 2nd April 2012, 0:33

      I think I remember Turkey being mentioned as a backup plan.

      But Bernie and the Bahrain Royals seem more confident this time around

      • CarnivorousPope (@) said on 2nd April 2012, 0:34

        Turkey is definitely a better track. But unfortunately I think it will just be cancelled. I’d be happy to be wrong though.

        • xeroxpt (@) said on 2nd April 2012, 1:38

          a better track if you’re are talking about peace or design ? It fails on both the longest most deadly war in the last 10 years is on turkey not bahrain. About design if that was what you’re talking yes turkey has a better design but Bahrain is a better race track if you exclude the 2010 GP the first GPs at bahrain were fun with several double overtaking moves.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 3:12

            @ukfanatic – I’m pretty sure he means it would be a more-appropriate circuit because there is no fighting or demonstrations (however accurate or innaccurate that statement might be). Using the political turmoil in Bahrain as an excuse not to visit the circuit because the circuit itself is underwhelming is a pretty appalling stance to take.

      • vjanik said on 2nd April 2012, 10:04

        i think the Kurds would disagree with that.

        if you cancel Bahrain for their violence against their own people, and for their human rights violations, then replacing it with Turkey would be quite ironic.

    • Carl (@ayrtonclark) said on 2nd April 2012, 9:46

      Couldn’t agree more @carnivorouspope

  2. Spinmastermic (@spinmastermic) said on 2nd April 2012, 0:47

    Either it’ll get cancelled or there’ll be one hell of a protest.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:31

      It’s simple. Protesters are eager to make their voices heard and Formula 1 represents the best stage in months for them. It’s the same thing people who go to protest in Davos or wherever a G8 Summit is taking place. Protesters want cameras, journalists, TV. Seems that Bernie and Bahraini authorities are out of touch because the only way to stop protesters is by the use of force (I predict, brutal force) that will not paint a gracious picture, too bad I’m year to hear a team voicing their concern or opposition to this unnecessary show.

  3. Gaston (@golarrazabal) said on 2nd April 2012, 0:50

    *start of unrelated comment*

    Well, I just finished watching the Malaysian GP, after a weeklong self-imposed blackout. It was difficult, but well worth it!

    *end of unrelated comment*

  4. Kevin Campos (@kcampos12) said on 2nd April 2012, 0:58

    A little of topic but i just wanted to say i was really impressed with today’s Indy car race. I’ve never watched Indy Cars before and never really gave it a chance. i was interested because of Barrichello and i can see myself following the sport in the near future.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 1:31

      How’d Rubens go?

    • OOliver said on 2nd April 2012, 5:30

      The last time I followed Indy was when Mansell raced there.
      There were some big names there albeit late in their careers. Lots of ex F1 superstars some in their late 40s.
      The cars were fast, but the engine note didn’t do it for me.

    • hey (@hey) said on 2nd April 2012, 12:38

      Same for me my friend, minus the never having watched it before. As it was on SkyF1 last weekend, and there was no F1 this weekend I decided to stick it on. The first race was poor, but this one was quite good. I couldn’t beleive I actually got excited when Rubens and Bourdais were making moves towards the end of the race. Shows good promise for when push-to-pass is re-introduced.

  5. xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 2nd April 2012, 1:13

    One person was killed? If only 20 people are killed in drive-by shootings, its considered a good day in New Jersey.

  6. wiillon said on 2nd April 2012, 1:14

    ‘Do not tarnish the reputation of the respected auto sport with the blood of Bahrain victims.’”

    Says it all really.

  7. Macca (@macca) said on 2nd April 2012, 1:19

    Happy Birthday Sir Jack. A true legend and a true gentleman.

  8. Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 1:30

    People being arrested, one being shot, And young people in “death shrouds” whatever that is giving dire warnings….

    But it’s ok guys! because we have a brand new extreme ride!

    This, though coincidental on Kieth’s part gives a fair reflection on this whole Bahrain debacle.
    Really, really serious things are happening guys and I mean the cause of the unrest, not just the consequences. You have to realize that just because you read this from your screen doesn’t mean it isn’t a physical reality, it’s no game. But for many and various (comparably petty) reasons it can go ignored. “F1 shouldn’t be political” has to be the most insulting thing to human intelligence that I read on this site (all too often).

