Opinion: Why the Bahrain Grand Prix has to be cancelled

By on Saturday, February 19, 2011

The full horror of what is going on in Bahrain is now apparent to the wide world.

With Tunisia and Egypt having deposed of their leaders, a large swathe of North Africa and the Middle East are being beset by protests, with Bahrain responding angrily to these protestors.

Using live bullets has horrified the Western world, especially given the fact that some of these killings are happening in broad daylight.

The media are being barred from entering the country and those that are there are under threat.

GP2 Asia, scheduled for this weekend, was cancelled on Thursday. And rightly so.

This is not a minor occurance, this could brew into something major and for the sake of Bahrain, Formula One must not visit the country at the moment.

Being seen to be associated with the Bahraini authorities would be catastrophic for Formula One and for its sponsors. There is no insurance cover for a situation like this and with thousands of Formula One people attending, just one injury will have huge reprocussions. Furthermore, the protestors said on Tuesday that the race would be specifically targetted. It is, after all, the main sporting event on the Bahrain calendar.

Formula One did visit South Africa during apartheid, and does visit China despite its dodgy human rights treatment.

However, the former occured when Formula One was not so global and apparent.

Bahrain is at war and it is simply not safe to go. For the good of the sport and for Bahrain, we can afford the loss of one race.


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