The action and glamor of a Formula One race coming to town is usually more than enough to shine an international spotlight on a host country, but Malaysia has made headlines recently for another reason entirely. That, of course, would be the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370. But with the two events coming together, something's going to have to give, and unfortunately in this case, it's the grieving families of the flight's passengers.
The clash came to a head when the Scuderia Ferrari came to town to set up for next weekend's race. Team members were booked to stay at the Cyberview Hotel in the capital of Kuala Lumpur, arrangements which F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone points out were likely to have been made long ago. The trouble is that over a dozen relatives of MH370 passengers who had come in from China were still staying at that hotel while awaiting word on their loved ones' fates, and with the hotel apparently filling up fast ahead of the grand prix weekend, those family members were forced to leave.
Just where they've gone, we don't know, but while the development may not look good for Ferrari or for F1, it strikes us as one of those unfortunate situations where no one is really to blame. The race has been booked for months, the team likely made their reservations long before the flight went missing, the hotel is obliged to honor the reservations and the grieving families need somewhere to stay. The tendency to point fingers often prevails, but in this situation we're afraid no one is to blame but the circumstances. That, and the still as-yet unknown cause of the flight's mysterious disappearance.
UPDATE: Ferrari North America director of communications Krista Florin has offered us this clarifying comment:
"We are deeply saddened by the unfolding of the events for the families of those missing on Malaysia Airlines flight. We did not receive any request to change hotel from Cyberview nor were we made aware that some families were staying at this hotel. The reservation was made in May last year following the '13 Grand Prix.