Day of Rage" in 2011, the eyes of the world were also focused on Bahrain, where the al-Khalifa ruling family was not subsequently toppled. Despite more than a few observers questioning the human rights aspects of Bahrain's crowd control efforts up to the present time--another protester died this weekend--organizers say the race will go on.
The al-Khalifas view this year's race will proceed as one of national reconciliation, although I doubt the veracity of this claim since (a) fatal protests are still ongoing and (b) we haven't heard opposition figures extend their support for the race to go on. In any event, the billionaire F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone believes that the race will be held on April 22, and team principals showed support at a Bahrain-sponsored event in London town. But, of course, it's exactly the same sort of thing he said last year...till the race was finally cancelled:
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says he has no doubts about holding the Bahrain Grand Prix this year. The race was cancelled last year due to civil unrest and human rights groups have called for the race to be axed. Asked by BBC Sport if he had concerns about safety in Bahrain for himself and the teams, Ecclestone said: "Not at all. It's business as usual...I don't need any personal security but I'm sure whatever's necessary will be looked after."However, a human rights figure from Bahrain appeared on BBC HARDtalk stating the human rights record of the al-Khalifas puts hosting the race in question:
Ecclestone's remarks come a day after the president of Bahrain's Automobile Federation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifa, said he did not believe security needed to be stepped up. Al Khalifa said he was "not worried at all" about the safety of those attending the race, while governing body the FIA expect the race to go ahead. A FIA spokesman said: "We welcome the spirit of reconciliation expressed by all parties and look forward to an exciting F1 race at the Bahrain International Circuit..."
Ecclestone was attending a lunch held in London by the race organisers, which was also attended by leading figures from the Red Bull, Williams, McLaren and Mercedes teams and the motorsport chief of tyre supplier Pirelli.
There are concerns that it could be a target for protesters as it is so closely tied to the Bahrain ruling family.Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, told the BBC's HardTalk programme on Wednesday that the race should not be allowed to go ahead in the country because of Bahrain's human rights record. Rajab told BBC HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur: "It should stop, at least out of respect for the Formula 1 staff."Although this race looks likely to go on, the image it presents to the rest of the world depending on what happens in the days leading up to it shall be interesting to watch. Remember, the kids ain't alright to some.