Bahrain International Circuit, 2004

Teams expect Bahrain Grand Prix cancellation

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Bahrain International Circuit, 2004In the round-up: The BBC claim “a number of F1 teams” expect next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix to be cancelled.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

F1 teams expect Bahrain GP to be off (BBC)

“A number of Formula 1 teams expect the Bahrain Grand Prix to be called off amid security concerns caused by civil unrest, BBC Sport has learned.”

FOTA says FIA must make Bahrain call (Autosport)

“There?s been some media speculation recently to the effect that the teams may seek to cancel this year?s Bahrain Grand Prix. That wouldn?t be possible. Teams are unable to cancel Grands Prix.”

Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead, according to Bernie Ecclestone (The Guardian)

“A centrepiece of [Jean] Todt’s evidence is a letter he received on Wednesday from John Yates, the senior police adviser to Bahrain’s ministry of interior, even though Yates warns that the current violence is placing ‘innocent members of the public in significant danger’. He goes on to describe recent reports of the situation in Bahrain as ‘distorted’ and ‘inaccurate’ before adding: ‘From what I have seen and witnessed, the willingness to reform is real and is being led from the highest level of government. Numerous and significant, tangible changes have already been made, particularly in relation to human rights.'”

Ecclestone steps into controversy of Bahrain’s F1 hunger striker (The Independent)

“Dr Shehabi is one of many activists in Bahrain and abroad calling on Mr Ecclestone to cancel the race. ‘I enjoy Formula 1 and my husband is a motor sports fan. But how can we enjoy that when entire villages are under siege? When a man is on hunger strike?’ she said.”

Vettel goes kung fu fighting (and yes, he’s fast as lightning) ahead of China showdown (Daily Mail)

“The 24-year-old was making a martial arts short film, ‘Kung Fu Vettel: Drive of the Dragon’, in a promotion for team partner and car manufacturer Infiniti alongside Chinese actress and model Celina Jade.”

Niki Lauda: Lewis Hamilton must avoid the VIP lifestyle (The Sun)

“[Vettel] is a very balanced person. His head is not disturbed by all this VIP ********. He is not disturbed at all. Lewis is as good as Sebastian in terms of pure speed and talent but sometimes gets disturbed through his different lifestyle.”

F1 Fanatic via Twitter

“From Caterham’s Chinese Grand Prix preview: ‘Overtaking is difficult’. Williams say: ‘The longest straight in F1 means one thing: overtaking.'”

Comment of the day

Joel Holland has doubts about Williams’ latest signing:

Jamie Green: 29, British, seven DTM wins and from 73 races.
Susie Wolff: 29, British, two seventh place finishes from 61 races.

Now, far be it from me to suggest this decision was not made based on driving ability…
Joel Holland

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Amy and Ben Thomas!

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

The 1987 F1 season got off to a late start at Jacarepagua in Brazil.

Alain Prost with new McLaren team mate Stefan Johansson in third.

In between then was Nelson Piquet, who had to made an early pit stop due to overheating caused by debris in his radiators.

Fellow Brazilian Ayrton Senna briefly led but retired with engine trouble. Here’s footage of him during the race:

Image ?? Bryn Williams/Crash.Net

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  • 88 comments on “Teams expect Bahrain Grand Prix cancellation”

    1. Sometimes I feel like Lauda is actually just constantly talking about Lewis and Vettel, and every so often, an interviewer just sticks a mic in to see what he’s blabbering about at that point in time!

      Speaking of Lewis, I realised the other day, other than 2007, this is the first time he has got past malaysia in a season without a talking to by the stewards.

      1. @jleigh – It’s [i]The Sun[/i]. As usual, they were on a fishing expedition, looking for something to use against Hamilton. They no doubt went to Lauda and asked him a few very-specific leading questions, the kind with only one answer – probably something to do with the way a driver’s lifestyle translates into their on-track ability, with a comparison between Vettel and Hamilton as an “example” – and then printed them. In effect, what they are doing is printing their own opinion of the subject, but using Lauda to make it look legitimate.

