You spend £12 million, that’s POUNDS, not DOLLARS, on a wedding, and the best picture, the one you choose as your Twitter avatar, is the one the photographer took through a WINDOW?
Now i’ve got that bit of moaning out of the way, I shall explain. I’m talking about Petra Ecclestone, one of the darling daughter heiresses of Bernie, the stumpy overlord of the Formula One empire. And it leads me nicely from one piece of current news – Bernie’s continual whingeing about how much his ex – wife spent on their daughter’s wedding, with him footing the bill, to another piece of current affairs – Bahrain. Please do not click away from this page now, I have a serious point to make.
I am writing this in the early hours of Friday, the morning of First Practice for the Chinese Grand Prix. See, Bahrain is on the horizon, in a kind of will – it – won’t – it limbo. There are rumours of teams booking two sets of tickets for staff members, one direct to the Gulf state, and one going home with a stop off in Qatar to refuel. The drivers are being more reserved than usual, waiting for their teams to speak. The teams have told the press to talk to Bernie. Bernie has told the press to talk to FOTA. FOTA has said to ask the FIA. Mark Webber has spoken out, saying he wants to race. There have been calls for the race to not be broadcast on TV if it does indeed go ahead.
Last year, it was postponed, then cancelled. This year, they’re pushing it a bit. We’re now just over a week away, and there’s no mention of a cancellation. With the ongoing street protests, and the vox populi calling for the end of reign for the Al Khalifa family, can we really risk a race?
When Button was in Brazil in 2010, a race notorious for having to go through the favelas to get to the track, his convoy was ambushed by armed gunmen. This was not the first time this has happened, as in the past, a few teams employees have been mugged on their way from the track. This may have been a targeted attack in a country known for this level of violence in it’s capital city, but who is to say that the Bahraini protesters, who want the race cancelled as they see it as a symbol of the ruling family’s extravagance, won’t do it? Maybe not with guns, but haphazard petrol – bombing?
Sports, religion and politics should never meet. Sadly, they do. This was seen when China hosted the Olympics, and the Free Tibet / Burma movement ran into a spot of bother. I know from personal experience with Muslim friends that Sunni and Shia don’t mix, and that is the problem. Those in charge are of a religious minority in this small kingdom.
Bahrain has a contract for Formula One races until 2016. But I do not think it is worth it. If a racegets cancelled two years in a row, it has to be taken off the calendar. So cancel it. We do not want this kind of bad press for what is actually a very good sport. It all could get out of hand, and quite frankly, I prefer my rockstars dead and my sporting idols alive.
Let’s leave it that way.