Despite being rescheduled intended for October 30th just last week, the race could still be called off if the political conflict in the Arab World doesn’t cease, as it threatens the safety of event.
Officially scheduled as the 2011 F1 season-opener in March, Bahrain Grand Prix had to be postponed due to the insecurity lived in this Persian Gulf country, where anti-government protesters had taken over the streets since February 14. The recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt had served as motivation for thousands of youths in Bahrain to stand up for their rights through a peaceful manifestation, requesting the rewriting of the constitution. But far from their intentions this march did nothing but open a confrontation with the authorities, which as of today has reported more than 36 casualties, and is far from being settled.
Restoration of the event was to be discussed in early June by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC), which on Friday pronounced their vote in favor of rescheduling it intended for October 30th, despite the civil unrest and violence in the region not being over yet, and the menace of a “Day of Fury” taking place that same date in Bahrain.
This GP is seen as protestors as the best scenario to show the world the violations that their human rights suffer under King Hamad’s monarchy regime, and to demand for justice in what will be their “Day of Fury”. And since Bahrain’s security causes haven’t been successful at stopping the “Lulu Revolution” with tear gas and rubber bullets, this puts everyone in a state of emergency.
Critics to this decision didn’t take long to be heard, and even the drivers decided to voice their opinion, like Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber who stated that “now isn’t the best time”.
Another well-known individual who also expressed his discomfort with decision was former Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) president Max Mosley, who warned about the repercussions that celebrating the event could have, as in his own words it “is being used by an oppressive regime to camouflage its actions”.
Contrary to the critics, the WMSC fundaments its decision in the idea that this sports event could be useful to reunite the nation, for which they claim to have the support from both ends to make it happen on October 30th as it is planned. That date was officially reserved intended for the Indian Grand Prix, in what was going to be the inaugural race at the new Buddh International Circuit, decision that caused this race to be rescheduled for December as the season finale. With these changes in the calendar the 2011 F1 season guarantees a record 20 events, which was their goal for this year.
Despite those arrangements being done to the calendar, experiencing no more changes isn’t something definite, especially after F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone called the teams to protest about the decision taken by the FIA along with the WMSC of holding the race. Ecclestone supports the critics and feels that the Bahrain GP should be the season finale race, if points are back to normal in the region by then.