        1. To be honest @prisoner-monkeys, from what I have seen and hear of Lauda on German TV the past 4 years or so, this was just the thing he would say even without much fishing from that rag.

          He as been right in the middle of hyping Vettel endlessly on German tv, and he has been happily criticizing just about every other driver and Hamilton specifically for years now.

          1. I agree @bascb, @prisoner-monkeys, coming from Lauda I believe he said it regardless of who publish it. One of the reason I don’t really enjoy RTL Germany is Lauda on Vettel, and on and on Vettel. I don’t need Lauda to see the guy is racing well and get tired of waiting for occasional good insight from him on RTL.

            I do wonder when this quote was taken, given HAM being rather low key so far in 2012 while Vettel has been unhappy in media. Who knows really, could be end of last year …

      2. I don’t think he got in trouble in the first three races of 2010.

        1. I still feel that at this point, Button is more equipped to win the title if Mclaren remain on the money through the season. He seems to have his act together, he looks to be supremely confident and is happy with the performance.

          No doubting Lewis’ talent, but talent alone never won anyone anything, mental strength is key. And if Lewis well and truly has turned the corner, then he will be threat as always. But somehow, watching his demeanour (once again, just my opinion) over the last two races, he doent seem all that comfortable. Is he feeling the heat from Button’s end of the garage? Or is he not happy with the team migrating their preference to Button?..only time will tell. This is a huge year for Lewis, he has to perform better than Button, which at this time is easier said than done.

          My gut feeling tells me he will be at Mercedes next year.

        2. he received a reprimand for weaving in Malyasia

        3. @David-A …apart from being arrested by the Victoria police! :-D

      3. I don’t know anything about a ‘reputation’ Lauda has for only talking about SV and LH, but I do know this…last year LH admitted that he had too much ‘fun’ as he put it, and admitted it cost him training time and ultimately performance on the track on Sundays. So I think not only is Lauda being accurate, he is taking it right from the horses mouth. I think that was extremely poor of LH, to have seen his team and it’s sponsors spend all that time and money only to have LH penalize himself and thus everyone else on the team with something so within his control to curb when there are so many things that can happen to a driver that are out of his control. And now LH sits having been bested by JB last year and has put added pressure on himself to not be bested again, two years in a row. Shame on LH.

        1. I also note that Lauda has a lot of praise in there for LH and merely points out that he thinks LH is every bit as good as SV if he can keep his head in the game. I think Lauda is being dead accurate, so I don’t understand the slam on him…but then again, I can’t say I’ve paid attention to his comments overall over the past handful of years. But based on this one? He’s being fair and generous and accurate imho.

    2. But is understood that Mr Ecclestone personally contacted Bahrain’s Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa on Monday to raise concerns over the condition of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a rights activist who has refused food since 8 February in protest at his life sentence for allegedly plotting against the state.

      So much for F1 staying neutral/apolitical. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but if this is okay then what happens for people using the ‘sport is sport, not politics’ line?

      1. @matt90

        to raise concerns over the condition

        In yesterday’s round-up (or possibly the day before), Keith posted a video interview with an activist who had been in contact with Ecclestone. Ecclestone had asked her about al-Khawaja, because he had been told al-Khawaja was eating three meals a day. The activist made it pretty clear that he was being force-fed. Now Bernie is calling the prince back “to raise concerns”. Maybe I’m reading a bit too much into it, but I think that conversation could very well have started with Bernie asking “Are you sure you’re being completely honest with me?”

        1. Bernie probably asked the Prince to improve his PR.

          1. You have no way of knowing that.

            1. Hence the word “probably” , for an english teacher you seem very poor at comprehension.

        2. I understand Bernie caring that the guy doesn’t die before or during the F1 weekend, as that could spark mass protests. But even if that is the case, if he is staying completely apolitical it shouldn’t matter to him how the guy is fed, as long as he has assurance that he stays alive. If that is the only contact Bernie has with Bahrain about him, that makes sense, even if it is callous. Any other ‘concerns’ would surely be direct meddling in the country’s politics.

          1. But even if that is the case, if he is staying completely apolitical it shouldn’t matter to him how the guy is fed, as long as he has assurance that he stays alive.

