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Formula 1 teams push for Bahrain Grand Prix rethink
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Formula 1 teams push for Bahrain Grand Prix rethink
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Jun 2011   |  4:29 pm GMT  |  79 comments

The F1 teams have written to the FIA, FOM and the Bahrain Grand Prix organisers, stating their collective position regarding Friday’s FIA World Council decision regarding Bahrain.


Having deliberated on it yesterday, the teams collectively, via the channel of the F1 Teams Association (FOTA – which does not include HRT), is understood to have said that they are unwilling to race in Bahrain on October 30th, as was decided by the WMSC and feel that the Indian Grand Prix should be restored to that date, as originally scheduled in the 2011 calendar.

It was reported earlier today that the teams are not closing the door on a race in Bahrain later this year, possibly looking at the December 11th slot. But I understand that this is not the case. Their objection is logistical and they are not prepared to go there this year. They are focused on Bahrain getting itself together in time to host the first race in March 2012.

Clearly they believe that it was premature to schedule a race for October 30th when the security situation remains uncertain.

It appears that Bernie Ecclestone has been aligned with the teams on this one, against the FIA, shifting position last night.

Speaking last week, before the FIA’s decision, Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said that extending the F1 season into December was not something he or Mercedes could consider,

“Our guys have been working since January and to then give them no time for a holiday until Christmas is not acceptable,”he said. It seems that this is the position all the teams share.

Meanwhile the impetus behind this is that the teams believe the vote was unconstitutional. Former FIA president Max Mosley has said that F1 should not visit Bahrain at all in the current circumstances and went on BBC radio this morning to say that the FIA vote had not been carried out correctly as it was not done with the unanimous support of the teams, as any last minute change needs to be. This would make it an unconstitutional change.

The teams have taken a quiet position here, but a firm one. It’s not over yet, but the event is clearly not going to take place this year, without the teams, who have demonstrated that there is no show without Punch.

A solution will be found, but it looks like the Indian Grand Prix will take place on October 30, as originally scheduled.

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79 Comments
  1. jon says:

    this was a non starter.shld have been left off till next year,if the unrest is settled….. yhis is not a race that will be missed…boring……..

  2. Dave P says:

    Don’t go thinking that Bernie is somehow the hero in this. He created the problem by not stopping the idea in the first place, he was all for it (and even voted for it) until he saw the sense of displeasure from the public and the press…then he changed his mind. That is not leadership that the F1 or FOM needs.

    FOTA were slow in that they should not have allowed the FIA to even vote on it. They had the veto anyway in that the FIA could not decide to do it without their unanamous agreement.

    This is why I think they should be using a live vote system such as yours James. I think the 92% against shown on your site was a clear enough view for them to end the decision before it was made

    Yet again, F1 shows complete poor control on itself all round from FOTA, Bernie (FOM) and the FIA..

    Its not hard to see why they lurch from one problem to another

    1. Tim. says:

      He had 40 million reasons to not stop this BE has never cared about human rights or anything remotely resembling a moral compass…he is about MONEY…period…[mod]

    2. alexbookoo says:

      I agree it is extraordinary how amateur the FIA make themselves look when pretty much any big decision is required of them. And when it’s a really big decision involving world politics, they’re completely out of their depth. Just look at the leaked official FIA report on Bahrain for evidence, which we can all now read and laugh at: http://www.avaaz.org/act/media.php?press_id=251

      Who would have thought that Jean Todt could make Max Mosley look wise and reasonable. Where’s Ari Vatanan now – come back, they need you…

    3. Dan says:

      Did Bernie actually vote for it or did he abstain from it? We know that there are people that did abstain but I don’t remember hearing any names yet. Would be interesting to know.

    4. markdartj says:

      What BE could be trying to do is sew discord between FOTA and the FIA before the new concord talks come up. Both parties want a bigger slice of the pie, yet, stand to not gain as much if they do not present a united front. While BE’s comments sometimes appear daft, he rarely says anything without careful consideration of all the permutations, I’m not a big fan of him, but I”d hate to play chess with him.

  3. Dale says:

    Maybe if FOTA had Mark Webber as its Chairman a proper & right response would have been given as clearly the fans (that’s us folks) think is right.
    Reading this article and as reported on Autosport it’s really brought home to me how nothing would really change even if F1 went it alone and left FOM and the FIA behind.
    This whole episode is truly testing my support for F1………………

    1. . says:

      So why again does Webber have no problems racing in China while Tibetan monks are being arrested, imprisoned and executed?

      Same for fans like you?

      1. Merlinghnd says:

        I do believe that F1 in any country that has a dubious human rights ( amd you can add whichever countries you want to this) record does not make the situation worse and in some ways by opening these countries to world scrutiny may, if ever so slightly lead to potential future improvements. Maybe wishful thinking from an eternal optomist.

        However in the case of Bahrain, the F1 circus will be a focus of protest and thus a focus of the Bahrain Government to crack down.

        I am sure people will die as a result of F1 going to Bahrain, I am not so sure the same is case in the other countries F1 goes to.

        That is the difference in my view in this situation.

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Yeah, you know, it’s called double standards.

      3. alexbookoo says:

        Are Tibetan monks being arrested BECAUSE of the Chinese Grand Prix? That’s why Bahrain is different.

        (Although I’m not supporting China or F1 racing in any of these autocracies that only get the races because their governments take the people’s taxes and give it to BE to enhance their own prestige. But Bahrain is on another level.)

      4. K-F1 says:

        These are two difference issues in terms of relevance to F1.

        Stop trying to get to the political side of things. How different are you if you think F1 can be used as an instrument for political issues?

        Tibet and China issues did NOT affect F1. No F1 personnel were or could have been under threat due to the issues.

        Bahrain has issues that seriously and dangerously affects F1 personnel.

        See the point?

      5. Nemo says:

        If you judge every country on past human rights abuses, then F1 wouldn’t race anywhere.

    2. Mike Clarke says:

      Could not agree more with you! At least with Mark as spokesperson, you know you’d be getting an honest opinion (for once…)

      1. Brandon says:

        You can make an argument for not holding the Texas GP on the basis that the USA is responsible for the 38,000 dead just across the border as a result of their frivolous drug war. If we’re gonna include every possible bad thing a country has done then there would be no more races on the calendar

      2. Mike says:

        Totally agree.

  4. Sebee says:

    Even I’m beginning to get the feeling that my hopes of an extended season will be a no-go.

    Interesting that teams are not opposing the GP, just the messy shuffling. I’d say boycotting a race that’s last on the calendar is easier than boycotting one that’s sandwiched between GPs.

    1. Bob D says:

      Sebee

      Maybe citing logistics was the diplomatic way to avoid Bahrain this year.

      And James, “no show without Punch”. Is there an American English translation for that?

      1. James Allen says:

        As in Punch and Judy show

      2. Russell says:

        How about ‘No burger without the beef?”

      3. Rodger says:

        Although I’d never heard that phrase before (American as well here) I understood the meaning right off the bat. And it is one I’ll add to my repertoire. It’ll go well with all of the phrases I’ve picked up over the years from my Cornish friend, and those I grew up with from the U.S. Southwest, and southeast.

      4. Sebee says:

        I wish the Bahrain race would go ahead personally. I don’t see what the protesters would accomplish by putting the F1 circus and media at risk. I understand need for attention, but there has to be a better way. This race was there for what, 6 – 7 years or more? Now suddenly it’s a huge issue to have a few tourist bring their cars for a quick weekend spin?

        But with Vettel wrapping the championship up in Hungary to ensure Red Bull can throw a proper 3 week party before next race – perhaps it’s just as well that the 2011 season comes to an end sooner than later. Those F1-less winters are just so darn long!

  5. Brown Eyed Girl says:

    Hurrah! Some sense, how on earth can the FIA be happy and say things are back to normal when nearly 50 Dr & Nurses are on trial for treating injured protesters!

    And even if they were ‘back to normal’ that still isn’t a reason to go as normal involved opression and human rights abuses.

    1. Heshan says:

      Well said.

    2. . says:

      China, Brazil, Abu Dhabi? Hello?

    3. Luke says:

      Should we stop going to Abu Dhabi, China, Brazil, India and Turkey, seeing how normal involves oppression and human rights abuse there as well?

      1. Brown Eyed Girl says:

        first off, there are slight differences in terms of the immediate and brutal crack down that is currently being seen in Bahrain.

        But that aside, yes we need to look at the bigger picture and not be silent when it comes to human rights abuses.So for example, i would hope that part of the argeements when thye signed India included stipulations over the use of child labour – which was a sad sight to see at the Common wealth games last year.

        Also by F1 going to Bahrain it means that the authroities will likely crack down on peaceful protests earlier and more serverly to ensure people are rounded up and held in detention ahead of time.

        I honesty suggest reading the latest reports from Amnesty International UK and Human rights watch. My friend has just written a some briefings which can probably be found in the press release section.

        oh and just to make clear im a huge f1 fan, but also a human rights campaigner so this is a sad situation for me – to see a sport i love and which brings such incredible technical advancements be mixed up with a regime that tortures civilians for peacefully protesting their right to freedom of expression

      2. Sebee says:

        I keep hearing 30 killed. It may sound insensitive but tens and hundreds of thousands died elsewhere to win their rights.

        Progresses hijacking an F1 event and provoking a response puting lives at risk is likely to not get the world reaction they are looking for – sympathy for their cause. I’m surprised no one there sees it.

      3. Sebee says:

        I mean protesters – darn autocorrect.

      4. the_rh1no says:

        Well that’s kind of trivialising the problem to all or nothing. Unfortunately the world is not black or white, but if we continue on the list F1 probably shouldn’t visit australia, singapore, Italy, UK, in the future USA…

        Unfortunately the problem lies with where one places their line that shouldn’t be crossed on the grey scale between the black and white. Their are probably good arguments either way for Bahrain, although I do feel that unlike other situations the F1 race would act as some kind of legitimising of the government’s actions in Bahrain.

        In the end I actually kind of feel bad for the Indian GP organisers, think how far in advanced these things are planned and advertised and at the drop of a hat their event is being chucked about. I just wish this was sorted out a little quicker and, with meetings at previous races, why is this finally being discussed properly after a backlash in public after an announcement.

      5. tom says:

        Some of the stats around the Indian GP’s land acquisitio from Vandana Shiva’s op-ed on Al Jazeera:
        http://aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/06/20116711756667987.html

        Some of the points:

        - In Greater Noida (UP), 6000 acres of land is being acquired by infrastructure company Jaiprakash Associates to build luxury townships and sports facilities – including a Formula 1 racetrack – in the guise of building the Yamuna Expressway.

        - In total, the land of 1225 villages is to be acquired for the 165km Expressway.

        - The farmers have been protesting this unjust land acquisition, and last week, four people died.

        - Land has been taken from farmers at Rs 300 ($6) per square metre by the government – using the Land Acquistion Act – it is sold by developers at Rs 600,000 ($13,450) per square metre – a 200,000 per cent increase in price – and hence profits.

  6. Steven says:

    Looks like some people in F1 still have some sence. Let the showdowm begin, although I hope it doesnt get too nasty.

    Bahrain should just say “the hell with it” and wait until next year. Its seems to me like they intend to “use” F1 for political purposes

  7. Harvey Yates says:

    Mosley criticising the FIA for not following their own rules? He’s having a laugh.

  8. Jo Torrent says:

    I suppose nobody wants to go to Bahrain but nobody wants to take the responsibility for the move to get out of it.

    It took the teams few days to figure out a solution and they came out with their opposition to a different date for the Indian GrandPrix. There is absolutely no valid argument for the teams to prefer going to India on 30 October rather than the new date.

    Besides, I feel like the India circuit isn’t 100% ready that’s why the news that the race will be postponed was welcomed enthusiastically from the Indians. You don’t expect a circuit to agree easily on a race postponement so easily if everything were ready which is unfair to the spectators and a big hurdle to the race logistics.

    Max Mosley
    *******

    I didn’t know that Max Mosley was an active defender of the orphan and the widow. But, the old man isn’t sparing any effort in his relentless crusade against the Bahrain race.

    I know for certain he isn’t doing it because his heart bleeds at the sight of people fighting for their freedom. So, either he has unfinished business with Bahrain authorities or more likely he wants his office back.

    1. James Allen says:

      They did refuse to welcome him after he was exposed in News of the World, if you recall.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        I don’t recall but that explains why he has something against them. Max doesn’t forget easily.

      2. Sebee says:

        The ruthless rights violators taking the high ground on Max Mosley. In all this Max mentions, everyone forgot that little un-invitation tidbit from a few years back.

      3. Dale says:

        Max Mosley exposed by the News of the World?! Must have missed that one – couldn’t make it up could we?

        Max for sure is enjoying the moment!

  9. Steve Rogers says:

    Jean Todt seems to have made himself a laughing stock, saying that he wasn’t sure whether the vote had been unanimous but that it probably was because nobody had objected, on top of believing the dodgy one-sided report whose “human rights organisation” component came from a semi-official Bahraini body whose independence cannot be shown.

    I’m very surprised because I thought Todt knew what he was doing. Perhaps he is just an over-promoted racing driver after all. Meanwhile Max Moseley is surprising some people who don’t know much about him by standing firm on the left wing of the debate.

    Three cheers for FOTA and also for Ross for protecting his workers.

    1. James Allen says:

      Just so we are clear, FIA need unanimous support of the teams to make changes mid season

      1. Galapago555 says:

        So, once the “original” Bahrain GP was cancelled, do we have to assume that an unanimous decision by the teams is required in order to make any change in the season – e.g., to re-schedule it again, or to move India GP?

        If so, that would mean that all the teams have agreed to go to Bahrain…

      2. K-F1 says:

        So this Bahrain rescheduling is gonna fail anyway.

      3. Dale says:

        Have the teams not agreed at act as one and speak through FOTA and (according to reports) their representative (Ferrari) at the (so called) vote voted for a return to Bahrain?

      4. Grabyrdy says:

        Todt knew that he needed the agreement of the teams. Did he believe that Bernie could deliver it ? Is this just a Bernie shafting exercise ? It is really surprising that Todt, after a long period looking wise by not actually doing anything, got this so wrong.

  10. Jamie says:

    F1 is looking very poor at this point. A fractured, loosely coupled alliance barely holding it’s own sport together.

    Losing so much respect for the liked of Todt and Ecclestone and yes I also see he’s as complicit in this as anyone, as is Ferrari

    Rumours of them disregarding their own sporting regs by moving the Indian gp, not to mention the blatant disregard (and implied disrespect) for the teams and more importantly fans in rescheduling the race without agreement or consideration that many fans have probably already made arrangements for flights and hotels for a date and may not be flexible.

    It’s a terrible shadow yet again being cast very darkly over an otherwise thrilling and entertaining season and ruining “The Show’” that everyone has put so much effort into improving.

    F1 needs to get itself sorted, it’s looking as idiotic and poor as FIFA

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      “F1 is looking very poor at this point. A fractured, loosely coupled alliance barely holding it’s own sport together…F1 needs to get itself sorted…”

      This. Spot on, Jamie.

      But haven’t we seen this movie before?

      CART in 1994 and 1995, just before the CART/IRL split of 1996: Having overthrown the old order years before, CART had become the establishment and was complacent and arrogant. They didn’t market and promote the sport to new fans in a coherent fashion, alienated the traditional fan base, and ignored (or priced out) up and coming drivers. Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, to name only three, were all USAC champions before giving up on getting CART rides and moving on to become stars in NASCAR. Only Stewart ever raced open-wheel at Indy, and only in the post-split IRL.

      All of this was prefigured by the USAC/CART split of 1979, when USAC was the establishment and its governance was also arrogant, arbitrary, capricious, without consideration of the teams’ interests, and to their financial detriment. And what happened not long afterward? The FOCA/FISA War, largely for the same reasons.

      Notice the pattern? All three sanctioning bodies caught a bad case of hubris, of “we know better than anyone else, do it our way, we decide, you have no choice,” toward the fans and the teams – and didn’t act quickly enough, or at all, to address the obvious problems. Maybe they were just blind to them. Right now, the FIA/F1/FOM are in exactly where USAC, FISA and CART were.

      The FOTA teams are exactly where the CART teams were in 1979, where FOCA was shortly thereafter: Their preferences disregarded by the existing sanctioning body and subjected to arbitrary and capricious decisions; providing The Show, while those controlling the sport take (much) more money from that show than the teams receive; in other words, fed up. As Tony George and others were when they did “the unthinkable” and formed the IRL.

      I honestly believe that the FOTA teams are fed up enough that they are again thinking the unthinkable, as they did a couple of years ago. Like James said, there’s no show without Punch.

      Punch may just decide to take the show on the road.

      1. Jamie says:

        Interesting comments …. i didn’t know much about the USA sports like IRL/CART … very familar now though

        Given the teams are on the brink of requiring a new Concord agreement and the FIA is now saying it could back down (having said it was cast in stone and wasn’t going to quit) on the engine regs it feels the FIA doesn’t know what to do.

        Wouldn’t be surprised to see a no-confidence vote in the FIA leadership since this whole new angle of the violation of its own sporting code (article 66?) is making the FIA look now just studid …. Ecclestone isn’t helping and is just jumping sides to the most popular opinion almost daily it feels so i’m lost all respect for him.

        Breakaway series again? I’m just sad that this charade of an affair is casting a shadow over what is turning out to be a highly entertaining 2011 season and costing the governing body a lot of respect which it can ill afford to lose

      2. Rudy Pyatt says:

        Jamie – Here’s the history of the USAC/CART split straight from the source, Dan Gurney. You can tell this piece is dated (pre-Indycar reunification), but, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Every criticism of USAC here applies to F1 as it is today, so it’s scary that he cited favorable to F1CA:

        http://www.allamericanracers.com/cart_white-paper.html

        You may also want to take a look at this, Post #51:

        http://my.speedtv.com/go/thread/view/55856/27716649/Robin_Miller_and_Tony_George_Summit_Meeting_o

        James, I know you covered CART back in the day. What’s your take on this? What I’ll henceforth call FIAFOM (Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum? and FOM, in my view, came out of FOCA, Bernie being the common denominator) looks a lot like USAC in the late ’70s. FOTA looks a lot like the genesis of CART, and they’re even spouting some of the same rhetoric. Do you think any of the FOTA principals actually went back and took a look at Dan Gurney’s thesis?

        Let me throw in an Americanism, attributed to New York Yankee’s legend Yogi Berra: “It’s deja vu all over again!”

      3. James Allen says:

        I think everyone is aware that a division into two series would be a loss for both

  11. John says:

    Was this quick reversal by Bernie done to make Jean Todt and the FIA look bad? Bernie and the FIA had to know the criticism their initial decision would invite.

    Mosley has obviously enjoyed the decision and how the FIA has looked a bit amateur hour in all this.

  12. Jo Torrent says:

    You want to know how did the FIA conclude that Bahrain was safe to have the race back, read this

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/06/07/f1_fact_finding_report_finds_no_indication_of_any_problems_in_bahrain

  13. Munaf says:

    JA, don’t you think BE is shifting so as to be in opposition to Jean Todt? he was all for it a week ago [mod]

  14. TG says:

    Common sense prevails, but fans should stay vocal on this.

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      Yes

  15. irish con says:

    i actually think the original track layout is quite good for racing. 2006 was a great race there and dc in 07 also was great but this year would be better for all if it missed out.

  16. Chase says:

    What I find hilarious is that both Stefano Domenicali and Vijay Mallya were present at the WMSC, and since the vote was reported to have been unanimous both voted for reinstating the Bahrain race. A few days later, they do an about face. I think they got more backlash than they expected.

  17. Thomas in Adelaide says:

    Enough with the silly China comparisons please. Life is about picking the battles you can win. The only people who can change China are the Chinese people themselves. In Bahrain, the people are fighting for change, they deserve to be supported.

    I can’t understand this silly attitude of “If we can’t change everything, let’s not bother trying to change anything”.

    1. nando says:

      Quite agree with this. China having international events forces them to improve conditions even if it’s only temporary initially. If the people get a taste of the freedoms then hopefully we’ll see them find their own kind of democracy.

  18. Daniel Hoyes says:

    I’ve been pretty tired this evening, so have sat back to watch some season reviews from past seasons. Literally the last race I saw before reading this was the infamous USA Grand Prix 2005.

    “There is no show without Punch”… too true…

  19. Davexxx says:

    Slightly off-topic, and yet relevant: Regarding the expansion of the F1 calendar to include extra races and dates: Many fans (including me) would welcome this to satisfy our F1 lust ‘year-round’, BUT the F1 bodies would have to do away with the economic restraints. As Ross Brawn and others have said – the team members can’t work at that pace continuously for almost a whole year. They would have to create ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups of engineers and, well, everyone, almost doubling their workforce, so each group could have some time off and be relieved by the other group. So Bernie and others have to decide which way they want it: more money from more races BUT allow the teams higher budgets to allow for the extra work and workforce, OR, keep to the cut-backs but also DON’T expand the F1 calendar.
    On a similar theme, I wonder what the DRIVERS would think of an-even-further extended F1 calendar? Would they be up for more races, more travelling?

    1. Davexxx says:

      Actually James I wanted to follow this up with a question: As well as the Drivers, what DO the PIT crews and engineers think about their workloads? Do they love their work so much that they put up with the long hours and so forth, or, do THEY also feel it’s all too much and wish they could be relieved on a regular basis?!

    2. Monkey Nuts says:

      Re the drivers, maybe it’d be good to go back to the old system of ‘best X results count’ (remember, Senna won the WDC in 88 despite Prost actually ending up with more points – just that some of those results had to be discarded). How about, in a 21 (or 23, 26?) race season, only allowing drivers to race in a maximum of 18 or so races – so the top drivers could choose, strategically, which tracks to designate as a handful they wouldn’t drive at (bet they’d all be at Monaco, Spa, Suzuka and Silverstone) – this would mean that they wouldn’t get overworked and, more importantly in a time of no testing, the reserve driver(s) would get at least 6 races a year, filling in for the main drivers.

      1. Davexxx says:

        Hmmm, it’s an idea, but not sure I’d be in favour of it: Many fans like to see certain drivers in action ‘at all tracks’, especially if they go to see the race in person. So interest and attendance at tracks where the driver(s) decided not to go, would drop. Also I think drivers shouldn’t be able to pick and choose tracks: if they’re good enough, they should have to tackle any track!
        But I also sympathise with the test drivers’ lack of opportunities!

  20. Paddy says:

    James,
    Ross Brawn mentions holidays for team personnel. What do the mechanics do between races? Are they the ones stripping the cars and rebuilding them back at the factory?

    Also, you haven’t posted about the Virgin decision on your website. Why is that?

    Cheers

  21. Harvey Yates says:

    James,

    You have inside knowledge. What is the reason for this farce? Is in ineptitude, battling for influence or, most likely I know in F1, merely money talking?

    It’s Todt’s first real black mark but it is a biggy. He’s got some lost ground to make up.

    One assumes thee was pressure on the FIA but where did it come from?

    Go on, James. Spill the beans. Please.

  22. CGM says:

    Methinks that, once this all gets sorted out, F1 (in general) need to make a decision as to whether it is right to be “judging” individual countries and perceivably over-looking other ones whose situations may not be terribly much better. Simply, it should not be the role of the FIA or FOTA (or any other related entity) to judge these countries and the handling of the Bahrain issue has now created the need for “F1″ to say something to the effect of “From now on, if there are travel warnings in place for that Country, we won’t be going.” A nice simple clean “policy” which won’t create cries of hypocrisy and removes any concerns re money or the commercial interests of particular parties.

    1. AaronB says:

      This is along the lines of what I was thinking. There need to be a few written rules for issues like these in the future. I think that the only reasons that the Bahrain GP should be cancelled are:

      - It is unsafe for those involved with or attending the GP,
      - There is a risk that the GP will influence the political situation of the country,
      - The local people (or any people) are put at risk because of the GP.

      If there is a travel warning for the country, that could be used as evidence for these three rules.

      In my opinion, the Bahrain GP should not go ahead, mainly because the local people would be put at risk. If anybody wishes to protest at or near the GP, then F1 would have been involved in causing these people to go on trial (or worse).

      And let’s not forget that people travelling to and from hotels would be putting themselves at risk. However, I trust that the GP would never go ahead if this was the case.

  23. Flackster says:

    The only reason I can see for this farce is that the FIA voted for the race to go ahead in order to fulfil some contractual obligation to Bahrain (and avoid a potential lawsuit), and did so knowing that the teams would then veto it.

    This is the only explanation I can see as to why various team owners with their FIA hats on would vote to reinstate it, and then few days later with their team hats on would oppose the race.

    I suspect Mark Webber knew what the score was when he doubted the GP would go ahead after it was reinstated.

    The FIA had to make it look like they were serious about the race going ahead, hence the supportive comments, but I am sure in private they knew it wouldn’t. The team owners who change their vote can then claim public opinion and sponsor pressure was the reason they changed their minds. Everyone is happy, except the Bahrain rulers. But they’ll have no legal remedy.

    The big sponsors in F1 really don’t want their logos going round on cars providing PR to a dictatorship that massacres its own people for wanting democracy and freedom. If I was a big sponsor and the race went ahead, I would demand that my logo be removed from the car to make a point.

