“Did you hear about Bahrain?” version 2.0
It’s that time of the year again; F1 is finding itself once more in the unfortunately familiar position of having to decide whether or not the Bahrain Grand Prix should go ahead. In case you have a feeling of déjà-vu, yes, we’ve already been there, done that.
The common arguments are as such:
Formula 1 should not be a political tool.
- The FIA should not act according to political interests and should remain impartial when dealing with the interests of a country.
- Making a decision based on human rights in a country sets a precedent — and Formula 1 must be consistent or it risks losing its integrity.
- Dropping Bahrain — if it were to happen — from the calendar must be due to safety concerns.
It’s unsafe to go to Bahrain.
- Certain groups and activists have warned they cannot “ensure the safety” of F1 personnel.
- The opposition movement will likely be highly scrutinised over the weekend, and given Bahrain’s recent track record, they could also be in danger.
- F1, being hugely popular and with a large global TV audience, will be a good target for protesters seeking exposure. Police will be keen to silence them, which could spell trouble.
Formula 1 needs to lead by example.
- Political tool or not, either going to Bahrain or calling the race off has political ramifications.
- By staging the race, F1 is supporting the government’s “ploy” to silence the opposition and engaging in brinkmanship.
- F1 must make the decision that will cause the least amount of grief and suffering.
The whole Bahrain situation just seems wrong. As much as I’d love another Grand Prix, there needs to be a damn good reason to hold the race. The Bahraini government is obviously holding the race for political purposes, why can’t the FIA? The FIA could set a standard by refusing to hold the race, encouraging action to fix the political climate, instead of idly racing because of the heap of money going to Bernie’s account. Unfortunately nobody really knows the current situation. The words from the activists are designed to scare, while the words from the government (and most of the media) are quite heavily biased. The only way to find out, unfortunately, is to get the cars on the ground. And yeah, I will be watching.
What about you?
But all of the frightening news circulating at the moment appears to not affect the FIA’s decision as much as the royal family’s word does. Whether the race goes ahead or not is entirely in the hands of the sport’s governing body. Unless the teams and/or insurance companies unanimously decide to pull out, there will be a Grand Prix of some description held in Bahrain this month.
I asked of the F1 fans on Twitter yesterday evening whether they’d be watching the race, and the responses l received were mixed, but very interesting.
Many people were of the opinion that their viewership will change nothing. But there were equally as many people adamant in their argument against watching.
I found it very interesting to read the mixed feelings from people that share my passion for F1.
But there was an overwhelming sense of ambivalence surrounding the views of many.
Most fans I’ve spoken to don’t seem to want the race to go ahead, but have admitted to the fact they’ll most probably be watching should it happen.
So will you be watching the Bahrain Grand Prix? Be sure to add your vote and share the reasons below.