            Or, Bernie could be annoyed that the Bahrainis lied to him, which would make him question what else they have been untruthful about. I don’t know about you, but if I were a race organiser, I would not want to get caught lying to Bernie.

            1. I don’t get it, Are people complaining because the authorities are force feeding him and keeping him alive?

              Should a single person simply refusing food be able stop a billion dollar commercial sporting event enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people. Seems weak to me.

              I still think it is up to sovereign nations and other bodies like the UN to be having dialogue and if necessary sanctions for this sort of thing.

              If they let this happen protesters will hijack or lojack, F1 all over the place.

            2. @bearforce1 – People are complaining because they are force-feeding him against his will. The government has apparently said that once he is well enough to travel, he will deported to Denmark and stripped of his citizenship.

            3. @bearforce1 Denmark, and in its tow part of the EU are doing just that, protesting against the way this man is treated.

              So far Bahrain had been ignoring calls from Denmark to release him to be treated/cared for there, because the ‘crimes’ he was convicted for (apparently on a slim body of evidence) in Bahrain were unlikely to be acknowledged, so he would be a free man there.

              I think Bernie getting into the matter shows exactly why Bernie is at the center of F1. He may seem not to care much about the situation out in the open, but I would be surprised if he would not do everything possible to be exactly informed about what the situation is like and won’t be sent away with a few words easily.
              This is a man used to be in control and being good at it.

        3. > I think that conversation could very well have started with Bernie asking “Are you sure you’re being completely honest with me?”<

          Which would be a pretty good start to any conversation held with Ecclestone.

    3. Oh look, a Lauda quote. I expect people to go on their usual anti-Lauda/Schumacher/Vettel rants any day now.

      1. I dislike Lauda, don’t know why…

        1. Libellula (@ladyf1fanatic)
          12th April 2012, 8:35

          Me too. Sick of reading about him…puffft! what’s wrong with this “has been” and it’s only the first 2 races. Give us a break! Come on!

        2. I dislike Lauda for slamming Kubica on several occasions, including derogatory slurs regarding Robert’s nationality.

          Having said that, I don’t see anything controversial in his recent comments about Lewis. Lauda acknowledges his racing skills and repeats what Lewis said himself about being distracted by things outside of Formula One.

          1. The thing is, that is ridiculous to make such statements right now. When Lewis had a few incidents Lauda jump the crusade of folks taking a shot at Lewis by commenting on his aggressive driving or lifestyle and now that Vettel was the one with the attitude problems and incident in the track Lauda still tries to create criticism around Hamilton despite how low-key Hamilton was recently.
            The guy clearly has an agenda.
            Lets not forget his nationality and the relation it has with Red Bull and Germans like Vettel.

      2. sometimes he does get it bluntly right which peeves people off even more

        1. Agreed, me262…see my comments above.

    4. In response to the COTD> You know, all she has to do to be on par with Jamie Green is win at least 7 of her next 12 DTM races.. Anything can happen! ;)

      1. @meande – Especially since DTM has undergone regulation changes this year that mean everyone will start the season with a brand-new car. Previously, Wolff was driving a Mercedes that was three years out of date.

        However, I don’t think that’s going to make much difference. If an opening becomes available at Williams, then I fully expect Valtteri Bottas to be called up. If two openings become available at Williams, then I would have to ask what they hell are they doing to their drivers.

        1. A pretty face is worth several seconds a lap, isn’t it?

          1. @hohum – Try telling that to Robert Kubica …

            1. Try telling that to Robert Kubica

              Epic. A bit mean, but epic.

          2. @hohum After having seen Sergio Perez’s performance at Sepang, I tend to agree with that…

    5. It’s sad that even a relatively enlightened arab state like Bahrain has gotten itself into this situation by so grossly and viciously over-reacting to what were peaceful demonstrations, not to overthrow the monarchy but for equality of the subjects. This situation is perfect for the jihadis to gain worldwide coverage with very little effort. I cross my fingers for the safety of the teams.

      1. @hohum – There have been reports of protesters throwing Molotov cocktails, arson attacks on elementary schools, and a home-made bomb being set off.

        What were you saying about peaceful demonstrations?

        1. Prisoner Monkey, who are you? From the comments I have seen, it appears (and I am not trying to be disrespectful) that you are a constant apologist for the Bahrain monarchy. Is it really so simple as “all the protesters are bad, and they have no legitimate grievances”?

          1. I believe he is an Australian English teacher who doesn’t like unsupported arguments.

            1. @adrianmorse
              who doesn’t like unsupported arguments
              Damn straight. It doesn’t matter whether I’m debating about whether or not Bahrain should go ahead, what I think Lewis Hamilton’s problems last year were, whether George Lazenby or Pierce Brosnan was the worst James Bond or why I think Romeo and Juliet is very poorly-written, I’m not just going to state my opinion. I’ll take the time and effort to explain why I feel that way, usually with examples, so that even if you completely disagree with me, I hope you will at least understand how I came to that conclusion – and I’d like to think it might give you a few extra points to consider and further debate, so that I might better-understand your point of view.

          2. From the comments I have seen, it appears (and I am not trying to be disrespectful) that you are a constant apologist for the Bahrain monarchy.

            Well, you obviously haven’t read all of my comments. If you did, you would know that I disagree with foolhardy moral statements and believe that the sport should remain apolitical in this. There have been a lot of people who have made out that the protesters have been absolutely innocent in all of this, and that the regime has been undeniably corrupt in their every action. This supposed unconditional innocence of the protesters is disproven by the aforementioned Molotov cocktails, arson attacks and home-made bombs. Unless you think that this is a totally reasonable and justified approach to peaceful protesting.

            Did you know that, just last month, Muqtada al-Sadr voiced support for the Bahraini opposition? Who is al-Sadr, you ask? He is the man that formed the Mahdi Army, one of the earliest, largest and most-prominent insurgencies in Iraq, and he has some ties – though I am uncertain as to the exact nature of them – to Iran. And I found all of that in just two minutes on Wikipedia.

            Now, as far as I can tell, al-Sadr hasn’t actually done anything more than verbally support the Bahraini opposition. And I am by no means trying to demonise the protesters. But what I am trying to do is point out that Middle Eastern politics are incredibly complex, and that broad, all-encompassing statements like “government bad, protesters good” is naive and potentially misleading, and for Formula 1 to go making political and moral judgements on the basis of it will inevitably do more harm to the sport than good. What if, for example (and i stress that this is absolutely hypothetical), the teams and drivers publicly show support for the Bahraini opposition – only to discover that al-Sadr, a man who has described America, England and Israel as “common enemies of Iraq” has also been supporting them? What kind of message does that send? And has anyone even considered that it might be a possibility?

            I am not apologising for Bahrain. I am not trying to demonise the protesters. I’m just intelligent enough to recongise that there is no absolute good and absolute evil to this situation, and that a foolhardy response from the sport could do serious damage. My stance on Bahrain is as it has always been: that the only reason why the race should be cancelled is on the grounds of safety to teams, drivers, media and spectators.

            1. If PM is indeed an Aus English teacher then I’d be happy to have my kids in his/her class anytime. More power to your arm.

            2. @thecollaroyboys – Thank you. I’m not sure what you mean by the arm comment, but thank you.

            3. “America, England and Israel are common enemies of Iraq”

              I think he is right. They did invade the country and turn it into chaos, after decades of supporting Sadam Hussain and providing him with weapons which he used against his own people. Who wouldn’t describe the US and England as enemies after that?

          3. I think he fails to understand that autocracies will always call protesters terrorists, even Nelson Mandela was jailed for terrorism!

            1. @jcost

              I think he fails to understand that autocracies will always call protesters terrorists

              In what world is setting off a bomb a protest and not terrorism?

        2. @prisoner-monkeys, what @hohum writes is perfectly in line with those reports

          has gotten itself into this situation by so grossly and viciously over-reacting to what were peaceful demonstrations

          as in, it started of peacefully but after overreaction it escalated into what we have now: a situation

          perfect for the jihadis to gain worldwide coverage with very little effort

          1. Thanks @BasCB, one would have thought it unnecessary to teach an english teacher comprehension.

            1. True enough its now a situation ideal for poking in a bit of extra mayhem for those looking at purging the worldly.

            2. yeah, makes you wonder at what he teaches his students about comprehension of texts!

