In recent years around the time of Formula One’s return to the gulf state of Bahrain a row over ethics of racing in country begins. Since 2011 and the start of the Arab Spring Bahrain has face protests between the supporters of Sunni monarchy and the majority Shia population
Every year when F1 returns the media spotlight focuses on Bahrain’s human rights record which has been placed back in the public eye. The race in 2011 made the headlines as it was always postponed early on. The troubles which began in Tunisia reached the gulf state in February 2011.
It was not withdrawn by the FIA it was the crown prince who decided to postpone the race. But, with the revenue from the region Bahrain is key to F1 financial as Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams have links.
when we talk about these issues like we saw last year following the alleged involvement of Russian backed rebels shooting down of Malaysia Airlines fight MH17 F1 take a line used by Berine Ecclestone ‘it’s not our problem’. As ever politicians on both sides will have their say on the issue.
While the world focus on Syria’s war, the ‘newer’ conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the Islamic State the political unrest in the gulf state. But, while the media and we only hear about IS other crisis like Boko Herma in Nigeria (tho recently they have joined IS) or another issue for Formula One the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
When Ecclestone was asked in 2012 about the race he called Bahraini government are “stupid” to host a Grand Prix. He also added would even consider taking F1 to Syria if the opportunity ever arose.
As the days leading up to this year’s event focus will return to the political unrest in the country. This is a good thing for the protestors but is a headache for the Bahraini authories as they want the focus to be on the racing and not the unrest.