The weekend debate: Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Two questions for you to ponder:

  • Should the Formula 1 Grand Prix go ahead?
  • Do you think the drivers should take personal responsibility for their decisions on whether to drive or not, or is that a decision for someone else and they should do whatever is decided?

Over to you…

* Mark Pack is Party President and Co-leader of the party. He is editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and Op-eds.


  • more concerned about UK arms sales to bahrain tbh

  • Richard Dean 21st Apr '12 - 9:51am

    Without Formula 1, few people would have heard much of the problems, even though plenty of people go there. Unfortunately, the press is still not giving much accurate information, and firebombers do not get much sympathy from UK residents who deplore riots. Bahrain was a desert not long ago, and the situation there is far less clear than, for instance, apartheid was in South Africa. It’s also far from unique in the part of the world – for example, Kuwait is not too different.

    It seems a bit much to ask drivers and support staff to make individual political decisions. The information available to them is not clear, and they presumably all have contracts. It would be like asking workers in a factory to go on individual strike – it’s a very weak approach. Better to do things througha union – do the drivers have one?

  • The thing that worries me is the potential for a bloodbath. The combination of super-fast cars, crowds, demonstrations & trigger-happy police is a dangerous brew. Its easy to imagine police over-reaction to a demonstration causing panic with crowds of spectators pushed in front othe cars.
    Politicians here should call for teams & drivers to pull out.

  • F1 is not an ethical business. It is all about money and publicity. It is now in a position where it is damned whatever it does. This is the problem with F1 (and people like BAe Systems) dealing with regimes such as Bahrain’s.

    This is becoming a bigger problem as such nations seek “legitimisation” through using their wealth. E.g. Buying Manchester City. E.g. From possibly buying a half share in the Manchester Airport Group from the Greater Manchester local authorities.

    I would prefer F1 had decided this was not a place to run a GP. But Bernie Ecclestone and co are money and contract focused.

    As for the drivers, engineers etc this is their livelihood. United action by all not to race would have worked but the F1 family is a diverse and divided one. There was never a chance some would give up points when their rivals might race on.

  • Kevin Colwill 21st Apr '12 - 3:01pm

    If sport was defined as “once war conducted by other means” then modern sport has surely become “business conducted by other means”. With all that oil money talking it’s no wonder the likes of Bernie (Napoleon complex -moi??) Ecclestone can’t hear the bombs going off.
    Should F1 be endorsing the Bahrainian regieme? Obviously not but why should F1 take a moral stand when governments aren’t?
    I will be watching tomorrow and hoping for a British winner. I just wish I had the cash for a Sky Sports subscription rather than being reduced to watching the BBC’s highlights package. Murdoch supporter-moi??

  • I’m not a F1 fan but I gather that, as the race was cancelled last year, if it were again cancelled Bahrain would not be eligible to host it for some considerable time. I imagine that , as a prestigeous ‘showpiece’ of the regime there would have been oodles of inducements to ensure this race was run.
    I listened on “Any Questions” to Alan Duncan (International Development Minister) explaining how wonderful a place Bahrain was and how wonderful its rulers ( when members of the audience jeered he derided them as”Being ignorant of the facts”).Clearly, there will be no UK pressure for change until the arms sales run out.

  • I do not think that any major sporting event should be held in a country that does not achieve a recognised level of democracy, such as universal suffrage for all adults. Bahrain would fail such a test. So would China.

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