    6. Williams say: ‘The longest straight in F1 means one thing: overtaking.’”

      OK, this is a big mess. There are at least 3 different circuits which I have heard over the years have the longest straight in F1: Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and Korea. And maybe even India and Italy too. So can any F1 fans near the circuits in question please nip out with a tape measure and clear this up once and for all!

      1. Using google earth it seems like Shanghai has the longest straight although Korea’s straight is nearly identical in length. The long turn before the straight in China makes it hard to judge where exactly I should start measuring so it makes it challenging. I got around 1.23Km for China and 1.22Km for Korea.

      2. challenge accepted.
        Monza main straight (starting when full throttle is applied out of parabolica)- 1.35km
        Shanghai- 1.25km
        Yas Marina 1st back straight- 1.22km
        Buddh back straight- 1.26km
        Korea (from exit of turn 1 to turn 3)- 1.3km

        all of this was found out using-
        so its probably not too accurate.

        1. so it seems Korea and monza have the longest straights. which one produces the best natural overtaking? none of them really. they’re all either preceeded by a tight hairpin or a long aero corner. with a hairpin, the leading car will always get on the throttle earlier and kers can help defend. with a long aero corner (like in shanghai turn 13 or Monza parabolica) the chasing car tends to understeer through the turbulent air of the car infront. i think medium speed corners are the best to place before long straights.

          1. @sato113 – Only the first half of the Parabolica is aero-dependent. Once the drivers clear the apex, they can open the DRS if they’re brave enough.

            1. I’m sure he was talking about those places without DRS. DRS messes up every calculation, really.

            2. @fer-no65 – Even without DRS, the aerodynamic grip needed through the second half of the Parabolica is minimal. In fact, it decreases – the longer the turn goes on, the less downforce is needed.

    7. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher)
      12th April 2012, 1:45

      Caterham’s problem with overtaking is that their nearest competitors are either too far behind (Marussia, HRT) or too far ahead (everyone else) for them to overtake anyway!

    8. I support Formula One never returning to Bahrain….

      1. May I ask where you stand with Mclaren being owned by the same people?

        1. Ted Bell is probably owned by them as well. Or it could be irony.. I don’t know..

    9. I don’t think that the COTD is a good way to describe Susie Stoddart’s Wolff’s career achievements (or lack of them) so far. First, it has to be said that she has never had an actual specification car, while Jamie Green has mostly had one. You cannot say that Hamilton is much better driver than Alonso just because Fernando scored 0 points in his inaugural F1 season, while Lewis almost won the title in his debut year.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Wolff is as good as Green. Jamie is probably one of the greatest British racing drivers of the last decade. He beat Rosberg, Hamilton, Sutil and Kubica on his way to the 2004 F3 Euroseries title (admittedly, he had a bit more experience than his competitors, too). Wolff probably wouldn’t be even in DTM if drivers were chosen purely on merit but she’s clearly better than Katherine Legge or Rahel Frey, let alone Maria de Villota.

      If we want to encourage women to do motorsports, we have to start somewhere, instead of just waiting for a female version of Alonso to appear out of nowhere. In my opinion, hiring some ladies as test drivers is a good way to start.

      1. Quite apart from anything else, COTD assumes that Jamie Green is i) available and ii) would have been willing to give up what looks like a well-paid, fulfilling career in the DTM for an arrangement which promises a bit of testing with little chance of a race seat. If I were Jamie Green, it’d take a full race seat with a top-team to make me want to switch to F1.

    10. F1 teams expect a cancellation. FOTA wants FIA to decide. Bernie has decided but also says teams can decide whether to go or not. Organizers say the race is safe as does Bernie. Media does not. This is turning out to be a right messy affair. Frankly in terms of safety I guess it would be adequate which would not give teams a leg to stand on if they wanted to pull out for that reason. Which means that F1 will inadvertently have to take a political stance. Did I say this was becoming really messy?

