OK, let’s not kid ourselves. Formula One has never set itself up as an exemplar of morality.
In the apartheid era, F1 was happy to “play Sun City” long after other sports had departed. The South African race was only cancelled, ultimately, under political pressure from teams’ and drivers’ home countries. Formula One has always been a sport in which there is no such thing as the ‘spirit’ of the law, just what is written on the page, in the contract or at bottom line.
It is difficult to argue, therefore, that the decision to go ahead with the Bahrain race is a massive departure for Formula One. Bahrain is by no means the only country in the Non-League Conference Division of World democracy, that F1 will visit this year.
The difference is that in Bahrain there is risk of the F1 race being a focus of political protests, disruption and unwanted symbolism.
Like Morgan Freeman at the end of the Shawshank Redemption, I hope for the best. I hope the Bahrain GP goes off without a hitch and is as exciting a race as China was. I hope that the Bahrain authorities do not try to use the race as a political statement that everything is all right. I hope the Bahrain opposition don’t use it as an opportunity for protest. I hope that the teams don’t feel the need for the sort security measures that will make the F1 paddock in Bahrain even more of a bunker I hope that F1 has not set itself too high a bar for ‘success’.
FORMULA ONE MUM