AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Well, they did it. The organizers for the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix have canceled the Formula One race, citing the criticism from fans and teams alike as the catalyst.
“It has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision,” said Zayed R Alzayani, chairman for the Bahrain International Circuit. “We want our role in Formula One to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been, therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season.”
More than 30 people have been killed since February due to the protests in Bahrain, which contradicted the assurances given by government ministers to F1 officials that the October 30th race could still continue.
“Hopefully we can return (to Bahrain) in the future, but of course it’s not on,” said Bernie Ecclestone.
Formula One’s governing body is planning to reconsider the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix and cast a revote among all teams, after its former president and one of its top drivers called for F1 to cancel the event among continued unrest.
“The way things are at the moment, we have no idea what is going to happen,” said Bernie Ecclestone, head octogenarian of the FIA corporate machine. Bahrain is slated to pay the FIA $40 million to host the race, but Ecclestone insists it isn’t about the money. “It is whether it is safe and good to have a race, that is the issue. We can change this by October 30 date by having a vote by fax if necessary. It can be done, and fast.”
So did it take Mosley to pipe up about Bahrain for the FIA to act, or was it inevitable all along? Well, head FIA president Dark Helmet Bernie Ecclestone is a buddy of his, and the two have stuck together through times of whips and chains thick and thin, and Mosley defends this new position from Ecclestone.
“I don’t think there is the slightest chance the Grand Prix will actually happen,” he said during a BBC radio interview. “Apart from anything else you cannot change the calendar, in the way that is proposed to change, without the unanimous agreement of the teams.”
Bahrain is still facing political turmoil as of recently, with police arresting protestors en masse. A vote to cancel the Bahrain race, currently scheduled for October 30th, would require a unanimous decision from all teams.
[Source: Times of India]
F1′s former chief commandant Max Mosley has joined Red Bull pilot Mark Webber in speaking up against the FIA’s decision to race in Bahrain this October, claiming that it is a mistake that “will eventually cost Formula One dear.”
“By agreeing to race there, Formula One becomes complicit in what has happened,” said Mosley in a column for the Sunday Telegraph.
“We will be told that holding the Grand Prix in October will show that, once again, Bahrain is a happy, peaceful country. So why is it wrong for Formula One to go along with this? Surely the line has to be drawn when a sporting event is not mere entertainment in a less-than-perfect country, but is being used by an oppressive regime to camouflage its actions.”
Of course, Mosley may have more clout than a mere racing driver—”hey, we don’t pay you to think!” seems to be the operative phrase with all the other domestic appliances. But for the son of one of Britain’s most infamous fascists, Mosley writes an impassioned opinion about the influence F1 would have on a country still facing its own charges of bloody oppression. “If a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government,” he writes. “If Formula One allows itself to be used in this way in Bahrain, it will share the regime’s guilt as surely as if it went out and helped brutalise unarmed protesters.”
[Source: Times of India]
Even though the FIA has given the go-ahead to add Bahrain to the 2011 schedule, some aren’t so sure it’s a good idea to race in the troubled country—like Mark Webber, driver for the Red Bull F1 team.
Webber was “disappointed” in the decision. “My opinion is unchanged since I was first asked about this in late February,” he wrote on his personal website and his Twitter feed. “Even though a decision has been made, I’ll be highly surprised if the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead this year. When people in a country are being hurt, the issues are bigger than sport.”
The unrest in Bahrain captured the attention of the world back in March, with protests against the government as part of the “Arab Spring.” The 2011 race in Bahrain is scheduled for October 30th, but the country is still in a state of turmoil, as Webber mentions.
“As a competitor I do not feel at all comfortable going there to compete in an event when, despite reassurances to the contrary, it seems inevitable that it will cause more tension for the people of that country,” he said. “I don’t understand why my sport wishes to place itself in a position to be a catalyst for that.”