    In the end you have to recognize this, why does the Bahrain Monarchy want the race to go ahead? Because it legitimizes the Monarchy as the rightful and complete ruler of the country, it’s international recognition. Consequently, if the race were to be pulled, it’s the equivalent of international condemnation. That’s why the protesters will do everything they can to have it cancelled, and the F1 community pushing forwards with the race is going to lead to weeks of chaos in the lead up. If I am right we will see the protesters desperately try to have it cancelled while the Monarchy attempts to keep everything as quiet as possible. F1 is in an interesting position in Bahrain in that it not only represents itself, acceptance by the F1 community will be equivalent to acceptance by the Western World, that’s what the Monarchy wants.

    The Bahrain GP is a recipe for disaster and it should be cancelled with immediate effect.
    And I didn’t even begin on the safety of F1 personal, Media and fans and the irresponsibility of putting that at risk.

    • Omar de la Cruz (@omardelacruz) said on 2nd April 2012, 2:40

      Very well said!

    • Dave (@davea86) said on 2nd April 2012, 2:51

      I was skimming through the stories and it took me a moment to realise it was a ride they were talking about. After the death mask guy and the drive by shooting my first through was that they were throwing protesters off a tower. Not sure whether that says more about me or what’s going on in Bahrain.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:26

        Maybe that extreme ride brought in because many going to Bahrain now would be thrill seekers. Better keep them exited like this than risk those foreigners to have a look out on the streets for thrill.
        No, that cannot be right, because there’s no one threatening foreigners, right.
        I was a bit perplexed by it as well @mike and @davea86, and I find it disappointing that the RedHotChilliPeppers will be present (or maybe they will cancel for it being too extreme?)

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 3:09

      @mike

      The Bahrain GP is a recipe for disaster and it should be cancelled with immediate effect.

      While we’re at it, let’s cancel the Chinese Grand Prix, too. Recently, Bo Xilai – a senior government official – was removed from his position by the communist party. This triggered rumours that a coup led by Bo was imminent, and Beijing’s response was to censor anyone who spoke about it in an attempt to stop the people from uprising. The Chinese might not be shooting people (yet), but they are doing the same thing as Bahrain: ruthlessly stamping out democracy.

      So why is it okay that the Chinese Grand Prix takes place, but Bahrain has to be cancelled?

      • xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 2nd April 2012, 3:55

        Bias.

      • artificial racer said on 2nd April 2012, 4:26

        China does a better job stamping out that pesky democracy, leaving the country safe for racing.

      • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 2nd April 2012, 5:51

        Disagree with the comment above. Let F1 be a sport. Like the Olympics. Don’t use the sport as a political football.

        Also to the people on the F1 forums boo hooing about Bahrain a question. What other actions are you taking beside whining about it on an F1 blog? Not much I expect. Also those boo hooing also have the least respect for others opinions.

        Hey PM, you know all things commercial in F1. How many more years does the contract run for Bahrain to host F1. If it hasn’t long to run I am sure they will at least try to see out the contract and maybe leave it after that.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:10

          I wouldn’t say I know “all things commercial”. However, I do know that a standard contract for a new circuit lasts seven years. Bahrain first joined the calendar in 2004, so that means their contract needed to be re-negotiated after the 2010 race. As to exactly how long Bernie signed them up for, I can’t say. Nor can I say whether or not 2011 was counted as a year on their contract (they did pay the race sanctioning fee). I would hazard a guess to say that they received another seven-year contract (I know Bernie offered Istanbul another seven years after the 2011 race), which would seem them through to 2017 or 2018, but this isn’t necessarily a rule. I know Silverstone was put on a seventeen-year contract starting in 2010, and Argentina are talking about re-joining the calendar with a three-year deal.

          • John H (@john-h) said on 2nd April 2012, 8:49

            Perhaps you have to ask yourself PM why it was deemed unfit to go to Bahrain last year then?

        • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:12

          Sorry was responding/disagreeing with @Mike.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:03

          That is absolute tosh.

          If F1 goes to Bahrain, it should acceptance of what Bahrain is doing. That my friend, is also a political statement.

          The argument that F1 shouldn’t be political is flawed right from the start as there is no non-political option.

          I’m not doing much behind this screen, but pretending that this isn’t a real issue by dismissing it off hand is no better.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:06

            “should” was meant to be “shows”

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 2nd April 2012, 14:47

            Exactly. Not only that, it’s condoning what the Bahraini government is doing.

