Bahrain – The right decision?

Today, the authorities in Bahrain called off the Formula 1 Grand Prix, in the wake of the unrest and protests that have been taking place throughout the country. This ends days of speculation as to whether the race should be run or not, and the reasons why.

Ultimately, the call was made by the Crown Prince, who said the country had more important things to focus on. He is right, looking back on the news over the last week, with protesters being shot at, injured and killed by the army. Many people questioned why F1 should go there, and if it did, it would be associated with the bloodshed, especially as the Crown Price is reported to control military forces. As he also did most of the work to get the Bahrain track built, and the race to happen, there was even a question of F1 taking a political side if it went ahead.

Many fans also called for the cancellation. But a number I know of were saying it for the wrong reasons. They wanted the race dropped from the calendar, because last year’s event was about as interesting as watching drying paint on growing grass. It’s true, I found it boring. After all, it is a Tilke circuit. But regardless of whether there’s overtaking or not, it is not the be all and end all of what is happening in the Middle Eastern country right now.

Why do I think it should have been cancelled? Simply, for safety reasons. Those saying it shouldn’t go ahead as it would side with a political view, the Crown Prince and the Royal Family, who are part of the problem for the protesters, are not looking at the fact that the race has been on the calendar since 2004. Every year, the Crown Prince has overseen it, in fact, without him, there would be no race. If it goes there later this year, or next year, it will still be in his vision. So F1 cannot escape a political siding on that front.

But the safety of the teams, the drivers, the mechanics, the backroom staff, the media, the fans who travel to the event, would had been a worry. The safety of those who would protest at the race too, and the police and army members who would be there to protect, must also be considered. The race is broadcast all over the world, and it is sanctioned by the Bahrain Government. Protesters would have a global platform to air their views, while at the same time, the army would use all force possible to keep the race running as smoothly as they can. However, they couldn’t use the same levels of force as seen last week, when six protesters were killed and dozens injured. A stand-off there could have led to riots, violence and who knows what. The opportunity for a global platform to push for reform is something that would be taken advantage of.

Ultimately, Bahrain needs to sort this out, and having a global sporting event overseen by tanks and the threat of protest when the sport doesn’t really have anything to do with the situation would not help. It would be like arguing with your partner, and inviting your friends around to watch. The best decision has been taken, and hopefully, both sides will be able to reach an agreement about how best the country is run. Until then, Formula 1 is not a priority.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: