More Barcelona, anyone?

The Formula 1 teams are clearly beginning to think that going testing in Bahrain is a very bad idea. The test at the Bahrain International Circuit is due to take place in the first few days of March, two weeks from now, but the word in Spain is that the teams have quietly enquired whether the Montmelo circuit might be available in the same period to avoid the need for everyone to trek to the mess in the Middle East.

25 thoughts on “More Barcelona, anyone?

  1. The sensible thing to do, certainly.

    I get the impression, that a lot of the actual people in the teams are really hoping the GP will be moved/called off as well.

  2. After today’s unrest, I’d be surprised if the Bahrain F1 race is even held.

    If it is held, it will look very bad for Formula 1. Bahrain is run by a regime that leaves citizens dead or wounded in the streets and attacks ambulance crews and physicians for tending to the wounded. It’s run by a regime that shoots its own citizens from helicopters.

    If the Formula 1 circus comes to town just weeks after these events, it will look ridiculously out of touch and callous.

    Bernie already is sounding very out of touch with comments that he’s checking with the Crown Prince to see how things are.

    I’m a big F1 fan, but I think they need to cancel or reschedule the race to another venue.

  3. Bernie gave an interview on BBC radio today and seemed very off hand and unconcerned. He seemed to thing that if there was no trouble on Wednesday then F1 would go ahead.
    I think he has seriously misjudged both the situation and in particular world opinion if this race or test goes ahead F1 is going to loose a lot of support.

    We should see sponsors withdrawing soon, if not teams, although that will be difficult since they are contractually obliged to race if there is a race to go to. However it’s about time that the teams had a meeting with Bernie and told him that they do not want to be seen as supporting a repressive and violent regime. True F1 goes to other countries with repressive regimes but they are peaceful. This is not, and it is quite obvious that the “security forces” are now attacking out of control, in stark contrast to Joe’s experience of several years back.

    Come on Bernie do everyone’s conscience a favour and pull the plug on Bahrain. We know you are mates with the crown prince who may be a decent chap, as is the king, but the the thugs who work for him are not.

  4. Can we hold the race at Catalunya? I’m sure the planned events can be “postponed” with a little bit of Bernie’s financial “aid”.

    Surely somebody could step in to host the race ….. Abu Dhabi?

  5. Doesn’t Sebastien Buemi live in Bahrain? Obviously he’s not there now and you’re not at the tests, but he might be worth talking to at the first race or next time you bump into him.

  6. Joe,

    What is the drop dead date for the teams, the last day they can make a call?

    I’m assuming, from my experience working with Lloyd’s, that all of this is heavily insured and that F1 will be indemnified for loss (although many insurance policies exclude cancellation due to unrest, war or civil disturbance).

  7. This is quite concerning. My friends and I have an opportunity to go to Abu Dhabi this year, but this unrest in that region doesn’t make the decision any easier. I hope everything clears up soon, for the sake of the people of Bahrain and for F1 fans around the world.

  8. As someone who participated in an uprising-regrettably on the losing side-I know that even though it was crushed by Russians tanks the anger, the hatred remained. So even if “order” can be restored it would take just one or two Molotov cocktails to cause mayhem. Racing behind barbed wire? Do we need this race that badly?

    1. jordan

      There is no practical chance of a replacement event in the next few weeks. Nor will teams want a replacement event later in the year. The calendar is already packed.

  9. I wonder why no one’s started a campaign of calling the F1 sponsors, saying we will boycott their products if they don’t tell their sponsored team(s) to boycott the Bahrain Grand Prix. (Not me because I never succeed getting anything “viral”.). It’ll be monetary pressure to not go, rather than pressure to go.

    So Pirelli gets into F1, and people boycott their tyres (along with the Prius-driving environmentalists). That has a nice sense of irony. OTOH, what if Pirelli and only Pirelli boycott the race, it would be hilarious to have all the sessions “running”, and all the cars sit there with no tyres.

  10. Pirelli has also said that they would prefer to go to Paul Ricard or Abu Dhabi for the final test.

    The fact that they can do wet-weather testing at these locations makes them more appealing for the teams, potentially.

  11. Joe,

    I know that teams are bound by contract to participate in all races. However, do you know if there is a clause to cover the situation in Bahrain (force majeure?), which would give individual teams the power to refuse to travel without sanction even if the FIA decides the race is on?

  12. Joe, care to post your thoughts on the progress of testing so far – who would you say looking good and who is struggling? To me it looks like Ferrari and Red Bull are at the top with Williams and STR looking to have made surprising progress. McLaren look like they’re struggling a bit, as do Mercedes. What do you think?

  13. Wonder if those questioning Bernie’s politics forget that just a few months ago he had Putin in an F1 car (or one that looked similar enough for non-racing folk). Wasn’t that right around the time Putin was renewing the prison sentence on a capitalist who had already served years on trumped up charges. I think the idea is F1 is supposed to be the good fun of elites and above the dirtiness of realpolitk – either the race goes on like nothing’s wrong, or it’s cancelled due to some “unpleasantness” about which we shouldn’t stick our noses into.

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