The Bahrain shame and F1

First published on my Facebook profile on Saturday, 04 June 2011. & F1Pulse.com

Okay, so the FIA and Mr E have decided that Bahrain will go ahead and the Indian GP would be pushed to December as the season ending weekend. Whatever that means for the Indian GP, I cannot help but think that this has seriously dented the image of F1 as a sport. There already was enough evidence of criticism towards F1 that it is almost all about money and less about ethics and morality and this decision just takes that thought further into the engraving. Safety issues aside, what answers do the FIA and the old goat have for the human rights’ violations that took place in Bahrain during the protests? Being involved with China has had its share of frowns pointed at F1 and now the Bahrain go-ahead is only going to make that worse.

In its finely crafted words in explaining the said decision, the FIA said it

“reflects the spirit of reconciliation in Bahrain, which is evident from the strong support the race receives from the Government and all major parties in Bahrain, including the largest opposition group, all of whom endorse the Formula One Grand Prix and motor sport in the country. The WMSC feels that reinstating the Grand Prix is a means of helping to unite people as the country looks to move forward, and also recognises the commitment made by the Formula One teams, their employees and families, and personnel associated with the Championship including the local team of volunteers who are so vital to the event”.

All that PR holds little water when you think that the Bahraini ruling family has tried its best to suppress its own people’s voice and inflicted violence upon them to safeguard their own interests. That fact alone makes it completely unthinkable for a sport of F1’s spread to ever want to be associated with such an authority. They might say that everything’s fine in Bahrain and that its all coming back to normal.

The question here is, what defines ‘normal’? Does it mean that the protest has been crushed completely and the human rights’ violations have been swept under the fur carpet and so its all normal? Or does it mean that the opposition has come to an amicable agreement with the ruling family? There is no strong evidence of the latter, so one could only assume what has been going on there.

The other fact to consider here is that the teams, which actually make F1 the sport it is, all voted against going to Bahrain at a meeting in Monaco. That doesn’t seem to bother anybody at all, not least Mr. E or Jean Todt. Among all the ridiculous 2013 engine regulations mess, this decision has been made as if it were about a weekend club night and that organisers would lose money if it were cancelled.

It’s yet another example of the brassbound, spineless and greedy nature of Bernie and co. when it comes to moral behaviour and ethical judgement of a situation.

I am not at all in support of this decision and I’d say its safe to think that most sane people aren’t either.

Now comes the question of the Indian GP. It’s now pushed to the end of the season and there’s even some reasoning going around as to how it would actually be a good thing. According to a few, it would help make the FIA Annual General Assembly and Prize-Giving Gala a greater success as otherwise there wouldn’t be a lot of “distinguished” guests attending it if it was held on its own after the season finale in Brazil.

That might, in part, be true but it’s no justification for pushing a first-time GP to the end of a calendar, especially when the organisers are trying hard to get the planning and execution right. A delay might help by giving them some more time to prepare better but, at the same time, it upsets the schedule and plans. And mind you, organising a GP is a HUGE deal. It’s a logistics nightmare and its very hard to understand just how much goes into organising a F1 race weekend.

All of that and lets not forget about something that actually feeds everyone involved in F1, the fans! Many might have made travel plans not just within the country but also thousands from outside of it too. All of that just goes out of the window and if I was coming to India to watch the GP and I had to cancel and reschedule everything after this mockery of a decision, I might as well just forget about it and watch it on TV. Not very good for the inaugural Indian GP, is it? And yes, I’ve already heard a lot of disappointed and angry people who had their travel plans trashed by this decision.

I just hope that every single seat at the Bahrain International Circuit is empty come October 30 and most importantly, no one gets hurt as its been looked at as the most suitable way for the protesters and the opposition to stage their concerns to a worldwide audience.

God be with the F1 team personnel and with anyone else who still thinks its smart to attend this Barbaric amusement show!

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4 Comments

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