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Formula One, Bahrain and a Fundamental Loss of Respect

June 3, 2011
There are times when motorsport makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Normally it occurs when a driver, marshal, attendee or other personnel is injured or killed in an incident. The internal politics of the sport playing out in the public eye often leaves me embarrassed and ill-at-ease with the sport, but today politics made me feel sick.

Whether it is medical staff being put on military trial for aiding injured protesters, journalists being imprisoned or tortured for the stories they write or the promised hardline crackdown on any pro-democracy protests, everything about going back to Bahrain in this climate is wrong on every level.

This post is not a forum for the validity of the Chinese Grand Prix amidst their human rights abuses – this is purely about the Bahrain Grand Prix and the abuses that the authorities have committed in that territory.

That this announcement comes on a day when police opened fire on protesters in the vicinity of Pearl Square with tear gas and rubber bullets, is in itself a great irony. It was at this spot that the protests began in February.

It is more than conceivable that sponsors may not want to be involved in events of such disrepute, potentially making their participation questionable. If that were the case, I do hope one, or even several teams pull out of the event, but I doubt any of them have any balls to do so.
How sad that Formula One has so little respect or integrity that it needs to lower itself to such levels. What is worse is that I am not completely surprised by the decision the FIA have made.

According to Bernie Ecclestone, the decision to re-host the Bahrain Grand Prix has “…Nothing to do with money at all. Nothing, in any shape or form…
Bollocks.

As a result of the Bahrain Grand Prix moving to the end of October, the inaugural Indian Grand Prix will now take place in December.

From → F1

5 Comments
  1. Couldn’t have said it any better. This sport is rotten to its core. The decision clear shows how F1 has completly lost its touch with reality. Somehow it thinks it’s bigger than the world itself. This reminds me of the Chinese and South African Grands Prix a little too much. Nothing has changed.

  2. “Bollocks.”

    You said it, fella. 100% right on.

    I’ve yet to find a suitable explanation of what Bernie was talking about when he said this to CNN the other day:

    http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/f1-formula-one-holds-breath-before-bahrain-decision/

    “But that did not stop him hypothesizing about the reason for the kind of protests seen in Bahrain and elsewhere in recent months and days.

    ‘Too many overeducated people,’ he told CNN earlier this week. ‘If we can find a way to do something about that then a lot of our problems will disappear.'”

    What in the world can he be talking about? “Overeducated people” are the root of the problem in Bahrain? Can anybody provide any kind of context here?

    • Leigh O'Gorman permalink

      Andy, you legend. I’ve been looking for the quote the last day or so.

  3. I’m dead serious, though, Leigh. Do you have any idea what he’s talking about? The clip I watched on CNN.com after I read that SpeedTV.com story (after I calmed down from my head nearly exploding, and I realized that it might have been taken out of context) to try to figure out the context actually didn’t contain that quote, so I haven’t found anybody who has shown what he was talking about just prior to that verbiage or just after. Is this another “all women should be dressed in white like kitchen appliances” quote or a “Hitler was led down the wrong road by some bad people” thing?

    If he meant exactly how that quote sounds, I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry at Bernie Ecclestone. This isn’t just him saying something misinformed and/or stupid, this is him potentially showing that he has a complete lack of understanding how anything works or why people do the things they do, unless it’s within the confines of an F1 paddock. World’s Most Astute and Ruthless Businessman or not, I think it is finally time for him to be shown the door.

    • Leigh O'Gorman permalink

      I’m in the same boat until I find the full interview, I’ll have no idea of the context from which the quote was taken.
      In saying that, the sentence is such that it is difficult to see how the context could be misread, unless it’s a sideswipe to people thinking the know all the news just because it appears on the net.

      On the other hand, it just looks like a generally dumb thing to say; however, everything about this situation so far seems to be beyond the realms of stupidity.
      I’ve never been a defender of Bernie, but Todt has severely disappointed me – in this instance I am most definitely opposed to the decision of the FIA.

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