F1 teams leave Bahrain Grand Prix decision to FIA

 

The paddock in Shanghai will this weekend form the meeting place for one of the most crucial discussions in Formula One history.

Around the table will be FIA president Jean Todt, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the team principals from all 12 marques.

At stake is not only next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix, but the remainder of a contract that is due to expire after 2016.

And the question that will dominate the debate is whether a race should be held at the Sakhir International Circuit on April 22.

The main point is not about morals, the rights and wrongs of the political situation in Bahrain otherwise it can be argued as to why F1 visits China, this weekend's hosts, given that country's human rights record.

Instead, the key topic on the agenda will focus on safety, and whether the 600-strong personnel across the teams can be assured no harm will befall them.

For their part, the Bahrainis have made it abundantly clear all is well within the Gulf kingdom.

They insist the sporadic protests, that continue to blight the island following last year's 'Day of Rage' anti-government demonstrations when many were killed, are confined to villages away from the capital Manama.

But, as was proven at the weekend with the University Boat Race, all it takes is one person with an axe to grind to throw an event into chaos.

Now imagine if that one person in Bahrain decided to detonate a home-made bomb amongst the F1 fraternity, as occurred on Monday in the Shi'ite village of Eker, which injured seven policemen, three seriously.

With daily running battles occurring between protesters and police, who have been forced to counter their attackers with water cannon, rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades, no wonder the teams are concerned for the safety of their staff.

The problem is not one team principal will voice aloud such concerns, so instead the Formula One Teams' Association today made it clear any decision regarding the race lies with the FIA and Todt.

Insisting the teams do not have a say with regard to the race, the FOTA statement read: "There's been some media speculation recently to the effect the teams may seek to cancel this year's Bahrain Grand Prix.

"That wouldn't be possible. Teams are unable to cancel grands prix.

"We race in an international series called the FIA Formula One World Championship, and it is therefore for the FIA to offer the teams guidance on these issues."

Todt faces a difficult decision because if the race is cancelled this year regulations state any grand prix called off for two consecutive years will lose its place on the calendar, unless good reason can be shown for its reinstatement.

As the race is one of the most lucrative in F1, worth directly more than £150million to the local economy and a further £300million indirectly, the financial reasons are obvious.

Todt, however, has to weigh that up against the cost of just one attack on anybody within F1, in particular as extremist protest groups have made it clear they will target the event.

PA

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all