In 1985 Jean Marie Balestre announced soon after the South African Grand Prix that Formula One would not return there until after the end of Apartheid: many still think that Formula One should have pulled out long before this but Formula One pulled out as did many companies at around the same time to help force change. In Bahrain many see the situation as being similar, the Bahraini government and Royal Family it is assumed want the race to go ahead to showcase the country and help attract investment.
There are others though who argue that the Grand Prix going ahead would actually do more to bring about change in Bahrain by brining in large numbers of journalists and putting the spotlight on the country; the events including Human Rights abusesin Bahrain many believe are being forgotten by western media. In the UK their are politicians on both sides, a group of Lords and Green MP Caroline Lucas calling for the race to be cancelled and a group of MPs calling for it to go ahead: each group it has to be said concerned about Human Rights but seeing the role of Formula One in different ways.
Bernie Ecclestone’s point of view seems to be that the race should go ahead but his attitude could probably be described as more laissez faire: like many he doesn’t think that Formula One should get involved in politics, many would say events in Bahrain have gone far beyond politics. What Bernie Ecclestone may also be doing of course is waiting for the Bahraini government to cancel the race themselves as they did in 2011 so he doesn’t lose the F1 Administration’s fees by cancelling; he could also be hoping that the FIA and Jean Todt will step in and cancel the race: thereby keeping his relationship with the Bahraini government and the race organisers in tact for future years. Whether Bernie will cancel the race at the last minute if someone else doesn’t of course remains to be seen.