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Hurray, the FIA has unanimously voted to reinstate the Bahrain GP to the 2011 F1 calendar and push the Indian GP to December 11th! Surely this is great news for motorsports fans and indicates an improving political and human rights situation in an embattled corner of the middle east. Of course, the FIA would do proper and thorough due diligence and research before making such a decision that puts the safety of drivers, teams, workers, and spectators at risk, not to mention the potential health of an entire country!

Oh, if only that were so. Instead what we have here is a huge steaming crock of bullshit.

The "unanimous vote"? Vijay Mallya, Stefano Domenacali, and Bernie Ecclestone, each with their own vested interest in the Bahrain GP moving forward that has nothing to do with the safety of the event or the stability of the country. Mallya is surely voting for Bahrain to give the Indian GP circuit more time to complete, Domenacali has middle eastern investment firms as major sponsors of his team AND Ferrari usually go quite well at Bahrain and really need every grand prix it can get its hands on if it's going to claw its way back into contention for this year's title(s), and then of course Ecclestone is on the hook for $40 million if the race doesn't go forward.

Meanwhile the "due diligence" was the form of a report from the vice president of the FIA, Mr. Carlos Gracia who was there for a one-day trip and talked "with the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Bahrain Motor Federation and Bahrain International Circuit, as well as other national and international organisations including Mr. Tariq Al Saffar at the National Institute of Human Rights"...mostly government officials and race track officials, all who have a huge interest in the race going forward for political reasons (look! Our country's regime isn't at risk of being overthrown, everyone's all smiles at the race track) as well as economic ones (the minister of fucking tourism was consulted?? Seriously?)

The timing is such that the accouncement was released immediately after the "state of emergency" in Bahrain was lifted, putting teams, broadcasters, etc. in a much tougher spot if they want to boycott the race, potentially putting them at risk of fines and penalties for doing so. BTW there was more violence on the very same day that the state of emergency was lifted; plus, from what I gather, the grand prix is considered by those who are protesting the government to be a plaything of the royals that symbolizes just how disconnected they are from the general populace. The grand prix isn't just a side note here, it's a fucking GRIEVANCE. And for those who know their American history, beware the power of the political grievance...

Meanwhile, Jean Todt gave an interview to Ted Kravitz of the BBC claiming that the race was being put forward in a spirit of reconciliation and to demonstrate that Bahrain is back to normal. Who wants to reconcile and show Bahrain's back to normal? The Bahraini government, of course, who would love nothing more than to continue ruling with the pro-democracy protests of a few months ago relegated to the dust of history as an odd blip instead of a major societal turning point.

What do I see happening? The FIA pushing this through while claiming ignorance toward any potential problems and if something bad happens at the event, they'll claim it was a horrible unprecedented and unanticipated event, give out press releases with pretty words praising whatever victims there may be and berating whatever perpetrators there may be and turn the whole thing in a PR coup for them even though they were culpable for it right from the beginning. Heads should roll for this one, but none will.

I hope Bernie Ecclestone gets assassinated.
That's a bit much...but he certainly should be made culpable, along with other key members of F1 and the FIA. It's just such a joke how this got rammed through.
QUOTE(Razor @ Jun 6 2011, 08:50 PM) *
I hope Bernie Ecclestone gets assassinated.

dude is definitely shady as they come... and i don't like the fact the race is back on, but i guess money talks, and peoples freedom does not carry the same tone as $$$.
sure its more F1 for us but at what cost?
People in the region are NOT happy about this at all. Several Bahrainis, political & sports commentators have all pointed out that they're planning to host a major sporting event, while many of the countries star athletes are still in jail because of the riots.

It's a really, really stupid move, and everyone seems to be looking at the bottom line, not the long-term damage doing the race will do to the F1 brand. If I was a driver or team, I'd boycott at any cost.
It is a joke and it sounds as though the teams are opposed and they can't actually go ahead without a unanimous decision from the teams, according to the REGULATIONS. See article with Max Mosley:

Not only all the baggage that goes with this, but the Indian GP has been moved and the season has been stretched, which I'm sure the teams aren't happy about either, what with the need for development time over the winter period.

Somehow someway, i see this race as being scraped.. It would be for the better.

"The problem there was they sent someone to look at Bahrain but the gentleman they sent, a very, very nice man called Gracia, speaks no English and, as far as I know, speaks no Arabic.

"He was then taken around by the representatives of the government and had no knowledge of what was really going on, and above all didn't ask to see the people who a human rights lawyer would like to see."

When asked about suggestions Gracia did speak to opposition groups, Mosley said: "Apparently they are very close to the government and I don't think he would have been allowed to speak to them if not."

At least everyone (besides the people in the FIA who made the decision, of course) could tell what was going on...
Just to throw something out there: Should international sporting events be held in countries with poor human rights records? China and Bahrain for example.

This is not just for F1, but things like the World Cup too . . . which is being held in Qatar (a country criticized for human trafficking and forced labour) in 2022.
Obviously countries like that should not host world sporting events, sport is supposed to showcase the pinnacle of human competition as well as bring people together. I am all against the Qatar World cup, what a joke that is, it just goes to show how corrupt these sporting regulatory bodies are.
Bahrain kinda sorta figures out that it's not the most popular place at the moment and admits the F1 race has been canned. It's just one less race for someone to place second to Vettel.
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