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Webber “not at all comfortable” about going to Bahrain
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Webber “not at all comfortable” about going to Bahrain
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Jun 2011   |  2:32 pm GMT  |  101 comments

Red Bull driver Mark Webber has been the first Formula 1 competitor, either team or driver, to make a statement about the FIA’s decision yesterday to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix on October 30th.

Webber: Not afraid to speak out (Darren Heath)


Writing on his own website he said that he personally is fearful of travelling to the country to compete in an event which has been singled out by protesters as a rallying point for dissent.

“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.”

Whether because he thinks the teams will push back on it, or because he thinks that further protests before October 30 will make the event untenable is not clear, but he is clear in his view that the race is unlikely to happen,

“Even though a decision has been made, I’ll be highly surprised if the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead this year,” he said.

There is a sense at large in F1 circles, that this decision is just a clumsy way to push any blame away from the FIA, FOM or teams in the cancellation of the event, which many feel is inevitable at some point nearer the time. By making this decision now, the sport can say that it made every effort to fulfil its side of the contract, so if the Bahrainis are forced to cancel before October 30th, F1 will not lose out financially.

If indeed this is the strategy, doing it this way incurs some collateral damage to the sport’s image and may trouble some of the sponsors.

Whatever the thinking behind it, Webber like many who work in the sport – and judging from the poll on this site yesterday, a majority of fans too – feels that the decision makes the sport look out of step with public sentiment.

“In my personal opinion, the sport should have taken a much firmer stance earlier this year rather than constantly delaying its decision in hope of being able to re-schedule it in 2011. It would have sent a very clear message about F1′s position on something as fundamental as human rights and how it deals with moral issues.

“It’s obvious that the parties involved have struggled to reach a decision but sadly I feel that they still haven’t made the right one. Like it or not, F1 and sport in general isn’t above having a social responsibility and conscience. I hope F1 is able to return to Bahrain eventually but now isn’t the right time.”

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101 Comments
  1. jonas says:

    Thank goodness that there is one person at least within the F1 community who will actually speak his mind – regardless of his or her opinion.

    I get the impression that when it comes to any serious issue that isnt directly related to the sport (ie, Bahrain, racism … whatever) no one in F1 (including journos it seems, especially in the last couple of weeks) wants to open their mouths for fear of saying the wrong thing …

    1. Dale says:

      Hear hear!

    2. alexbookoo says:

      I totally agree that it’s so nice to see a racing driver with the guts to express his opinion. Mark Webber is showing he’s more than a sports star, he’s a rounded human being who is part of the same world that the rest of us inhabit. I went to the Senna film last night. I wonder what Senna would have said about it – I don’t think he would have kept his mouth shut either.

  2. Uzair says:

    So is he going to say anything when the race goes to Russia?

    1. Cain McPain says:

      Exactly my thoughts. There’s no human freedom in Russia. Pretty much the same as in Bahrain. If you don’t think like the government you may be tortured or you may not even exist tomorrow. Also Russia getting Winter Olympics while sending his troops to Georgia, didn’t look OK to me.

      About the subject, once again I don’t need to remind myself why Mark Webber is my favourite driver at the moment. He may not be the quickest but the guy has a personality, I respect him for saying things as they are. Most of the other F1 drivers are vice versa, only saying whats good for the team.

      1. paddy says:

        Russia and Bahrain are in no way close to the same. Russia has a democratic all be it some what corrupt government. Bahrain is a constitutional monarchy and the differences between the two having been to both is about the same as there differences in size.

    2. Mike says:

      He hasn’t said anything when we have raced in China? a country with possibly the worst human rights record of any non war-torn region in the world. So perhaps his gripe is not with human rights abuses but with his and his colleagues personal safety. Which makes you wonder about Brazil- just ask Jenson Button. This all leads me to believe that the most obvious reason for any misgivings about attending the bahrain gp are because its the most boring race on the calendar and I would whole heartedly agree.

      1. jonas says:

        China …. china … that’s the easy answer for anyone who doesn’t understand the realities of what is happening in Bahrain right now. You think Webber is so dumb he isn’t aware of some basic understanding of life in Russia or China?

        Go read a little more into whats happening, and how the reinstatement of the 2011 Bahrain GP all but legitimatizes the actions of the current regime.

