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F1: Bahrain To Get Green Light? – Beyond Sports Part 3

by on April 11, 2012


As possibly the final part of this feature topic before a final decision is made by FOTA, F1 and the FIA on Bahrain, I want to briefly discuss the other side of the argument.  That would be third side to the coin where the decision would be to not cancel the GP.  Many believe the protests are just pockets of activists looking for attention and using scare tactics to make headlines.  While others believe that even the protesters and activists wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize their own cause by bringing negative attention that might discredit them or the cause.

The Confusion:

We are about two weeks away from what will or will not be the Bahrain GP and none of us are any wiser as to whether it will actually happen.  Journalists, media, sponsors etc… have their airfare booked and hotels confirmed.  Protesters are ramping up to make more noise.  Activists call on BBC and Sky to boycott Formula One race. Bernie Ecclestone says he is leaving the decision up to the teams whether to attend or not however he also states that they are under contract to do so.  FOTA has stated that they do not have the power to make that decision and pass the buck to the FIA to make the call.  The FIA have not made any decisions against holding the GP and thus have come across perhaps as being a bit weak. No team has come out and made any statement saying they are not interested in contesting the GP.

The Pro-Bahrain Argument

Recently Sir Jackie Stewart, speaking to Al Jazeera English suggested that the GP in Bahrain must go on in order to send the rest of the world a proper message. 

Stewart said: “I think that it should go ahead because I think it has far bigger ramifications, not only for Bahrain, not only for the region of the Middle East but also on a global basis because I think there is a very good reason that naturally democracies are required and the Middle East as a region will be changing to democracies more than they have ever in the future but I don’t think democracies can be achieved in one month, twelve months or even one or two years…”

“I do think that security is a major issue, particularly in a Formula 1 race, but if somebody does a demonstration in such a way that it disturbs a major sporting event, I think that’s a serious fraud. And I think that if these were peaceful demonstrations, it would be much more powerful for those who need to have that change and want to have that change to have the world see them as responsible people not irresponsible people…”

One Fan’s Perspective:

On Twitter I had a very brief discussion with Chris Thompson (@cwt1965), Co-founder of MotorsportXS about this topic.  Chris shares Sir Jackie Stewart’s opinion that the GP should proceed. 

Chris states the following: “…I do think that the security will be so tight and the rebels too concerned about killing their cause for there to be any problems.   Bahrain regime is a despicable one and I fully support the rebels but I think they are huffing and puffing pre-race to get some attention and publicity but will leave the race alone so as to not ruin their standing and world support…”

Cristina Severini ‏ @mcrisever believes that the decision may be economically swayed, “if Bahrain go ahead will be the right decision or the economy decision? who knows…”


 So to summarize, there are definitely arguments on both sides of the Bahrain fence.  From the outside looking in, we know very little of the actual truth.  We know only what the media portrays whether right, wrong or indifferent. We must sit and wait for the F1 and Bahrain to play their cards to see what will happen.

What would you do?

Author: Ernie Black




From → Features, Formula One

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