Hordes of Indian F1 enthusiasts eagerly waiting to sample the very first Buddh Indian Formula1 Grand Prix can now go ahead and make their travel and accommodation arrangements as the Bahrain race remains a non starter this year due to 11 of the 12 F1 teams dissenting against holding of the Grand Prix at the middle eastern Formula1 circuit. This comes as the organizers of the Bahrain Grand Prix have finally accepted the cancellation of this year’s race while stating that Bahrain would be very happy to host the race in 2012.
In an official statement accepting the cancellation of this year’s Grand Prix, Bahrain circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani said,
Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the Grand Prix progress on October 30th… it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision. We want our role in Formula One to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been, therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season. We look forward to welcoming teams, their drivers and supporters back to Bahrain next year.
Amidst all this, Formula1 stands to salvage it’s reputation of not being merely a commercial spectacle as many racing drivers and fans alike have expressed their vociferous disapproval at commercial interests of F1 outweighing human rights and democratic freedoms. The holding of this year’s jinxed Grand Prix at a later date was also seen by many as a move by the ruling monarchy of Bahrain to falsely depict to the world that all’s well in the oil rich Gulf state, which is said to have seen many deaths and imprisonments over the on going pro-democracy movement.
Even as we’re publishing this, a report about Saudi Arabia trying to buy the loyalty of the Islamic religious leaders, who have come out with a Fatwa that decries against street protests is doing the rounds. But it remains to be seen as to how long the common people of the Middle East, most of whom have turned against the monarchy, remain satiated by the temporary doles that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seems to be using to engineer and influence public opinion currently.
In other words, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next year, might go the way of Bahrain as appetites of the pro-democracy protesters would have been sufficiently whetted as Formula1 is a Global Sport with tremendous buzz surrounding it to capture the attention of the world at large. So, don’t be too surprised if you see a major in shift in dynamics in the Middle East, particularly regarding the sport of Formula1 as voices for democracy can only get louder in the coming times.