        Go here for a starting point – http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/world/men-raped-tortured-in-bahrain/story-e6frf7lf-1226067570572

      2. TM says:

        Well done Jonas I wholeheartedly agree with you.

        Max Mosley gives a very interesting interview which really puts an answer to those who keep saying if we don’t go to Bahrain then we shouldn’t go to x, y, z.
        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/92002

        Personally, I can’t stand people in life whose attitude is that if we can’t do everything we shouldn’t do anything.

      3. jonas says:

        As ever, Max Mosely has put the entire affair into a short, precise article which explains the reason why this decision is wrong, and why it differs hugely from the decision to race in China, Russia etc …

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/8556714/Max-Mosley-Bahrain-decision-must-be-reversed-or-F1-will-live-to-regret-it.html

      4. paddy says:

        That is a ridiculous argument, also i can’t remember the last time I heard the police and the military fire shots or kill protesters around the track in Shanghai. That is what has been happening in Bahrain this year. Every country on the planet cannot claim to have a perfect human rights record. But at least most are tryng (some harder than others) to make things better. In Bahrain they are using bullets to sweep people under the rug and that is why formula 1 should not be racing there.

      5. jeff says:

        I don’t see an issue with this. Mainly because the people in those countries are not being jailed directly because of the GP. Where as in Bahrain they will be if the race turns up. There is a difference.

        The Bahrain government will purge the streets just because the GP is coming.

      6. UnocV says:

        I take it then that China is going around kill foreign media currently?

        Bhrain and China re different. Yes China isn’t exactly kosher and they do have rather big problems but there the population of China isn’t currently trying to fight for democracy.

        Sure some in China are, but not most.

        Added to that in China there are current protests like the ones in Bahrain are currently.

        If the tian min square masacre happened a fewmonths ago I doubt F1 would be going to China.

      7. alexbookoo says:

        The difference is Bahrainis will be tortured and possibly killed this year BECAUSE of this decision.

  3. Joe says:

    I’m really proud of Mark’s actions today.True leadership. Great to see someone with guts to stand up for what they believe in. Respect.

    1. Sossoliso says:

      You may think Mark has done well ranting about “human Rights”… I think it is a slippery slope.

      What will he say next year when Australia pushes a boat load of Immigrants back into the sea next year before Melbourne? Surely that would e violating their rights.. so do we cancel Oz?

      What would he say when the Americans grab a few more Afghans and cart them over to Gizmo.. would thet warrant the cancelling of Austin Next Year..

      What happens when the turks put some Kurds against the wall next year in a firing Squad..

      At this rate, F1 should be cancelled until nrivana has descended upon the earth. I am not happy or support the decision to go to Bahrain.. But if I were Mark, I would stick to personal Safety issues.. That ought to do it!

      1. Athlander says:

        Sticking up for one issue is better than remaining silent on everything.

      2. Precisely! Very well put.

      3. Grabyrdy says:

        Hear hear !

      4. Daniel Hoyes says:

        Yes, but a line has to be drawn somewhere and looking at countries like Libya, you can’t take the mentality of ‘everyone is as bad as each other’ all the time.

        And Webber’s main point isn’t a moral judgement on the situation – he is just saying that having an F1 event there is going to fuel the situation and just “cause more tension” than if the race was cancelled. And the signs are that this will be the case.

        I think it’s great Mark has spoken about this. F1 needs to show it has a conscience. I can’t stand people who say things like “I want to stay out of all the politics”. Politics in it’s purest form is just decisions about life and other people’s lives. To stay out of it; to not bother to form an opinion on it and leave decisions for others to make is either ignorant, wrong or just plain cowardly. And you can’t accuse Mark of being a coward…

      5. Rdw says:

        Firstly, they are gross oversimplifications of those issues. Secondly, each person has the right to decide for themselves where they draw a line or take a stance. To take a stand on one issue does not obligate someone to take a stand on every issue.

        That’s reserved for students and the unemployable.

      6. TM says:

        Lol! Well said!

  4. Lopek says:

    Mark deserves a huge amount of credit for being the one to break the deafening silence from teams and drivers alike so far. Hopefully the rest of the grid will now quickly follow suit in condemning the decision.

    I hope the uniform silence of the teams is a sign that they are talking behind the scenes to come out with a unified statement – and that statement is that they are not going.

  5. Gary Davies says:

    Characteristic courage from Mark Webber. Well done. Now we need the majority of his fellow drivers to grow a pair.

