Last week, Formula 1's governing body reinstated the Bahrain Grand Prix despite the country's brutal crackdown against protestors agitating against its dictator. Now F1 says it won't race there — and this leaked report shows how the board caved.
The FIA World Motorsport Council voted unanimously to let the Bahrain race continue after a report by FIA Commissioner Carlos Gracia, who took a government-sponsored tour of Bahrain last month and found an "atmosphere of total calm and stability," that "life in Bahrain is completely normal again," and that "no human rights were violated." The 31 people killed in protests might disagree, as would the 48 doctors and nurses who now face criminal charges for attending to demonstrators injured during the protest.
Leave it to Bernie Ecclestone, the real powerholder in F1, to smell what's up. After at first wanly accepting the decision, Ecclestone said yesterday there would be no race in Bahrain. It's not that F1 or FIA suddenly cares about freedom — it's that Ecclestone says the FIA vote was meaningless because F1 forgot a clause in its bylaws that requires any race rescheduling to have the approval of its teams. Since the vote, 11 of the 12 teams have told Ecclestone they object to racing in Bahrain.
The FIA will likely have to save what little honor it has left by moving the India Grand Prix to Oct. 30. And for those who want to see how an oppressive dictatorship convinces the gullible that everything's hunky-dory, the Bahrain report acquired by Avaaz is below: