Bahrain GP Rescheduled to Mosley’s Disbelief

June 6, 2011

The former president of the global governing body of motorsport (FIA), Max Mosley, has criticised the decision made on Friday, June 3, to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix to this year’s Formula One calendar.

The FIA, now led by Mosley’s successor Jean Todt, announced that its World Motor Sport Council had decided the Sakhir race could take place on October 30, with the inaugural Indian Grand Prix shifted to December 11 to accommodate the change to the schedule. Having been scheduled to open the 2011 season in March, the Bahrain Grand Prix was postponed due to political unrest in the country.

F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone told The Guardian on Saturday that “unusual circumstances” led to the decision to reintroduce Bahrain to the calendar, and added: “It went through the World Council. The FIA sent people out there to check on the situation, they came back and reported everything is fine.”

However, Mosley warned that the decision to bring Bahrain back to the schedule “will cost Formula 1 dear”, writing in the Daily Telegraph: “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.”

Mosley added: “If a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government. If Formula 1 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.

“By agreeing to race there, Formula 1 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 1 dear.”

The decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix is believed to also be a boost for the delayed Indian Grand Prix, new to the F1 circuit, by affording the organisers with more time to ensure the Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, is completed.