  6. Joe says:

    Once again, F1, especially Bernie, have shown just how out of step they are with the rest of the world. I just wish some of the major players in the sport would actually get some stones and speak out. Kudos to Mark.

  7. galletto says:

    I completely agree with Webber position.

  8. Johnny Talia says:

    Mark has nothing to lose by speaking his mind. RBR seem to have been pushing him toward the exit door, so he has little fear of being sacked. I hope he sticks to his principles – if forced to race in Bahrain, he could always fail to meet the 107% rule, or simply pull off and park it when the lights go out.

  9. Damian J says:

    One could raise the issue human rights abuses in China, particularly in Tibet so where does one draw the line whene deciding which countries are appropriate for an F1 race?

    1. alexbookoo says:

      I think when people are going to be tortured BECAUSE of the race, that’s a long way over any line you want to draw.

  10. TM says:

    Well done Mark Webber.
    A terrible and shameful decision was made yesterday through the priority given to money over human rights. Whether or not the Bahrainis are forced to cancel in the end, this shows that F1 would rather keep a few quid than make a common sense stance.

    At Indianapolis 2005, they couldn’t even put in a temporary chicane to allow a proper race to go ahead. In Bahrain peaceful people die, are arrested, tortured, and doctors disappear for doing their job, and it’s decided that a race should go ahead. This is beyond belief.

  11. David says:

    JA wrote: “…and judging from the poll on this site yesterday, a majority of fans too…

    Make that the vast majority of fans. The 90% against a Bahrain GP was the steady ratio of the poll, now up to 3000+ votes.

    1. ash says:

      Indeed, ‘vast’, ‘crushing’, ‘overwhelming’… All apply!

  12. John says:

    Bet he still starts the race though…

    1. Liam says:

      I bet you 10 pounds he doesn’t

  13. Merlinghnd says:

    I think Webber sums it up very well;

    “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.”

    especially the tension bit.

    I can understand the China/Russia/ Abu Dhabi argument but when F1 is held in these countries I do not think the tension element occurs with the populace.

    By holding the Bahrain GP I am sure certain people will be “removed/detained by the authorities” over the practise/race days, some local people will feel the need to protest and the authorities feel the need to crack down and it will not look good.

    Webber tells it like it is unlike many in F1 who hide their true feelings. He is becoming the conscience of F1 now ( I am sure he does not want to be seen like that, just being honest I am sure he thinks) and full credit to him for it.

    James, there must be rumblings in the media pack, don’t want to put you on the spot but how many journalists do not want to get caught up in the Bahrain GP as well as other F1 persons.

  14. Mojo66 says:

    I like Mark Webber. But the whole topic is totally bogus. If F1 is racing in China, then they can race everywhere because racing in China is clearly a statement that money is bigger than politics. And I haven’t heard any driver complain about driving in China yet.

    1. Mario says:

      Well said.

    2. Jason C says:

      Absolutely.

    3. Chris Orr says:

      +1 on that

    4. Marcus says:

      What’s different about this Grand Prix, though, is that it’s actually being used as a pawn in this whole saga to try and convince the world that everything’s returning to normal there.

      Like Mark says, as an event it also has the potential to flare up violence as the government tries to suppress citizens.

      And finally, it also puts team members and journalists into a potentially dangerous position by taking them to such a fragile country.

    5. alexbookoo says:

      I don’t want to defend China or say where the line should be drawn, but when they raced in China this year was anyone detained, tortured or killed directly because of the race? That’s the situation in Bahrain.

      I think the whole way Bernie operates is very unseemly, but Bahrain is on a different level.

  15. Dave Roberts says:

    I think Mark should be applauded for speaking his mind, let’s hope that others follow in his footsteps.

    This is just another example of what a top bloke he is and that the sport needs more people like him.

  16. SteveH says:

    It’s not just the teams who would have to go to Bahrain for a race, it’s also the fans. I don’t think many fans will want to attend this race; I certainly wouldn’t. I suppose, though, Bernie will get his fees, and that’s what really counts.

    1. DH says:

      The powers must wonder, ‘So who needs fans—or citizenry, for that matter?’ They can be such an inconvenience…

  17. Phil says:

    Mark’s comments on this are spot on, however if he was serious, I think he should be making noises China and maybe a couple of other GP’s, not just Bahrain.

  18. GuruF1 says:

    Agreed- Mark has risen above a herd of sheep.

    1. Dale says:

      Isn’t it sad that it’s only Webber who has the balls to say it as it really is.
      He may not be one of the top 3 drivers but for sure he’s number one as a man.

      Others in F1 should look at themselves.

  19. VV says:

    Good for him. It’s good to see that at least one person involved in F1 has got a conscience, even if Bernie and the FIA seem to be lacking in that department.

  20. Richard says:

    Kudos to Mark as the only driver has balls to make comments.

    1. Weeraz says:

      My thoughts exactly

    2. Rich says:

      … of course back when Bahrain was going to be held Nick Heidfeld was actually first driver to caution about being sensitive to the people of Bahrain.

      http://www.planetf1.com/driver/3213/6760737/Heidfeld-Sensitivity-needed-in-Bahrain-call

  21. Un-hypocrite says:

    “I can understand the China/Russia/ Abu Dhabi argument but when F1 is held in these countries I do not think the tension element occurs with the populace.”.

    You should ask the Tibetan monks about that…oh wait, most of them are detained indefinitely, tortured, murdered because they oppose the Chinese government peacefully (unlike the Bahrein mob who went around with guns shooting cops.

    Or ask the Brazilian dissidents being hunted down executed daily by the government.

    Anyone who is against the Bahrein GP but makes excuses for the Chinese and Brazilian and of Abu Dhabi, is a huge hypocrite, so is Webber.

    1. Coops22 says:

      Webber hasn’t made any excuses for any situation in any of those countries you mention. He has made his views on Bahrain known and that is all. And good on him I say.

  22. JohnBt says:

    High respects from me goes to Mark for his stance against Bahrain’s race. Good on ya mate!

  23. ian says:

    At last , someone of substance willing to put their views on the line.
    “a day of rage” beckons from within Bahrain.
    What price the mechanics and others not deemed worthy of protection.
    The risk is there.

  24. nando says:

    Mark seems a more worldly driver that most, I doubt the majority of drivers have the knowledge to make any sort of informed statement.

    1. mattoz says:

      Marks honesty will be sorely missed when he eventually hands up the skid lid.

  25. Nullius says:

    F1 is ripe for change. Like FIFA, it has been a secretive and unresponsive world for too long. How races are awarded must be a transparent process – too much public money is at stake.

    While reform is in the air, I hope the unsavoury business of all the dolly-bird parades in F1 comes to an early end. We’ll look back on that in a few years and will feel like the black and white minstrels. We want women in F1 – driving and engineering, not just as eye candy.

    1. Steven says:

      The races are awarded to the highest bidder…

  26. Curro says:

    Trully remarkable comments. Top man.

  27. Zac says:

    Bahrain is not the only country where human rights are not respected, where people are controlled by the government and their leaders do wrong things.

    Their are a lot of other country’s on the calender that have blood on their hands. Why is it only Bahrain we’re talking about? A small country in the Middle East.

    The FIA did the right thing. We should treat everyone the same and there are worse country’s than Bahrain which have a GP or will get one in 2012. It’s called hypocrisy.

    I have to say the current situation in Bahrain seems to be stable enough. F1 promised to go there and should go there. (didn’t they knew about the Bahrain government ethics before?)

    In the end it could be just a trick to give India enough time to be ready.. But let’s hope it we will go to Bahrain.

    1. Steve says:

      I personally have a bigger problem with the fact that they have shunted the date for India’s inaugural GP to fit Bahrain back in.

  28. mattoz says:

    James, what do u feel was the tipping point in the decision to reinstate Bahrain? I’m not privy to all the info, but on all the polls on f1 websites, plus all blogs posted by respected jounos, f1 shouldn’t be going there this year. I really hope money has not been the decisive factor.

  29. Chris says:

    While we’re at it why don’t we also boycott the race in the country that’s bombing the good people of Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan?

    1. j says:

      If that’s truly how you feel then you should boycott that race.

      1. Chris says:

        It’s not how I feel.

        I was merely trying to point out the blind hypocrisy of much of the self-righteous moralising that’s going on about this subject.

  30. Chris says:

    F1 shouldn’t race – or even think about racing – in Bahrain until their government stops killing, injuring and intimidating innocent protestors.

    I’m a long time supporter of Formula 1 and see this as proof that Bernie Ecclestone cares more about money than the well-being of the teams and the whole sport in general.