            I simply see it as a win-win situation for F1 and the Kingdom of Bahrain; Bernie gets a huge amount of money, and the kingdom gets a Grand Prix which, in effect, shows the world that all is fine in the country. I’ve never once argued that the protesters in Bahrain are completely right (I honestly don’t know the full story), but police brutality, torturing, and people being killed is never, ever, in this day and age, acceptable.

            It’s just disgusting and apparently, the only hope of the race being cancelled remains with the insurance companies refusing to allow personnel (especially drivers) to go to that part of the world. But it’s difficult for these companies to make decisions based on the small bit of information coming out of the kingdom.

            F1 must not go to Bahrain. The consequences of the race going ahead are just appalling. We’re talking about people’s lives — not just money being lost. The race going ahead = less media attention on the true situation in Bahrain, which in turn allows more violence and oppression.

            I’m not even getting started on what will happen when F1 arrives in the country…

      • OOliver said on 2nd April 2012, 6:09

        I can’t understand why China is being juxtaposed into the Bharaini issue.
        In China you are arrested if you protest.

        In Bahrain, they can kill you. They can kill any doctor who treats you.
        Far worse attrocities had taken place in Bahrain than was the case in Libya, yet the world focused on Libya and allowed Bahrain to wipe out the opposition.

        What has democracy got to do with racing? Does democracy guarantee good governance and justice?
        Even in the so called land of the free, can you protest anywhere? Don’t we still have citizens who are marginalised?
        Aren’t the rights of individuals being eroded constantly and systematically?

        Justice and fairness is paramount in any government irrespective of if the citizens vote or not

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:17

          I can’t understand why China is being juxtaposed into the Bharaini issue.

          I think you just answered your own question:

          In China you are arrested if you protest.

          In China, you get arrested if you protest against the government. How is that any better than what is happening in Bahrain? It’s not like the Chinese government sends you to Candyland for protesting. The Chinese are doing the same thing as the Bahrainis. They just go about it differently.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:59

            Well that’s a silly way to look at it, in most countries they are laws that make protesting , not always easy. Even in Melbourne they had the police “move on” the occupy Melbourne people.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:14

            Sorry, @mike, but that’s a double standard. You’re clearly trying to demonise the Bahrain government for what they are doing (which is a fair perspective), but you’re also trying to downplay the actions of other governments when they are essentially doing the same thing. In the fourteen months since the uprising began in Bahrain, I have not heard a single satisfactory argument as to why the Bahrain Grand Prix should be cancelled because of human rights abuses, but other races (like China) should be allowed to go ahead despite the same abuses taking place there.

            This is why sport an politics should be separate: you’ve successfully managed to create an insane moral quandry where some human rights abuses are ignored while others are prosecuted.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:35

            In the fourteen months since the uprising began in Bahrain, I have not heard a single satisfactory argument as to why the Bahrain Grand Prix should be cancelled because of human rights abuses, but other races (like China) should be allowed to go ahead despite the same abuses taking place there.

            @prisoner-monkeys, I see your claim has got some disclaimers in it there to make sure you don’t have to backtrack on that.

            The answer to the question is easy: We are discussing about going to Bahrain currently. China, nor the UK, nor France or Belgium are the issue.

            But if you do want to discuss the merits of comparing, its easy to do so. In China itself the race is not an issue at the moment (although I admit, that we would possibly not even be aware if it were). The government is not highlighting how its their saviour, and protestors are not targetting it as a show of ignorance either. Case closed.

            If anything, the Australian race is a better comparison, because some locals also oppose having the race. That is the reason its brought up just about every year and so far the consensus has been that it should go ahead. But that one is mostly without anything more than abusive language, so its no reason for F1 to shy away.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:36

            @prisoner-monkeys

            I don’t really have to demonize… They conducted the arrests and tortures…

            On topic however, First, I think that taking China and Bahrain, which both have serious issues, and putting them in the same boat is vastly over-simplifying the issues.

            Now, first off, I can quite easily list many things wrong in China as well (along with most other countries). And if you want to talk about cancelling that race, then fine. And honestly, I’d say there are many reasons China should not get a race, especially if you look at human rights. However, we aren’t talking about China are we? And you can use the , “But we go to China” argument for many things… But it doesn’t work like that.

