10 April 2012

An F1 Dilemma

Unless you have been living under ground over the past few weeks, you will have read, and probably engaged in discussion regarding the Bahrain Grand Prix.

From an F1 fan point of view, I haven’t yet seen a single fan who supports the race going ahead.  Safety is more important than an F1 race and yet here we are, the Shanghai Grand Prix is almost upon us with Sakhir following the next week, and the race is still on.

It has been said that to guarantee (and you can never guarantee anything really in those circumstances) that nothing less than a complete military lockdown would ensure the safety of the teams, the drivers, the fans. 

It is only two years ago that Jenson Button was faced with men brandishing machine guns at his car on the way back to his hotel and had it not been for the quick thinking of his driver, who knows what could have happened.  That was Brazil.  The threat is far, far greater in Bahrain, anything can happen.

As I have said, so many fans have spoken out against the race going ahead, myself included.  But there, we face a quandary.  The race seems to be on.  We know it is unsafe.  We have all said that it shouldn’t happen.  But will we still watch it?

For me, the answer is I don’t know.  On the one hand my head says nothing may happen, I don’t want to miss the race.  Then there is a pause.  For if I truly believe that the race going ahead is wrong in the current circumstances, am I feeding the beast by watching?

Formula One is a circus is fuelled by money.  Open up Bernie Ecclestone and you would probably find coins running through him, not blood.  But if we watch the race, are we any better?

In other aspects of my life the answer is simple.  I abhor horse racing and believe it is barbaric, the Grand National in particular.  I will not watch and I am actively trying to encourage others not to watch and not to bet.  The Grand National is something again fuelled by money and only the power of people turning against it, not watching and not betting is going to make a difference.

With Formula One however this is just one race.  Next year things may be different and the controversy surrounding the race may be gone.  Can I watch this year, knowing lives may be on the line for the sake of sport?

The answer to this question is I don’t know.  Do you?