    FOTA should get all the teams together and decide that an even later finish in 2011 is crazy, that none of you wish to be associated with the murderous Bahraini government, and simply refuse to race.

    That’s why FOTA was formed – to create a counter-balance to Ecclestone! If all the teams act together (and even their drivers join in), Ecclestone’s not going to do anything about it. He needs the teams as much as the teams need F1…

  31. Mark Vincent says:

    The teams and the drivers can comfortably take the moral high ground, FIA can happily say that they fulfilled their legal obligations, CVC (unfortunately!) lose out on their fees, and come 2012 we’ll all be back again. Its a difficult situation once one starts to involve politics with our sport. Should we be in China? Turkey? I don’t know but this is all starting to make the story bigger than what we want – the best drivers, the fastest cars competing for the Grand Prix.
    Maybe we should just have a Pan-European series amongst nations that all have common standards and aspirations. Not too much money to be made for the venture capitalists but at least we can watch, analyse, enjoy…and sleep soundly?
    Discuss….?

  32. Ahmed says:

    The point about double standards has been made repeatedly. However, this race is the pet project of the ruling family – fundamentally different to racing in China or the US. Furthermore it is used as an excuse to show to the world that they have crushed the protests. I can’t see this racing going ahead.

    1. Excellent point.

      However, with the Chinese government structured the way it is (communist), wouldn’t there be a relatively strong government hand at least indirectly influencing and funding the event? (Honest question; I don’t know much about private versus government corporations in China)

  33. frosty1 says:

    Red Bull can afford to boycott the Bahrain GP – PR win.

    McLaren can’t – PR own goal.

    The championship will be sewn up before this race anyway.

  34. Steven says:

    Could this be the beggining of a sort of “uprising” in the sport? I feel like the teams (FOTA) and the drivers (GPDA) might use this issue to make a stand, perhaps both entities will be in agreement and not go to Bahrain, and it could be the beginning of an era where they could have more power in the sport, and be a bigger part of the decisions.

    What do you all think?

    1. Rudy Pyatt says:

      That’s a very interesting thought. Whatever one may think of the merits of any moral or political issues, I think all will at least agree that this is the latest in a string of very high-profile controversies to beset the FIA generally, and F1 in particular, over the last few years: Bernie’s Hitler comments; public revelations of Max Mosley’s sex life; Spygate; Liegate; Crashgate; the 6-car IndyGP… Is the Bahrain controversy the tipping point at which a new series and a new governing body come into existence?

      A new series is more feasible than many – Bernie certainly – may think.

      It would be more tedious than difficult to mention venues in Japan, Australia, Europe and the Americas that can (and many already do) host races to international standards: Any track that can host LMS, DTM, MotoGP, Indycar, NASCAR, BTCC etc, etc, can surely host a GP. Are they government subsidized glitz palaces? No, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have excellent facilities.

      Those venues and promoters are private entities, and not wholly or primarily subsidized by national governments – they’ve been cast aside (no French GP? Really?) by Bernie/F1 as he’s gone to the government subsidy business model. They simply can’t afford Bernie’s fees without taking a huge loss. Surely some of them would welcome a chance to host a major GP race for which they could actually make a profit.

      There are multiple possible TV partners. ESPN, ITV, Fox and NBC Universal come immediately to mind.

      If (BIG if) sponsors, track owners and prospective teams are willing to compromise such that they ALL make money, a new series can work.

      Someone in F1 circles favorable cited the NBA NFL business models, in which the league itself directly negotiates the TV contracts. Fine. Do that. Let the league itself be the commercial rights holder.

      The more interesting and difficult questions are,

      Who replaces the FIA? If I recall correctly, at least some of the national motoring federations made rumblings about withdrawing from the Federation a year or so ago, during one of the aforementioned controversies. (Another BIG) IF a couple or three such bodies have reached the tipping point with their FIA involvement, they could certainly form their own federation and sanction one or more new series. Isn’t participation in the FIA itself voluntary?

      Who is willing to call Bernie’s bluff and break their contract before the Concorde Agreement runs out? Putting business ethics aside (and just how ethical IS business with the sums involved here?), ruthless self interest may lead some sponsor and/or team to say, “Money is money. Let’s just pay off our contract and cut our losses. Our corporate image is taking too many big hits under these guys.”