            Going to Bahrain poses a threat to the people involved in the F1 race and going legitimizes the things that the Bahrain Monarchy has done. Put aside what we do with China, and tell me that going to Bahrain is a good idea.

            Because on many levels I can see that it’s not.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:47

            @mike

            I think that taking China and Bahrain, which both have serious issues, and putting them in the same boat is vastly over-simplifying the issues.

            But that’s the problem – by saying “Bahrain is bad and Formula 1 should not go there”, you’ve already over-simplified the issue.

            However, we aren’t talking about China are we?

            Well, that’s a problem. I find it very hypocritical of people to ignore China.

            Put aside what we do with China, and tell me that going to Bahrain is a good idea.

            But I can’t. You’re saying that the Bahrain Grand Prix should not go ahead because the government is abusing its people. Well, the Chinese government is abusing its people, too. Perhaps not in the same way as Bahrain is, but conditions in China are generally pretty poor.

            @bascb

            I see your claim has got some disclaimers in it there to make sure you don’t have to backtrack on that.

            Nope. That’s been my stance from Day 1: what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:59

            Bahrain is bad and Formula 1 should not go there

            Do I really have to detail all the reasons? Really? I mean come on…

            Well, that’s a problem. I find it very hypocritical of people to ignore China.

            Well then lets talk about China. I have no particular opinion because I haven’t thought about it. However I think there could be merit to the idea that F1 shouldn’t go to China either.

            Well, the Chinese government is abusing its people, too.

            If you say China one more time.

            Lets repeat myself, “And if you want to talk about cancelling that race, then fine. And honestly, I’d say there are many reasons China should not get a race, especially if you look at human rights.”

            If want to discuss China, That’s great! But I’m talking about Bahrain.

            I don’t think F1 should go to Bahrain (regardless of it’s stance on any other country).

          • me262 said on 2nd April 2012, 9:02

            I agree with Mike. The point is: start with Bahrain, continue with China, end with Bernie? One step at a time guys ;)

          • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 2nd April 2012, 11:21

            Well put PM above and below.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 2nd April 2012, 14:51

          @Prisoner-Monkeys How can you say it’s the same thing? The police in Australia don’t use rubber bullets to “control” (read: kill) protesters and they don’t have people tortured.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 2nd April 2012, 14:54

          @BasCB If I may expand on that — the Chinese government doesn’t use F1 to cover up its issues like Bahrain. Bahrain is a tiny kingdom and F1 has put it on the map. Continuing to show it in a positive light reflects well on a country while they secretly go about torturing and killing people against the regime.

          So, @Prisoner-Monkeys, I cannot see how the situation in China is the same. The race is of almost no benefit to the country at all, and it’s certainly not being used as a political tool as it is by the Bahraini government.

      • wiillon said on 2nd April 2012, 6:40

        I agree, Tibet is not China, we had a chance before the Olympics to put leverage on the Chinese goverment but the Goverments of the World just done what F1 is doing and cosying up to the regime.

        Just because we have forgotten Tibet doesnt mean we should abadon Bahrain.

        ps, for those that say the Olympics shoundn`t be political have a read up on the reason the modern Olympics was founded……..political?

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:56

        It would be OK to have a race in Damascus too! Sorry PM but China is more “democratic” than Bahrain and there is not a year long protest against a totalitarian monarchy.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 8:29

          @jcost – Just because China’s human rights violations are not as visible as those in Bahrain/Syria/Libya/etc, that doesn’t mean that they’re not happening or that they are any less despicable.

        • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 2nd April 2012, 11:01

          More democratic!?!?!? Are you drunk? Have a look at how the congress and central committee are “elected” in China. There’s no democracy at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending Bahrain.

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 4th April 2012, 10:56

            @thecollaroyboys did you see democratic in place of “democratic”? Sir, China is not a democratic country but still there’s a certain level of democracy within Central committee, your remarks kind tells all about how deep you understand China, democracy or totalitarian regimes.

            Sir I’m from Angola and live here, on those matters I can teach a thing or two, do the job yourself, I mean read something.

      • SimBri (@f1addict) said on 2nd April 2012, 8:07

        I agree that to not be hypocritical we should have neither or both. I think neither, there are plenty of excellent tracks elsewhere.

