Although it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, there have been reports that the Bahrain Grand Prix has been reinstated to the 2011 calendar, with a tentative date of October 30. The Indian Grand Prix will be pushed back to accommodate the change.
There had been some talk of holding the Bahrain event in December, but a number of the teams had protested the notion of stretching out this year’s calendar for an extra month. Ross Brawn, in particular, had called the idea “unacceptable.”
That’s not to say that the October date will mollify all parties concerned. Red Bull pilot Mark Webber has questioned the wisdom of holding the event at all this year, suggesting that it would convey a sense of political tone deafness on the part of the FIA.
And former FIA president Masx Mosley has gone one further. In a column for the Daily Telegraph, Mosely said, “The decision to hold the race is a mistake which will not be forgotten and, if not reversed, will eventually cost Formula One dear.”
Mosley elaborated by saying, “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?…[Formula 1] is being used by an oppressive regime to camouflage its actions. If a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government. 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.
“Having carried out these horrific acts, the Bahrain government wants to clean up its image…By running the race they hope to show the world the troubles were just a small, temporary difficulty and everything is now back to normal. By agreeing to race there, Formula One becomes complicit in what has happened. It becomes one of the Bahrain government’s instruments of repression.”
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been critcized for his part in getting Bahrain back on the calendar. It’s been suggested that he’s succumbed to the lure of rmuneration on offer by the host country. Well, that’s a bit like criticizing a bee succumb ing to the lure of pollen.
Naturally, Uncle Bernie wasn’t shy about expressing his opinion about the recent unrest in Bahrain. In an interview with CNN, the Evil Gnome said, “What’s our problem in the world at the moment? Too many over-educated people. If we can find a way to do something about that then a lot of our problems will disappear.”
Of course, this is a man who a couple of years ago praised Hitler for being a man who was “able to get things done.” Drawn your own conclusions in the context of the current situation in Bahrain.