Former FIA president Max Mosley says that the decision to reinstate the Bahrain GP is a “mistake that will cost F1 dear.”
His comments are clearly aimed at his long time ally Bernie Ecclestone and also his successor at the FIA, Jean Todt. And while you might not have agreed with everything he’s said and done in the past, he does get to the point on this issue.
Mosley made his opposition to the Bahrain GP clear last week. Speaking in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Mosley says that sports administrators should steer clear of politics, noting that in this case F1 is being seen to support the Bahrain authorities.
“We will be told that holding the Grand Prix in October will show that, once again, Bahrain is a happy, peaceful country,” said Mosley in a first person column. “So why is it wrong for Formula One to go along with this? 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. 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 goes on to describe how the initial peaceful protests were met with “brutal repression,” and how the Saudi Arabian was army called in.
“Having carried out these horrific acts, the Bahrain government wants to clean up its image. That’s where the Grand Prix comes in. By running the race they hope to show the world the troubles were just a small, temporary difficulty and everything is now back to normal.
“By agreeing to race there, Formula One becomes complicit in what has happened. 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’s full column can be found at http://www.telegraph.co.uk