Sadly, politics has raised it's ugly head in the Formula One Universe again.
Round Four of the 2012 Formula One calendar is the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on April 22nd. Last season, Bahrain was to be the first race of the season. Political unrest of the "Arab Spring" variety forced the cancellation of the event.
This year the civil unrest continues, and a month ago, Formula One looked poised to return to Bahrain.
In the last week or so, new accounts of second thoughts have become the norm:
Formula One Becomes Part of Bahrain Power Struggle
Damon Hill, a former F1 Champion and son of two time F1 Champ, Graham Hill was an early dissenter this season:
F1: Bahrain Skeptics Speaking Out
The tide is rising against the Bahrain GP:
F1: Team Boss Expresses Bahrain Concerns
F1 Supremo no longer insists the Bahrain GP will go off as expected:
F1: Ecclestone Says Bahrain Decision Up to Teams
F1: Bahrain Hits Back at Criticism
Nothing stays simple for very long when it comes to F1 politics:
F1: Bahrain Used Quotes From Confidential Report, Says Lotus
F1: FOTA Says FIA, Not Teams Must Make Bahrain Call
|Bernie Ecclestone, please pay attention!|
|Nice graffiti, bad time to race in Bahrain.|
As you can see, it really is a mess. The majority Shiite are chafing under the rule of the Sunni Monarchy. What began as a move for human rights has now taken on the flavor of an Overthrow Movement. While less bloody than Syria to date, this uprising will surely get worse before conditions improve and reforms begin.
These "Arab Spring" uprisings have all worsened before settling down to a simmer. I fear the Arab Spring will be a decade or more before morphing into Arab Summer.
Formula One would be well advised to pass on Bahrain until these issues are resolved.
SpeedTV F1 announcer Bob Varsha sums it all up perfectly:
Varsha: A Rocky Road Ahead for F1?
On the slightly brighter side, Practice for April 15th's Chinese Grand Prix begins Thursday 4/12 at 7PM PDT here, with P2 airing on SpeedTV at 11PM PDT