F1 » Bahrain situation could see force majeure clauses rewritten

Legal expert Charles Braithwaite muses on the implications of cancelling a grand prix due to political unrest amid F1's global expansion.

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John - Unregistered

February 23, 2011 12:40 PM

It also kind of highlights the concerns, raised many times in the past, about where the races are being held anyway.
There are many places around the world that have been know to be "dangerous" for years, such as the middle east, North Africa, etc. Yet F1 contracts are being signed bringing the sport ever closer to these areas, seemingly for the income they generate rather than the good of the sport and fans.
So, has the policy of chasing the dollar finally bitten back?

Joe - Unregistered

February 23, 2011 1:25 PM

It's a shame that this has to be a consideration. It did worry me when they said that the decision will be left to the Bahrain GP organisers - clearly they would not want to cancel and lose their money.

In the end the right choice was made, but I do wonder if that was down to simply making the right choice, or contract/money considerations. I could easily see organisers pushing for a GP to go ahead if the alternative is losing millions of dollars, regardless of the situation.


February 23, 2011 3:46 PM

Until democracy is installed all over the middle east I can see this happen quite a bit.
Heaven forbid that Bernie gave a second good will gesture to a cancelled race outside of everyone's control.

Alan D - Unregistered

February 24, 2011 11:01 AM

John: "There are many places around the world that have been know to be "dangerous" for years, such as the middle east, North Africa, etc."

I understand what you are saying, and it is view shared by many, but sweeping together a lot of countries into one big group of Middle East etc and then calling them dangerous or unstable is probably a cosy westernised viewpoint and hot helpful. You can't label a country as dangerous just because it happens to be in the middle east. And remember, full blown riots happen in our civilised cities in the west too.

Bahrain is a well developed country and has been working hard at social reform, including giving women the right to vote and appointing women to cabinet positions as an act of positive discrimination.

John - Unregistered

February 25, 2011 12:48 PM

@Alan D
Please, don't get me wrong, I wasn't just lumping everyone together and saying they're all a bad lot.
The point I was trying to make was that there have been a number of F1 (and MotoGP) venues that have raised eyebrows recently. Places that have built tracks in the middle of the desert, where nobody comes to watch (relatively speaking). The track gets covered in sand (not good) the temperature is way too hot, etc. and the only reason for the event being there is that somebody can pay the extortionate amounts of money to build a quality venue from scratch.
I have nothing against people/organisations having money and spending it as they like, but when selecting the venue for the F1 calendar money shouldn't be the only consideration. This is especially true when it may be "next door" to a volatile country due to the geographical area they are in.
Maybe nobody could have foreseen the troubles in Bahrain, but I was questioning where F1 is going.

Alan D - Unregistered

February 25, 2011 11:57 PM

Johm, sounds like you could be describing the Hungarian GP. Built in a natural dustbowl, often too hot, not used all year, very few spectators when it started, it was impossible to overtake on even in the days when cars used to overtake each other...

When F1 went there in 1986 there was still an Iron Curtain, and Hungary was on the far side of it. Rather like Bahrain when it first hosted the race, Hungary was surrounded by stable but undemocratic countries. Its neighbour Czechoslovakia had the Vaclavska Square protests and its velvet revolution in 1989, Romania had a swift but more violent revolution, and Yugoslavia was ravaged and fragmented by years of war.

We see a lot of stereotyping of countries in the Middle East. We should remember, they really are not so different to us.

John - Unregistered

February 26, 2011 2:04 PM

I give up
I'm not stereotyping, I'm not ignorant, I'm not racist, need I go on?
Sorry if I've caused offence.
However, I feel F1 is chasing the money rather than the support and infrastructure.

Alan D - Unregistered

February 26, 2011 11:43 PM

John, please accept my apologies. I was in no way having a go at you, I don't think you are racist and you certainly didn't cause offence. Some people on here have posted offensive and ignorant comments, such as someone who thought it was clever to refer to people of the Middle East as "towelheads", and they are not worth responding to.

You made valid points but I felt you were influenced, as we all are, by the media and politicians who always talk about the Middle East as an unstable or volatile region and tend to lump it all together into one big problem, like this headline from the Boston Globe: "Protesters march in Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, and Egypt" or the fact we have a "Middle East Envoy".

I just feel that thinking Bahrain's current troubles are as a result of it being in a volatile region is misguided. If you compared Manama with London over the last 10 years, I'll bet its London that had the more protests, riots and clashes with the police.

However, I do agree with you that

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