  9. TED BELL said on 2nd April 2012, 1:35

    If they continue to want to hold he race in Bahrain, then they might as well also take a look at Afganistan, Iraq and Syria. Why would F1 ever want to go where such civil unrest is so prominant.

  10. Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 2nd April 2012, 5:03

    Why is it so important to host a race in bahrain? Some financial dealing?

    • PieLighter (@pielighter) said on 2nd April 2012, 5:46

      @hatebreeder
      Oil money. That’s really the only incentive.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:04

      @hatebreeder – I don’t think that there is any one answer to that question. If there is, it certainly isn’t a simple answer.

      Yes, money is a part of it. But I think it is naive to assume that the issue starts and ends there. Bahrain are paying for their race, but there are so many other countries working on a race of their own – Russia, France, Argentina, Mexico, etc. – that if Bernie really wanted the money, it wouldn’t be difficult to get it. As he demonstrated with New Jersey, if you offer the right deal to the right person at the right time, you can get a race up and running within eighteen months. There is also some investment from Bahrain in teams; I believe the royal family indirectly own part of McLaren.

      I think that deep down, Bahrain represents something important both to Formula 1 and sport in the Middle East. The Middle East has always been home to some complicated social and political issues that have really deterred international sports in general to expand out to embrace it. But when Formula 1 first went to Bahrain in 2004, it was really the only country that was stable enough, moderate enough and rich enough to be able to host the race. And although that has since changed, 2004 marked the beginning of a massive expansion of the calendar. Since 2004, we’ve seen the addition of (in order) Bahrain, China, Turkey, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Korea and India, which will be followed up by Austin, New Jersey and Russia (and possibly Argentina; an announcement is expected this month). The calendar is getting new races on an almost-yearly basis, and it all started with Bahrain.

      There may also be a belief within the sport that Formula 1 can act as a universal force for good. The 2011 race faced a lot of criticism and got cancelled. So if the organisers say that the country is safe, then they’d better be able to back that claim up. Although a Grand Prix weekend only runs for three days, the teams and drivers will be in th country for much longer. They’ll arrive on the Monday or Tuesday before the race, use Wednesday and Thursday to set themselves up, and compete from Friday through to Sunday. Then they’ll pack up and go home on the following Monday. What’s more, GP2 will be supporting the Grand Prix – and will actually be staying a lot longer, since there is a second round of the series a week later – so there will probably be over fifteen hundred people in the country. There is going to be a lot of attention aimed at Bahrain, so the government will be hesitant to do anything that might tarnish their image. And at the same time, the protestors will probably be cautious as well; they won’t want anyone saying “you threw the first stone in this fight”, and if they come off as aggressive, it could hurt their cause. All in all, the presence of Formula 1 and GP2 in Bahrain will probably force both sides to behave themselves for two weeks while they are on the world stage. After fourteen months of bitter civil conflict, that is going to be one of the longest ceasefire periods the country has experienced. So there may be some in the sport who hope that staging the race will get everyone to calm down long enough to move from fighting to negotiating. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

      • Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:16

        @prisoner-monkeys
        That explains quite a bit. But honestly, I don’t understand why is it a good idea to put F1 drivers on the line and hope for a negotiation within the country. Now, I may sound rude, but it’s Bahrain’s problem and they should deal with it. Not anyone else. F1 entering there could be a major risk (I could be wrong here, but its my POV). Because all it takes is one guy pelting a stone at the guests and it’ll start all over again. Whats worse is, if any of the F1 personnel gets hurt then it’ll complicate the whole issue. Cause the country from which the F1 driver belongs will back him and blame bahrain and its things like this which could lead to major disputes and WCS, war. Which no one wants. Except Bush maybe.
        Why I am saying this is because not everyone will think it through. There is a good chance someone will think that procession at the F1 venue will be a good way to get noticed as Bahrain has kept the media away from whats happening there (or Bahrain claims that it isnt as worse as the media pictures it to be).
        Its such a big risk to take.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:19

          I think you’ll find the Bahrainis will go out of their way to make sure the teams and drivers don’t get hurt. It would be an embarrassment to the government if someone was injured or killed. But it would also damage the protestors’ position, because they are protesting against the government, and injuring or killing an outsider would only bring the full force of the government down on their heads.

          • Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:45

            hmmm.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:14

            @prisoner-monkeys, after having seen numerous hot debates, where you defended NOT cancelling the race last year so as not to be seen to be “political” I find it highly curious, that you are now so mild towards the FIA, FOM and Bahrain for doing just that.

            There may also be a belief within the sport that Formula 1 can act as a universal force for good.

            and

            All in all, the presence of Formula 1 and GP2 in Bahrain will probably force both sides to behave themselves for two weeks while they are on the world stage. After fourteen months of bitter civil conflict, that is going to be one of the longest ceasefire periods the country has experienced. So there may be some in the sport who hope that staging the race will get everyone to calm down long enough to move from fighting to negotiating.

            are just that – using F1 for politics

            As some of the recent incidents show –

            “The details as related by witnesses and family indicate that the martyr Ahmed was near the main road with a camera in hand for documentation. Civilian police patrols were present and there were armed militias with them… One of the people in one of the cars fired live rounds into the protesters and into the air.”

            – this certainly does not look like protesters having much understanding for a regime wanting to keep everything calm. Rather they are provoking them hoping that the regime will either hold back (for fear of having the race cancelled) or will be provoked into action to forcefully crush down any protests – which would again show the world the violence that has been going on all year now, largely out of the spotlight.
            As you see, at that protest (where people got shot) there were police officers present (as is normal for any demonstration), but how then could suddenly a group of some militia get there in an unmarked car and start firing at protesters. If you look at what has been going on in Bahrain recently, you will find that this is the way the regime works now. Officially playing nice but bullying, shooting and beating up protesters with unmarked tugs. Not to mention the fact that protesters are still being jailed on questionable grounds.

            In that light, your conviction that both sides will want to hold back, not to be in the spotlight is very naive to me. My conclusion is rather the other way around, expecting violence from both sides.

            Oh, and its not 1500 people in there. The F1 circus brings about 3000 people in, and GP2 on top of that.

          • xbx-117 (@xbx-117) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:24

            Yeah, I doubt it will be any more dangerous for the crews than when they go to Brazil.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:54

            @bascb

            having seen numerous hot debates, where you defended NOT cancelling the race last year so as not to be seen to be “political” I find it highly curious, that you are now so mild towards the FIA, FOM and Bahrain for doing just that.

            My stance is the same as it has always been: the only reason why a race should be cancelled is because there is a very real threat to the safety of teams and drivers.

            I am not saying that, by going to Bahrain, Formula 1 will somehow fix all of the problems in the country by forcing a cease-fire. I am simply highlighting a possible scenario that some in the paddock might be hoping for. I do not necessarily agree with it, or believe that it is happening. My post makes that pretty clear.

            Also, I’m surprised that you are not open to the possibility that a person’s opinion can change over time. Mine largely hasn’t, but I am not so stubborn as ignore a well-crafted and persuasive argument.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd April 2012, 20:04

            Sorry for not answering that earlier @Prisoner-monkeys, but I had a workday going.
            You write

            Also, I’m surprised that you are not open to the possibility that a person’s opinion can change over time. Mine largely hasn’t, but I am not so stubborn as ignore a well-crafted and persuasive argument.

            Now, I can be very understanding and positive about people changing their minds in time. But as you say, your’s hasn’t changed, and that is obvious from many of your posts here. Therefore I find it curious, that suddenly you are far less aggressively against F1 being used politically (as you admit that is exactly what Bernie and the Bahrain promoters are doing) than you are against NOT going for the same political implications.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 8:03

        Bahrain represents something important both to Formula 1…

        Weren’t you saying just about the opposite about Spa the other day?

        This is usually the point where everyone jumps in and says that Bernie should give Spa a break because of its history and its long-term association with the sport.

        Oh, yeah, there it is :D.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 8:26

          @mike – Stop clouding the issue. You know perfectly well that I am talking about two completely different things here. Where did I say that Bahrain should be given a better deal on its contract because of what it represents to the sport, thereby contradicting my comments that Spa should not be given a better deal in spite of what it represents to the sport? I didn’t say that at all.

