Font Size

- Aa +

Sun 5 Jun 2011 07:57 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Former F1 chief slams Bahrain race decision

Max Mosley says the sport will pay 'heavy price' after decision to reschedule race in October

Former F1 chief slams Bahrain race decision
Max Mosley. (Getty Images)

Former motor racing chief Max Mosley added his voice on Sunday to those opposed to Formula One racing in Bahrain this season, warning that the sport would pay a heavy price for the decision.

The sport's governing body,
that the Briton headed until 2009, announced on Friday that the
country's grand prix, scheduled for March but postponed amid a bloody
crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, would be reinstated for October
30.

The decision, sought by the
country's rulers and also backed by the main opposition party, has been
heavily criticised by human rights campaigners and local activists.

"By
agreeing to race there, Formula One becomes complicit in what has
happened," the ex International Automobile Federation (FIA) president
wrote in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"It becomes one of the Bahrain government's instruments of repression."

"The
decision to hold the race is a mistake which will not be forgotten and,
if not reversed, will eventually cost Formula One dear."

Mosley
argued that while it was "not the function of a sporting body to seek
to dictate to governments what they can and cannot do" it could not
afford to be used for political purposes.

"We
will be told that holding the Grand Prix in October will show that,
once again, Bahrain is a happy, peaceful country. So why is it wrong for
Formula One to go along with this?," he asked.

"Why
is this different to running an event in any number of countries where
people are oppressed, kept in poverty, held without trial and mistreated
(or worse) in prison?

"Surely the
line has to be drawn when a sporting event is not mere entertainment in
a less-than-perfect country, but is being used by an oppressive regime
to camouflage its actions," he continued.

"If
a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government. If Formula
One allows itself to be used in this way in Bahrain, it will share the
regime's guilt as surely as if it went out and helped brutalise unarmed
protesters."

Mosley's comments
were not the first time that the son of 1930s British fascist leader
Oswald Mosley has had his differences with Bahrain.

In
2008, when he was fighting to save his job after the tabloid News of
the World published details of Mosley's sado-masochistic sex sessions
with prostitutes, Bahrain's crown prince made clear the Briton would not
be welcome at the race.

"The
focus quite rightly should be on the race. With great regret, I feel
that under the current circumstances, it would be inappropriate for you
to be in Bahrain at this time," the prince wrote in a letter, details of
which were published in British newspapers at the time.

Mosley did not attend the race that year, with his spokesman saying he had been detained by legal matters.

For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Happy Dubai Expat 8 years ago

So obviously Mosely has written from a completely impartial perspective. What about the decision to run a race in China then Max? Not the best human rights record either. Or perhaps you weren't barred from that race...

John 8 years ago

Bahrain has lost all its credibility and the running of a rich man's race isn't going to change that. Its debt rating is heading towards junk and no thinking investor is putting a cent into the island state anymore. Mosley is right, this is very bad for motorsport indeed.

Red Snappa 8 years ago

It's never about the sport or human rights either, it's all about the money. Bernie Eccleston gets his $40 million license fee and Bahrain hopefully gets to welcome a plethora of high spending punters.

The only way it was never going to happen, is if the majority of drivers refused to participate on moral grounds and it became obvious that F1 spectators with a conscience were vociferously planning to boycott the Bahrain event as well.

However, we will have to wait and see if Gulf Air and the island's hotels are suddenly flooded with reservations to determine the latter, and I've read only one negative comment from a single driver to date!

N.S. 8 years ago

I am quite happy to see that everyone suddenly becomes an expert of human rights, especially as the race takes places also in other countries where human rights are heavily abused. But aside the hypocrisy of Mr. Mosley, here we have a bunch of people who knew anything about what has really happened in Bahrain. The so called pacifist protesters, run over on policemen (killing him of course), stabbed and beat to death foreigners who did nothing to deserve it and destroyed public and private properties. There was no repression in Bahrain! Nothing! Half of the country is populated by foreigners and they have witnessed that these protests were politically motivated and fueled by Iran who still claim Bahrain it's their land.

Ali 8 years ago

You can clearly see that this is a tit for tat from Mosley. purely retaliating against what happened to him when he was not allowed to enter Bahrain. It has been proved that outside media have been reporting wrong information about Bahrain. I suggest for anyone who wants to criticize the situation in Bahrain is to come and see for himself whats going on. Don't believe the lies you hear from those who do not want good for our country. We are extremely happy for F1 to return to Bahrain in Oct.

expat 8 years ago

Brits will remains brits..........,they still think they rule Bahrain or for that matter few more countries which they once ruled....
I want to know why Bahrain doesn't ban BBC and CNN & al jazejra,they are always being biased to Bahrain ,looks like they have some certain agenda !!

HD 8 years ago

you might be happy f1 is returning. But most drivers teams and people around the world are not. Lets see if it happens.

King Richard 8 years ago

It would be a far better world if we still did as well , grow up !