• Feb 21, 2011
Politics and racing don't go together. Whether it's former FIA president Max Mosley's fascist sympathies or the dispute over Cyprus being played out on the podium of the Turkish Grand Prix, there's just no place for it in motorsports. But with political unrest spreading across the Arab world, it looks like revolution has gotten in the way of racing once again.

On the back of successful regime change in both Tunisia and Egypt, protestors have been taking to the streets across the Middle East in an effort to overthrow corrupt regimes in their respective countries. Little of this has anything to do with racing, except in Bahrain. The Gulf state is home to the Sakhir circuit that hosts, among other events, the Bahrain Grand Prix that was originally set to kick off the Formula One season in just a few weeks. Now, however, track organizers have confirmed that Bahrain Grand Prix will not be held. "We felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest," said Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.

Organizers have already had to call off the GP2 Asia Series race that was supposed to take place there this weekend, and are being forced to do the same with the F1 pre-season test that was due to follow. This cancellation means that the 2011 Formula 1 season will now start on March 27 in Australia.

[Source: Autosport | Image: Hassan Ammar/AP]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      But the Turkish GP is still there... and to the --peep-- with the Cyprus issues.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This year's F1 season will be short if the race calendar can't keep ahead of the rolling revolutions. Maybe the F1 teams will emboldened to revolt against Ernie.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I feel for the protesters. I know US state department loves 'stability.' I lean toward the 'liberty' side of it. If we live our values and allow other people to live values like ours, they win, we win. As for racing, I just feel like the season ought to start someplace as jubilant as Australia. I have nothing against Bahrain, but the season opening in such a buttoned-down society is a real let-down. Adelaide is a great big parade that the floats go really really fast. Beer, cute girls, loud engines.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Smart move by the FIA. I could only imagine the teams and their drivers would be targets for stupid, senseless violence. As we Cubs fans are accustomed to saying... "theres always next year".
      • 3 Years Ago
      2nd paragraph: "On the back of successful regime change in both Tunisia and Egypt..."


      Really? Are you blind? Succesful by who's standards?
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is the right move given the political climate...

      But I'm still pissed I have to wait longer for F1 to kick off!
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you want to pander your products to politically unstable regions, expect this and more.
      • 3 Years Ago
      A question and a thought: With the time it takes to set up for a GP it wouldn't happen until late in the season to make up the race but could say France or the USA possibly hold a GP this year? My thought, now that the peoples revolutions are taking place in the middle east, have Bernie's cash cows and questionable moral 'states' finally run into the inevitable force that is the desire for freedom and justice. These middle eastern countries who hold extravagant GP's on the backs of their people may have had enough.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Oh this physical infrastructure is there but to raise the funds, find the sponsors and do all of the planning and preparation work to put on an event of this size and magnitude is what I question.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm not sure Laguna Seca meets FIA standards for F1. They do the Moto GP race but for F1 it's a different set of rules.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ask Bernie for a discount on account that you are filling a hole in the event calendar! But seriously you make a very valid point, the cost of setting it up, at a risk of a small return is not good during these gloomy economic times and this would be a hell of a gamble, nice dream though. How about Laguna Seca doing a bit of F1?
        • 3 Years Ago
        I may be barking up the wrong tree as a Englishman with a limited knowledge of US motorsport but I would have thought it would be pretty straight forward for you guys to squeeze a F1 venue in between a couple of Indy venues. What I mean is the infrastructure would already be in place and there seems a stronger enough US F1 fan base to make it worth while.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Seems that Bernie's little game (and greed) has finally caught up with him. He has been on the hunt for the mighty dollar paying little attention to the stability in the regions he has been awarding GP to. Instead he has been canceling the rights to races in France, Belgium, Canada and the US who initially refused to play on his terms only to reinstate them when they kowtow to his demands.

      Unfortunately Bernie is an necessary evil but perhaps could do better without him these days, but it is his show and there is nothing we can do
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder how long the instability there will last. Could perhaps be years.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aussies should be happy they got the first race back in their country -
      don't think it will help ticket sales though...
      still time for them to consider moving the race
      • 3 Years Ago
      Good call. No need to put anyone in harms way.
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