F1's Bahrain crisis deepens

Bahrain Grand Prix 2012 Unified promo poster, 1280, 02.04.2012
Bahrain Grand Prix 2012 Unified promo poster, 1280, 02.04.2012

With F1 currently scheduled to arrive en masse in Bahrain next week, a crisis surrounding the possible cancellation of the island Kingdom's race is continuing to deepen.

The teams have now denied Bernie Ecclestone's claim that they can simply choose to skip the event.

"That would not be possible," said a statement issued by the teams association FOTA. "Teams are unable to cancel (a) grand prix."

Bahrain, meanwhile, stepped up its campaign, accusing some of deploying "scare-mongering tactics" designed to force the race's cancellation.

The race organisers released a report conducted by Lotus, following the Enstone based team's recent reconnaissance mission to Bahrain.

"We came away from Bahrain feeling a lot more confident that everything is in hand," Lotus is quoted as having reported.

The team, however, reacted angrily, accusing the organisers of having released a "confidential" document.

"Lotus F1 Team is one of 12 contestants of the ... world championship and we would never try to substitute ourselves for the FIA", said the Enstone based team.

Surmised Times correspondent Kevin Eason on Twitter: "(It's) getting messy..."

At the same time, F1 chief executive Ecclestone became fully immersed in the political situation on Tuesday, reporteding personally phoning Bahrain's crown prince to express concern about the jailed hunger striker.

An Amnesty International report published this week had called for Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja's release, amid claims he is now close to death and being force-fed.

But the Bahrain government, through its information affairs authority, insisted that only police and rioters are being injured in "infrequent and remote clashes".

Also weighing into the argument was Sir Jackie Stewart, the eloquent triple world champion, who said: "I would go.

"The commercial rights holder has sold a package, at a price, and it is part of the constructors' agreement that they attend the races that have been published," he told the Guardian.

"As a team owner I would have to honour my agreement both orally and legally."

Whatever happens, the Bahrain saga - stretching back now over a year - is not good news for the future of the island Kingdom's calendar spot.

"Maybe we wouldn't renew it (the contract)," Ecclestone admitted to the BBC. "We'll have to look and see."


Published Apr 11th, 2012 9:20am
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Comments (13)

BaderSater BaderSater
Its so funny how they are making such a big deal about Bahrain while they are about to have a race in china. The most oppressive country in the world. I don't understand how the world can believe the lies of certain individuals in my beloved country. Bahrain has always been a peaceful melting pot of cultures. All that our country has built in the past is being destroyed by people who don't have the countries best interests at heart.
Apr 11th, 2012 4:34pm
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ucplayer ucplayer
Ecclestone is a gold digger
Apr 11th, 2012 5:33pm
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BaderSater BaderSater
I cant argue with that.
Apr 12th, 2012 8:40am
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sideskraper sideskraper
Glass houses my friend. When a country kills it's own people when they demonstrate peacefully or otherwise, it destroys the "peaceful melting pot of cultures" and everything that it "has built in the past" on it's own.
Apr 11th, 2012 7:13pm
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BaderSater BaderSater
"demonstrate peacefully" these people you are talking about have proven links to husballa which is considered a terrorist organization by the USA and the international world as a whole. When "peaceful protesters" start throwing Molotov cocktails at police patrols they are no longer peaceful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6bINQWQCfI
Apr 12th, 2012 8:38am
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sideskraper sideskraper
You have missed my point. I did not claim the protestors are peaceful. I stated ".....peacefully protest or OTHERWHISE." It is clear the demonstrations are designed to maximise their impact in the eyes of the world. That doesn't mean that they should be killed without discretion. Nor should people be tortured for either protesting or standing up for human rights reforms. There is no reasoned excuse for either in 2012.
Apr 12th, 2012 4:44pm
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aksaid aksaid
Dear readers of this article, I respectfully greet you. I am a resident of Bahrain and I am writing to you about this conspiracy happening against the favored sport of F1 racing. In the Middle East we were looking to bring up a new perspective of our countries, but unfortunately we are facing difficulty from the menace distortion of the image we embraced of sportsmanship and international belonging. We don't want this image to be affected by the criminal acts of uncivilized criminal minded individuals acting towards terrorizing and distorting the image of our peaceful Arab countries, and specifically Bahrain. I am as all of you outraged by these acts and claims to cancel the race, and we as sportsmen and lovers of peace in all forms realize the importance of sports to show unity and display professional development. As a member of this great website and portal to the automotive world, I ask each member to show support to the Bahrain F1 Race. Support the sport. Support the teams. Support The Kingdom of Bahrain. Support Peace. Go to the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix. There is nothing but peace and wishful prayers for the Bahrain Grand Prix to take place successfully with no interruptions. The country is in excellent shape, political stability, and ready for the event more than ever. May God protect the Kingdom of Bahrain. See you all on the track!
Apr 11th, 2012 3:13pm
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Aygo Aygo
I enjoyed reading your post, which made me smile, but I think the latter line regarding political stability is currently untrue, unless I've missed something?
Apr 11th, 2012 4:28pm
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aksaid aksaid
World wide media tends to be bi-polar to attract ratings. No one would ever be transparent enough to display the truth behind any matter. Cause this will result in conflict of interest. Amplified and dramatized news isn't the best source. We need to look after the truth and see how reliable or sources are.
Apr 11th, 2012 6:06pm
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sideskraper sideskraper
So, we have to take certain people's (Bahraini's) word for the truth but not others (journalists)? It would seem that Bahraini's are more likely to have an agenda in the presentation of their national image than the journalists. If there really is this huge untold story regarding the unrest in the country that would change the world's perspective on the situation, it would be quite easy to disseminate it to the world. Much of the world's media has a responsibility that it takes very seriously, to tell both sides of the story. Where is this truth behind the matter?
Apr 11th, 2012 7:19pm
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Prince_Ash Prince_Ash
I want my f1!!! screw that place. just go! :) if they do anything. then never have a race there again. simple as that!
Apr 11th, 2012 1:54pm
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Bojassem Bojassem
Nothing is going to happen. These are simply tactics to cancel the race therefore affecting the economy of Bahrain.
Apr 11th, 2012 1:37pm
3 1
What a mess. Just go, nothing's gonna happen.
Apr 11th, 2012 1:10pm
4 1