    11. So the teams are unable to cancel a Grand Prix? How does that work? I’m pretty certain that by not turning up to the race that would be construed as a cancellation! No regulating body in the right mind would punish the teams collectively for ‘canceling’ the race given the current situation.

      They could stop this right now if they wanted.

      1. @andrewtanner – The teams don’t have that power. They can withdraw from the race, but there is a procedure they must follow, but I believe it usually requires them to be at the actual circuit. If they just say “We’re not going to the race”, the FIA can punish them. Back in 2005, the FIA charged the Michelin teams with a variety of offences, including wrongfully refusing to allow cars to start the race and failure to notify the stewards of intention not to race. They could do the same for Bahrain.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys I fully expect there are procedures and protocol in place. Why follow them though? If the teams feel threatened going there, no amount of procedure is going to persuade them to go there just to leave immediately. Plus, do you think the FIA would want to be seen punishing teams for not participating? That would cause them untold headaches. The media would rip them apart.

          1. @andrewtanner

            I fully expect there are procedures and protocol in place. Why follow them though?

            Because if the teams follow those procedures, they can cleanly withdraw from the race. If they don’t follow the procedures, they open themselves up to a world of trouble from the FIA, who can and will penalise them for it.

            If they’re withdrawing to prove a point, the message is loud and clear regardless of whether they follow procedure or not. So why take the risk of, say, being banned from competing for the next two races by not following protocol?

      2. As PM writes @andrewtanner, the repercussion for teams that would not go to Bahrain, if the race was not cancelled by the FIA, could well be being excluded from the FIA world championship and FOM not only stopping all payments made but also requesting back money already payed to them.

        So, yes, in theory they could breach their contract and not show up. But that would likely be the end of F1 as we know it, at least for the teams that would do so.

        1. @bascb – I don’t think it would be that extreme. They might suspend a team for a race or two, but nothing more than that. Not unless all of the teams did it. Then the FIA might break out the cat o’ nine tails.

          1. I agree with you that it would depend on how many and which teams would take the step.

            And that brings us back to another reason for not boycotting the race by a team or several team.
            They would have to face the risk of being in a minority of teams to do so, as we have seen before how hard it is to get them to commit to act together. No doubt would we see the likes of HRT breaking lines. And in that case, can McLaren afford not to go? Can Ferrari, can LotusF1 etc?

            1. @bascb – Despite my stance on not making moral statements, I would like to think that if teams felt compelled to make moral statements, they would not sit and wait until the eleventh hour in the hopes that a championship rival will withdraw first, and then not submitting their own withdrawl for the sake of scooping extra championship points.

            2. well, with F1 you never know, how else would we have ever had the glorious experience of seeing that infamous Indy GP race in 2005!

              Seriously, I doubt that a team would say it supports a boycott and then back out of it. But its very much possible that a team or several teams would not be publicly outspoken and not commit themselves to stay away.

              I mentioned McLaren because of their shareholders possibly having a say in it. And LotusF1 because they are too reliant on business connections. HRT would need the money so bad its really an easy target for Bernie to convince them. And Ferrari, will they be convinced to take action opposing Bernie and the FIA right now, forfeiting the possible gains?. Not to mention they have their own connections in the Middle East who would not be amused. Much the same goes for Mercedes, if they would want to publicly discourage going, they could have already done so.

              That is the reason such a step would have to be the whole sport, as only then it would be possible for all of them to stick with it.

              I did not mention Red Bull, because they are one of the few that actually could afford pull out (Don’t think they would do it though for more pragmatical reasons) without any bad consequences for the brand as such.

            3. @BasCB I think that’s an issue, yes. No one will want to be the first to put their hand-up and say “we’re not going”.

              I do believe in teams following rules, very much so. I would respect the FIA for enforcing rules still in these unusual circumstances but I think it would be bad for the sport (like it isn’t already!) if the teams pulled out on moral/safety grounds but the FIA punished them anyway. It wouldn’t look very good at all, don’t you think?

            4. Yes @andrewtanner, after it was put on the calendar it was always going to be another mess this year. The longer they wait the worse it gets for looking messy and inappropriate

    12. Interesting

      “I am particularly concerned that those intimately involved in F1 – drivers, teams, sponsors, media and supporters wishing to attend – are being presented with a distorted picture. This picture is being shaped by a huge amount of inaccurate and often deliberately false information being spread through social media forums. Some troubles do still exist. The almost nightly skirmishes that take place in certain villages are a potential block on progress and are putting those involved in their policing and innocent members of the public in significant danger. However, in spite of how these events may be portrayed through the medium of YouTube and other outlets, their significance should not be overplayed. These are now lawful protests, which are permitted, but violent conduct by a very small minority – often groups of 15-20 young men. These are criminal acts being perpetrated against an unarmed police force who, in the face of such attacks, are acting with remarkable restraint. These people are intent on causing harm to the police and the communities in which they live. They are not representative of the vast majority of delightful, law-abiding citizens that represent the real Bahrain that I see every day. Along with my family, I feel completely safe. Indeed, safer than I have often felt in London.”

      Of course, I don’t expect this to sway anyone’s opinion. I can already predict the rebuttal from fans; that Yates is a mouthpiece for the Bahrani government, chosen for the job because he is an Englishman and the West would be more likely to believe what he says because of it.

      1. It sure is interesting PM. Of course people finding a that Yates reports with a certain view of the situation is only logical, and true at least to a certain extent.

        It does not however take away worries at what was done to establish such a relative calm, nor of what is needed to keep things that way. Nor can it serve to take away worries of small groups or even individuals taking the opportunity to kidnap, bomb, or whatever to gain attention. And it does not address what will happen if a bigger rally is organized on Friday to protest the government.

        What it does show, is that it would be important for the world looking on to have independent people – journalists, maybe NGO’s, to have a close look at the situation and report it as it is.

        From what has been put out by Bernie in the past couple of hours, and from Bahrain itself indicates F1 is full course into going there right now. Let us hope it really does keep peaceful if it does.

        By the way, an interesting article about the question ‘is it fine to go to Bahrain now’ is this article by Badger

        1. @bascb

          It does not however take away worries at what was done to establish such a relative calm, nor of what is needed to keep things that way.

          I was drawing attention to the article, and my reaction to it was born out of the belief that some people around here will settle than nothing else but an admission from the Bahraini government that they are in the wrong. But a quick search of articles related to Bahrain on Google News show plenty of reports about protesters attacking police with Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices being set off – reports from respected news agencies and outlets, like the BBC and Reuters. These reports substantiate Yates’ claims.

          I think far too many people are judging Bahrain on what happened last year and the FIA’s reaction to it rather than the state of affairs as they are today. And I think this is a problem, because I feel that it is becoming more apparent that the Powers That Be in Formula 1 are taking an apolitical stance on the matter, whch is the right way to go about it.

          1. I think far too many people are judging Bahrain on what happened last year and the FIA’s reaction to it rather than the state of affairs as they are today.

            That is very likely @prisoner-monkeys, and it does show its not only one side using violence.

            But to me people throwing Molotov cocktails at police show that violence is still quite a risk and will be hard to control.

            1. @bascb – I Googled the places where the violence is taking place. They’re in districts and suburbs that are quite removed from both the capital and the circuit. At the risk of socio-economic profiling, these appear to be the poorer regions of the country. The most direct route from the airport to the circuit is 37km, almost exclusively on open highway (it’s only when you get to the circuit that you get off the highway) – and none of it passes within three kilometres of the worst-affected areas, Abu Saiba and Tubli.

              In fact, the safest way to do things would be to have the teams land at Sakhir Air Base, which is literally in the circuit’s back yard, and drive just a few kilometres to the circuit. Accomodation would be a bit of a problem, since most team personnel would stay in hotels rather than in the motorhome, but if things were really bad (and if the Bahrainis insisted on holding the race), then they could probably stay at the air base if they needed to. Of course, that would be pretty extreme, and based on the reports of protests, I don’t think it would come to that.

            2. Hm, but either the solution with the air base, or staying out of part of the city would mean keeping everyone together and under surveillance, wouldn’t it?

