bahrain international circuit, photo by Emi Faulk

Bahrain International Circuit, Photo by Emi Faulk

Amid increasing calls for the running of the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix, set to take place in around two weeks time, to be looked at again the FIA have stated that they are monitoriung the situation in the country.

 

Right now Bahrian is looking like moving away from stability rather than towards it and it is the FIA’s responsibility to make sure that the Bahrian Grand Prix can be run safely for teams and fans. The FIA may also have some responsibility to consider the race’s impact on the country but there is a lot of disagreement over whether the race would be positive, negative or have little affect on Bahrain’s political situation.  In the FIA’s statement they said “The FIA is the guarantor of the safety at the race event and relies, as it does in every other country, on the local authorities to guarantee security,” perhaps suggesting that the FIA expects to see security increased by the Bahrainis if the race is to go ahead; organizers of the Bahrain Grand Prix last week stated they would in fact not be increasing security for this year’s race.

 

Increased unrest is being caused primarily it seems by a jailed activist, on hunger strike many believe he should be a free man and plenty are willing to protest to call for his release and claim his innocence. 5000 protested in the north of the capital Manama and clashed with police on Wednesday.

 

Many in Bahrain have stated their hopes that the race would be a unifiying event, using ‘UniF1ed’ in promotion of the Grand Prix; it is now worried though that if protests do mar the race and if clashes between the government forces including police, as well as circuit security and protesters do occur in front of cameras of the world’s media, that the race could do the opposite of what has been hoped.

 

In the UK, where earlier this year a group of MPs had called for the race to go ahead to shine a spotlight on the country, one MP Richard Burden has now publicly questioned the running of the race. His comments, published in a blog, were: “In a context where genuine and sustainable reform is taking place, holding a Grand Prix could be a unifying event for the people of Bahrain as well as a positive showcase on the world stage. But things are not at that stage,”

 

This statement from Richard Burden follows a U turn for Damon Hill; Hill had last year backed the cancellation of 2011’s race but following a visit to Bahrain backed this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix going ahead as a positive event: recent events have led him to question this again though.