      Frankly, the F1 teams are, and have been for some years, acting like adult children unable to bring themselves to move out of their parents’ house. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting, but it would be nice to see them grow up and leave the old BernieFIA homestead.

    2. Dale says:

      1) Ferrari were part of the council who voted for a return to Bahrain
      2) Mclaren are nearly 50% owned by the Bahrain wealth fund

      1. Rudy Pyatt says:

        True. But what happens if everyone else (unlikely as the entire thing is, but let me run out the hypo) walks away? Two teams do not a series make.

        Definitely a good point regarding the Ferrari vote; just who ARE the members of the WMSC? And what was the vote of the F1 Commission here, unanimous?

  35. The Talent says:

    I don’t rate Mark as a driver at all, but I applaud him for saying something. I hope that some of the other teams and drivers will soon echo his sentiments.

    1. dufus2 says:

      Well i rate him the highest of any 2nd driver in a team at least, and then some. His performances
      have been better than Massa and Button just to name a few.

      1. The Talent says:

        No they haven’t.
        Button is only 9 points behind Hamilton.
        Massa has been shocking and is 45 behind Alonso.
        But that’s still better than Webber, who is 64 behind Vettel.

      2. Alex W says:

        you are only watching the scoreboard, you need to start watching the races…

  36. Jason C says:

    Very good on Mark for having spoken out. Forcing me to retract my assertion that no driver would speak out.

  37. Kedar says:

    Hats off to you Mark wish we had more stand up to an issue as important as this one

  38. jonas says:

    Balls … large ones.

    Any other drivers in F1 have them right now?

    Thought not.

  39. Blundle says:

    I think Damon Hill already said everything, on ESPNf1 there is a longer quote. Maybe he was not the brightest driver, but he is a man. So is Webber.

    What scares me, is how little todays drivers have said about the situation since lets say, winter testing time. Now with testing ban, they cant say that there is not enough time to follow the news. And Im quite sure they have TV in their motorhomes…Are the drivers really so apolitical or just totally unaware of what is going on other side of the fence?

    Sharp contrast to Hill or Webber, is what Bernie 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.”
    No need to „do something about over educated people “ Bernie! Just cover your eyes and ears and…disappear. Much simplier and cheaper!

    So in short, considering the situation, I dont think the race should take place. Leaving the political aspect aside, it is easy to find more reasons. Dull circuit, low attendance, no traditions, logistical problems etc.

    On the other hand, if the event would lead to some serious consequences, maybe lessons would be learned. The locations should be picked more carefully. It is impossible to fully separate politics and sport on that level.

    For years we heard from Bernie( why am I talking about him again?:D) how terrible place Silverstone is. Well, we never witnessed such problems there. And oh, it is a real circuit with some real corners too…

    1. marc says:

      FIA – See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak No Evil !

  40. D. says:

    I have said it many times, and will say it once again: even though I don’t regard Webber highly as an F1 driver, I do respect him a lot as an individual. This is yet another case where he dignifies himself. Others should be like him. This matter is at a higher level than money and personal interest.

  41. Bruce says:

    Go Mark! Biggest balls of anyone in F1.

    1. Roadrager says:

      Here here!
      LOL probably why he’s behind Vettel all the time got more weight to lug around!!

  42. CJ the 2cnd, probably... says:

    Respect to Webber for speaking his mind, I’ve always liked his style. I too think the FIA is wrong to reinstate Bahrain this year , but for different reasons. As I understand it the original reason to cancel stemmed from the impossibility of running the event safely, given the unrest in the country at the time. That’s where the matter should have ended as far as F1 is concerned. Bahrain was not in a position to run the GP on its scheduled date and should therefore wait until its next scheduled date. That’s the pragmatic position; by falling over backwards to include the race this season the FIA gets embroiled, unneccessarily, in the politics of the situation. Once that happens it’s logical that comparisons with other venues will be made, i.e. China, Russia, Brazil. But this is not the business of F1, it is not a campaigning organisation. Those who argue that F1 should boycott certain regimes have some difficult questions to answer, what are the criteria and, hardest of all, who should be the arbiter? Given Bernie’s appreciation of dictatorships perhaps F1 should boycott democracies? Of course I’m not suggesting this, just illustrating that the stance of any arbitrator would be significant. Much better in my view that F1 races where it can, and only refuses to race on grounds of safety, poor facilities etc…(racing criteria) but not politics. Let me be clear, I too abhor human rights abuses and all the other examples of man’s inhumanity to fellow man, I just don’t want to see F1 hijacked in the name of ’causes’, I want to see the competion on the track.