              This might well work for the team staff (although they would still have to stay in hotels close to the airport or on the route towards it, going through the infamous Pearl roundabout), and even when we take as fact that there are likely to be no outside visitors, its highly unlikely that would work for all journalists as well.
              Or it would horribly fail at showing Bahrain in a good light that way (headline – “how we were constantly guarded by security forces with guns”).

        2. @Prisoner-Monkeys @BasCB

          Along with my family, I feel completely safe. Indeed, safer than I have often felt in London.

          This is what annoys me. The attitude that if the F1 teams and drivers are safe, there’s nothing to worry about. I’ve been cringing at the press releases from people saying the teams will be in no danger because it’s almost saying anyone living in Bahrain is sub-human.

          At the end of the day, I don’t care who’s right or wrong (I have a fair idea who started it and is keeping the fire burning, though!), if people are dying, then something is wrong.

          If the protesters, say, block the entrance to the circuit, I suspect there’ll be some pretty nasty scenes. And after how they’ve been treated, there’s little chance of them backing down without a fight. So if people are injured, or dare I say killed while F1 is in Bahrain, then the blood is on their hands too as it’s definitely something that could have been avoided. And it still can be. Someone just needs to switch their brain on and put a stop to it.

          1. I fully agree with that @damonsmedley, its almost inevitable that either F1 people, journalists, fans or Bahraini civilians are going to get hurt.

            That is not the right thing a sporting contest should evoke.

      2. “Yates…chosen for the job because he is an Englishman and the West would be more likely to believe what he says because of it”
        A poor choice, then. Anyone who saw his evidence during the phone hacking enquiry will be more skeptical, rather than less.

        Last year, large protest by the Shia majority were brutally put down by the government (with the assistance of Saudi armed forces).
        This year, mass peaceful protest have recurred, and have been accompanied by sporadic violence on the part of regime forces, elements of the Shia opposition, and more recently, elements of the Sunni minority:

        The Grand Prix itself has become politicised, with the opposition calling for its cancellation and refusing “to guarantee the safety” of participants, and the ruling family (one of whose members owns the circuit) determined that it goes ahead – under the slogan “uniF1ed one nation in celebration”.

        It is fairly clear to a disinterested observer that if Bahrain were not such a lucrative race for F1, and if they did not therefore possess significant influence on the World Motor Sport Council – – the race would probably have been cancelled on grounds of safety.

        Ecclestone seems happy to parrot the regime line “everything’s perfect in Bahrain”, and while telling the teams he can’t make them go, makes it clear it will cost them dearly if they don’t: “they would be in breach of their agreement with us if they didn’t go”.

        It is possible that the GP will go ahead without trouble, but if I were an F1 team member, I’d be pretty disgusted by the naked greed of the sport’s governing body. And if there is trouble, then it must be the end of Ecclestone’s influence in F1.

        1. This is precisely the reaction I was talking about – moral extremists who will go out of their way to quash any sort of testimony that might obscure their absolutist views.

          1. Eh ?
            Seems to be anyone who doesn’t agree with you is labelled a moral extremist.

            My viewpoint has little or nothing to do with the morality of the regime (though its obvious mendacity is another matter). Where Ecclestone and the FIA are failing miserably is in their duty of care to the F1 teams.

            What part of ‘should be cancelled on grounds of safety’ indicates absolutism to you ?
            I’m genuinely curious.

          2. I find Prisoner Monkey’s response on this a little baffling! Moral extremists? Absolutist views in Nigel’s comment? Maybe it’s in response to another posting.

    13. Bernie: “I don’t think that the people in Bahrain have got anything against F1 team people or journalists”. Ok, what about those so called fans that will not have armoured transports and armed personal security guards? The fans will not be pampered like kings and queens, such as most in the F1-teams. The fans may actually be caught up in unrest and riots. Maybe even vilent dito. There may be tear gas and shootings. What then if a few international F1 fans get hurt or killed? Maybe Bernie will se them as thugs in black which we are used to at G20-meeting etc in Europe. There will always be a way to put the blame on the victims. Move on nothing to see here…

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