The World Motor Sport council voted to get the Bahrain Grand Prix re-instated in a move that was praised by Bahrain’s prince but met with sharp criticism elsewhere.
The Bahrain Grand Prix now pushes the Inaugural Indian Grand Prix to the end of the season. The Indian Grand Prix will now be held in December andd Bahrain Grand Prix takes the 30th October slot.
The Bahrain Crown prince praised the move :
“Having the race back in Bahrain has, indeed, significantly unified the people of Bahrain in this period,” Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa said
“Their love for their country and caring for its interest has motivated them in supporting efforts to bring the race back to Bahrain this year,” he added.
This is ofcourse in stark contrast to what the rest of the world feels. We had recently reported on the democracy protests in Bahrain, what we didn’t report (as we aren’t a political blog) was how the protests were crushed and citizens detained in the kingdom state. Its no wonder that the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix has people up in anger all over the Internet.
Former FIA president Max Mosely was vocal of his criticism and hoped that the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix would be reversed. In a piece for the Daily Telegraph, he wrote :
“Surely the line has to be drawn when a sporting event is not mere entertainment in a less-than-perfect country, but is being used by an oppressive regime to camouflage its actions” Max Mosley wrote.
“If a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government. If Formula 1 allows itself to be used in this way in Bahrain, it will share the regime’s guilt as surely as if it went out and helped brutalize unarmed protesters.”
“Having carried out these horrific acts, the Bahrain government wants to clean up its image. That’s where the grand prix comes in. By running the race they hope to show the world the troubles were just a small, temporary difficulty and everything is now back to normal.
“By agreeing to race there, Formula 1 becomes complicit in what has happened. It becomes one of the Bahrain government’s instruments of repression. The decision to hold the race is a mistake which will not be forgotten and, if not reversed, will eventually cost Formula 1 dear.”
Red Bull driver Mark Webber was also critical and till now one of the only f1 drivers who seems to have come out openly against the decision, He wrote on his website :
“In my personal opinion, the sport should have taken a much firmer stance earlier this year rather than constantly delaying its decision in the hope of being able to reschedule it in 2011.
“It would have sent a very clear message about F1’s position on something as fundamental as human rights and how it deals with moral issues.”
“Like it or not, F1 and sport in general isn’t above having a social responsibility and conscience. I hope F1 is able to return to Bahrain eventually but now isn’t the right time.
“As a competitor I do not feel at all comfortable going there to compete in an event when, despite reassurances to the contrary, it seems inevitable that it will cause more tension for the people of that country.
“I don’t understand why my sport wishes to place itself in a position to be a catalyst for that.”
For better or for worse, formula one is motivated by money, of course we overlook that 30% of the McLaren formula one team is owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain.
However its (commercial interests) working in the other way also, countless petitions have been started to pressurize Red Bull and other consumer dependent companies to pull out of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
FOTA is another key player in this mess, however FOTA’s current president is from the McLaren team who are owned partially by Kingdom of Bahrain, so expectations are low from them.
At this point, it does not seem like we have seen the last of this matter. Its likely to snowball into something huge in the coming days.