    The key will be what happens in 2012… if nothing has changed, the dictators are still locking doctors and nurses up… will F1 go back then? That will be a harder one to avoid, as no issue of having to reschedule.

  24. k9major says:

    I’m sure that I’m not the only one who now feels as though we’ve all been played by Bernie. As JA says earlier here, ‘Time will tell’. Whatever you may think of BE, the man is a genius and always acts in the interests of F1.

    1. Dale says:

      You say ‘Whatever you may think of BE, the man is a genius and always acts in the interests of F1′………

      Well I guess it’s a free country and you’re fully entitled to your opinion, an opinion I most certainly do not agree with!

      1. k9major says:

        Then perhaps you need to think a bit more carefully about it. Bernie is about the same age as my Dad. My Dad has trouble remembering what he had for breakfast, Bernie’s out there locking horns with big players on a global scale. He has been at the top of F1 for as long as most people can remember, and hasn’t done so by being inept at his job. He manipulates every situation, however difficult, into the outcome he needs, and I believe that is what we are witnessing here. I didn’t say that I liked him, agreed with how he operates or supported him, but I do think that what he has achieved, and how he has achieved it, has taken a certain amount of genius. You should also understand that by ‘always acting in the interests of F1′, BE is implicitly acting in his own interests, so inextricably linked is he with the brand. Whether you like to accept it or not, he has made F1 what it is today. For the record, I find his methods hard to stomach, but there is a strange fascination to how these things unfold. My best guess, like many other armchair experts, is that this has all been a power play with the FIA, with it’s sights firmly set on the next Concorde agreement. Time will tell.

      2. Dale says:

        As I said, ‘you’re entitled to your opinion’.
        I guess the key (and probably where we differ) is in your statement ‘always acting in the interests of F1′ and how he, I and maybe you see F1.
        In my opinion the key interest of F1 for him is not the key interest of the average fan, not by a mile and although there’s loads more money in today’s F1 that doesn’t mean it’s somehow better (I have been a follower of F1 since the late 60′s).
        Anyhow, as I say you’re fully entitled to have, say and write your opinion as you see it (isn’t it great that, unlike so many around the world we’re able to do so)!

      3. k9major says:

        Sorry to disagree with you, but I completely agree with you!! I would consider myself an average fan, have been since the mid seventies, and my key interest in F1 is very different from Bernies. By several miles. We all saw what unlimited amounts of money did to the sporting side of F1 in the last decade, and it certainly didn’t make it better. Sooner or later we will see what BE has been up to through this debacle, and my guess is that it has nothing to do with money.

  25. Dmitry says:

    Thank God, someone has some sanity left!

    I am a bit surprised by Bernie’s position changing, but not because he has done the right thing – but because he managed to find a loophole out of this ugly situation and still look as a “good guy”.

    The main thing that saddens me most is that unfortunately the one institute who should have considered asking teams, drivers and fans in the first place – instead of that has put money and own ambitions above the sanity. And this institute is running F-1…

  26. Mattoz says:

    The annoncement that we are off to Bahrain reminds me of when the FIA announced that stupid ‘medals’ points system at the start of the 2009 season. That decision was later revoked as it didn’t receive unanimous approval from the teams, as required to make such a late change to the regs. Cue an announcement from the FIA that Bahrain will once again be off…

  27. Rich C says:

    It ought to be pretty simple to know if the decision was “unanimous” don’t you think?

    And if Ferrari and Bernie both voted then surely they voted to go ahead, otherwise they would have denied it by now.

  28. Rich C says:

    Ok boys, the crisis is over.

    This just in from the Wall Street Journal:

    “WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama met quietly with the crown prince of Bahrain on Tuesday to press the royal family to investigate alleged human-rights abuses by its security forces, said senior U.S. officials.”

    That will pretty well fix everything.

  29. wxwax says:

    I think Jean Todt has been set-up by Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley.

    Ecclestone lobbied behind the scenes to have Bahrain reinstated. Todt created the scenario to make it possible.

    Yet the very next day, Ecclestone comes out against the reinstatement. And his old pal Mosley has both an elegant statement and an obscure rules interpretation ready to go.

    Why the sudden change of heart by Ecclestone? How did Mosley happen to have the rule book handy?

    I think Mosley and Ecclestone used the Bahrain situation to destabilize Jean Todt. It’s revenge for Max Mosley being pushed out.

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