Monday, 21 February 2011

Bahrain GP Cancelled - Correct Decision But For The Wrong Reason

It has been announced today that the F1 season opening Grand Prix in Bahrain has been postponed to an undetermined future date. It was due to run on March 13th but the season will now begin in the country that since the mid-90s has become used to staging the showcase first race of the year - Australia, on March 27th.

Correct Decision
After the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt were forced from power, demonstrators in Bahrain have been demanding that the ruling monarchy gives up its near-absolute control over key policies and positions. But the unrest and deaths that have surrounded the Gulf kingdom as a result (but which has been lost in the Libyan rage of recent days) had put a great question mark over the March 13th race date.

It is only right then that the race doesn't take place as scheduled.

The Wrong Reason
In a statement, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa said:

"We must focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting to a later date. After the events of the past week, our nation's priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united."

But why was it allowed to reach the point where the Bahrainian Royal Family decided to pull the event? It should have been swept out from under their feet a week ago.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone should have pulled the plug on the race as a moral response to the unacceptable way that the ruling government was dealing with the protestors. The fact that he didn't shows weakness on his part and leaves F1 in my opinion in a bad light.

What was Bernie's response? As follows...
F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone
Got It Wrong

"It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country.

"The hospitality and warmth of the people of Bahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who has been at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify. We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon."

It isn't the hospitality that should count most Bernie. The wine and the canapes come second to the sight of a government turning its guns onto its own people. This is completely unacceptable.

Back to Oz
I hope that Bahrain does recover and that the race can return - but not on the Bahrainian Royal Family's terms but on those of a compassionate and moralistic international community.

Sort it out Bernie - it isn't all about money you know.

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