          I said that Spa should not be given a more-favourable contract simply because of its history and its association with the sport – and I said it because that history is intangible; you can’t put a price on it. And today I said that some in the paddock might want to see this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix go ahead because Bahrain was the first race in an unprecedented push out into new markets that has seen, on average, one new race added to the calendar every year since 2004. Neither statement is in any way related to the other, and certainly not in such a way that I have contradicted myself.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 10:52

            Where did I say that Bahrain should be given a better deal on its contract because of what it represents to the sport

            You didn’t obviously, but you are suggesting we ignore what are very, very serious human rights abuses. Personally I think it’s even worse than not being able to afford the contract. ;D

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 11:12

            @mike – I am not suggesting that we ignore them. I have never suggested that we ignore them. I just think that it is inappropriate for the sport to go making political or moral statements about the subject. If Formula 1 were to boycott the Bahrain Grand Prix because of the way the government treats its citizens, then every Grand Prix is going to come under renewed scrutiny. I’d bet good money that as soon as the sport announced that it was cancelling the race for political and/or moral reasons, someone is going to come out and ask “Well, why did you go to China?”.

            The first, last and only reason why a race should be cancelled is because there is a clear and present danger to teams, drivers, the media and spectators. And I would argue that the situation in Bahrain is serious enough that the sport could reasonably say “We are concerned about the safety of our people, so we are not going” without facing any sort of criticism for it.

            I’m not saying that the situation in Bahrain should be ignored. I’m saying that politics and sport should be separate, and that there are more-appropriate ways to address the situation in the country.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd April 2012, 13:01

            I am just concerned that F1 will be a target, I don’t want anything bad to happen.

      • Nigel said on 2nd April 2012, 9:23

        I think you seriously underestimate the importance of money when it comes to holding the GP in Bahrain. This sets it out quite nicely:
        http://www.pitpass.com/45925-Bahrain-beats-Formula-Ones-five-oldest-races-in-value-for-sponsors

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 2nd April 2012, 9:48

          Go back and read my post. I didn’t say “money has nothing to do with it”. I said “money is only part of it”.

          Also, Pitpass has a horrible reputation four journalism.

          • Nigel said on 2nd April 2012, 11:52

            I did – maybe you should too.

            “Bahrain are paying for their race, but there are so many other countries working on a race of their own – Russia, France, Argentina, Mexico, etc. – that if Bernie really wanted the money, it wouldn’t be difficult to get it….”

            As I said, I think you underestimate the importance of money in this case.
            Unless you’re saying that the Pitpass figures are simply wrong?

    • socksolid said on 2nd April 2012, 10:01

      I think the whole question of either cancelling bahrain gp or not is 100% about money. I think with the contract the teams and bernie have now is that the one who doesn’t want to go to a gp has to pay the costs. If a team refuses to go then the team loses its “gp money” because bernie will say the race was good to go and there was no force majeure or anything like that.

      On the other hand if bernie cancels the race the teams are still eligible for the “gp money” and naturally bernie doesn’t want to pay it for nothing.

      So in a way it might be just a waiting game. The one who cancels the gp loses money. And because bahrain is one of the most valuable races to both parties no one will want to cancel it and everyone just waits for someone else to do it.

      That could very well be the reason why neither the teams or bernie talks much about it. Bernie of course keeps saying “it’s all ok” because of his vested interests. The teams do not want to say no to the race because then they’d lose money. So naturally the teams do not want to talk about it either because they are effectively putting money over human lives in bahrain. The teams definitely have the power to not go there but at a cost and they do not want to pay the costs. Neither does bernie so it’s a waiting game…

  11. BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd April 2012, 6:58

    Happy birthday to all of you MajorMilou, Nico Savidge and Ripping Silk!

  12. BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd April 2012, 7:37

    Nice article on how different the role of team principle is filled in by the teams Keith.

  13. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 2nd April 2012, 8:29

    Although I don’t follow IndyCar I was really happy to hear Reubens got 8th place. I sort of miss him not being in Formula 1. Through everything he just came across as such a nice and good hearted guy. I hope he can stay involved with Formula 1 in some way, I think the sport will be better with guys like him still around the paddock. I for one would enjoy hearing him commentate or be a steward.

  14. infy (@infy) said on 2nd April 2012, 8:35

    If the media make a point of ignoring the protesters then they will not be an issue.

  15. John H (@john-h) said on 2nd April 2012, 8:46

    I presume these are also some of the “made up stories” that the trustworthy Bernie Ecclestone was referring to and I have no doubt that the F1 circus should be travelling to Bahrain this year.

    • me262 said on 3rd April 2012, 4:57

      I presume your very comfortable in your community and doubt that you are embroiled in a struggle for democracy

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