Ecclestone and crown prince insist race will go on

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2012Bernie Ecclestone and Bahrain’s crown prince have refused to consider cancelling this weekend’s race amid rising concern about the situation in the country.

Force India did not participate in the second practice session on Friday after several of their team members were involved in an incident earlier in the week.

Sauber team members also witnessed protests and fires when returning to their hotel yesterday.

Despite rising concerns over the political situation in the country and the safety of participants, Ecclestone insisted he is powerless to stop the race:

“I can’t call this race off. Nothing to do with us. We’ve an agreement to be here, and we’re here.

“The national sporting authority in this country can call the race off. You can ask the FIA if they can.”

Bahrain crown prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said: “I think cancelling the race just empowers extremists.

“For those of us trying to navigate a way out of this political problem, having the race allows us to build bridges across communities, to get people working together. It allows us to celebrate our nation. It is an idea that is positive, not one that is divisive.”

The hacking group Anonymous threatened to take the website down earlier today. It has since become unavailable.

Politicians in Britain, including opposition leader Ed Miliband, have called for the race to be cancelled. A statement from the prime minister’s office admitted to “concern” over the race but stopped short of demanding it be cancelled.

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86 comments on Ecclestone and crown prince insist race will go on

  1. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 20th April 2012, 22:32

    Here is something else I don’t get & I brought up yesterday. If these team members/FIA personnel going into the weekend felt it would be so unsafe outside of the track then why didn’t they pack a tent and/or make arrangements to camp out at the track?

    Actually now that I think of it from an “ease of use” standpoint why hasn’t the FIA mandated years ago that all these tracks that host fly-away races have to have some sort of Hotel within the track property for the teams/drivers/FIA personal to stay? Not only would it be easier for team members to physically not have to fight traffic & they’d probaly be able to sleep in a bit more, but also I would think for safety concerns in all these countries it would be better off for everybody involved with the sport.

    Also how come it’s only “Boycott F1″ & not “Boycott GP2″, “Boycott Porsche Supercup”, “Boycott LMFAO”, etc..

    • dysthanasiac (@) said on 20th April 2012, 23:28

      The reason why no one is calling for a boycott of GP2 or the Porsche Supercup or anything else is because none of this matters. At all. The Grand Prix of Bahrain is simply a high-profile avenue through which people can express self-righteous disdain for a situation they likely don’t understand and clearly have no intention of stopping.

      For all the polemics thrown one way or the other, what’s different about this grand prix as opposed to others? Nothing. It’s all business as usual. Despite what anyone says, no one really cares.

      And that includes us. Actions speak lou-…oh, never mind.

    • thejudge13 said on 21st April 2012, 0:23

      Part of the sell of F1 to new venues is the guaranteed spend of the circus (c.1500) people before fans.

      Its estimated to be the first £2.5m payback for the fee

  2. wigster (@wigster) said on 20th April 2012, 23:52

    I may be being over dramatic but I think the biggest issue for F1 is vast amount of negative publicity the weekend is generating with regard to potential future sponsors. How many big international businesses are now going to think twice about whether they want to be associated with a sport that is openly aligned (whether I or F1 like it or not) with rulers of a country in political turmoil with a bad human rights record?

    For example Mercedes last week won their first race since their comeback, so generating good publicity and a marketing tool for their brand. Now all of that is being undone by this weekend racing in a race closely associated to the leaders of an unpopular autocratic regime and that fact being splashed all over the news.

    As racing in countries with political, human rights or safety issues such as Abu Dhabi, China and Brazil show, F1 can and does go racing in those places, so I think racing in Bahrain should be possible.

    However the major problem I have with Bahrain is the closeness of the political leaders of the unpopular regime to the race itself, and apparently Bernie and the FIA too. If the Crown Prince and co had stayed away and not tried to use the race politically and not stuck their faces in front of the camera at every opportunity I think the weekend may have been relatively uneventful, and even acceptable to many. Unfortunately they haven’t.

    • dysthanasiac (@) said on 21st April 2012, 0:01

      If sponsors really cared, they’d have their logos removed from the cars they sponsor. (ING wasted no time doing just after the revelation of “Crash-gate.”) But, they don’t, because they don’t care, because no one cares. It’s all talk.

  3. HoHum (@hohum) said on 21st April 2012, 0:07

    I think you are definitely right about the publicity, unless it is McLaren I don’t see the winners taking out full page spreads to advertise their success in this GP, tough for Mercedes if they manage to win again.

  4. John h said on 21st April 2012, 2:03

    absolutely ridiculous. PM you were wrong in so many ways.

    Stupidity is rife.

  5. John h said on 21st April 2012, 2:07

    Just like China PM?

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