  43. Dale says:

    As a man Webber is a top bloke, well said Mark Webber.

    I hate to admit this but today I have to do something I thought I’d never do and that is I have to agree with what Max (The S******) Mosley says in his article in the Telegraph where he gives a few of the (bleeding obvious) reasons as to why F1 should NOT be going back to Bahrain in 2011 of course whether he’d say the same if he was still the FIA President I’m not so sure? What do others think?

    1. Damian J says:

      Of course Max would say that. It’s typical of Max trying to exact revenge after he was humiliated by the Bahrain rulers that he would not be welcome at the Bahrain GP following *****[mod]….so I wouldn’t give Max any credit for his views on this issue!

      1. Dale says:

        Yes, of course you’re right, in my view Mosley always has an agenda!

      2. mtb says:

        Of course in 2008 people argued that the Bahraini government’s request that Mosley not show up for the Grand Prix was proof that he was not fit for the job of FIA President. do these people still value the wishes of the government of Bahrain so highly?

  44. DeAngelis says:

    I think it’s great that F1 will go to Bahrain! I love Formula1, so I’m happy that I will see addition race! Thanks FIA! I am very happy!!

  45. EM says:

    We as global F1 fans have the power to make a difference here. A global campaign to boycott any such Bahrain Grand Prix would scare Tv, other media and more importantly sponsors.

    Take a weekend off, don’t watch the broadcasts and like Mark Webber put your actions where your thoughts are. Spread the word, start a Facebook page, let the FIA know how unhappy the majority are. The teams and sponsors are only in F1 for the fans, if we’re not there they’ll notice.

    And feel free to do the same if you object about China or America or any other race.

    1. mtb says:

      If you wanted to do something that would really have a negative impact on F1 then you could boycott the sport completely.

  46. Steed says:

    What about Bahrain next year? Also off the calendar?
    Are we saying that Bahrain is cancelled until there is regime change? If not, under what circumstances could racing resume?

  47. Adelaide says:

    They won’t be racing there this year.

    But what about that calendar for next year? I love F1, but…it’s…just…too…much!

  48. Gareth Foches says:

    Any sports should be free of politics, it is not the sportmen’s job to question nor dictate any country’s governance. If North Korea can afford it, and it makes sense to bring a new sporting perspective foreign to the deprived people (plus percuniary benefits of course, with sponsors and what not), I don’t see why not.

    That said, I do not think F1 should go Bahrain.

    Why? Because Bahrain’s government is obviously using F1 as a political tool, you just have to read the news. F1 circus, the lot of them, teams and drivers and the FIA are all made used of to show the world Bahrain is safe and stable again. Far from the truth of course.

    Kind of an oxymoron opinion. Bah politics!

    1. H.L. Mencken says:

      “Any sports should be free of politics, it is not the sportmen’s job to question nor dictate any country’s governance. ”

      Sports do not occur in a vacuum. Your wish for sports to be free of politics ignores the fundamental duty of
      all men to stand up for that which they know is right,
      regardless of their vocation.

      You want your bread and circuses. Others of us want
      a world which doesn’t involve governments which use
      violence to suppress peaceful protests. Thankfully
      there are sportsmen like Mark Webber who are also men with the courage to speak when they know something needs to be said.

  49. Nigel F says:

    I’ll keep it simple.

    F1 should not go to Bahrain.

    No, No, No.

  50. Roadrager says:

    All us fans have our opinions but seems some are take things out of context i do not doubt there is certain human rights violation in countries like china and russia or any other for that matter but to say that if they do not hold a race in bahrain they should not hold the races in china or russia can not grasp the reality of the whole situation.

    China and Russia sure they have some questions to answer in regards to human right violations. But these countries Currently have Stable Government where as for Bahrain a country that is currently in the brink of government turmoil or civil unrest cannot guarantee the safety of the whole F1 profession and ITS FANS not to mention its civilians.

    I know where i would travel if i was to watch F1 as a spectator china or russia thats for SURE cause I know I will be safe traveling back and forth to my hotel and the track without highly volatile anti-government “peaceful” protest along the way.

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