Max Mosley has admitted that he is staunchly opposed to the idea of F1 returning to Bahrain this year, arguing that to do so would be to paint a 'false' picture of the situation in the troubled desert kingdom and would represent 'a public relations disaster' for the sport – asserting that if he was still FIA President, the grand prix would be rescheduled 'over my dead body'.
The FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) is due to convene in Barcelona today (Friday) to determine whether or not the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix
– originally slated to host the season curtain-raiser on 13 March, but postponed due to the onset of violent political protest and a surge of civil unrest there a month earlier – can be re-accommodated later on in the campaign, most likely on 20 November, a week after Abu Dhabi.
Race-organisers themselves are adamant that Bahrain is
now ready to welcome F1 back, and in evidence of that, a three-month state-of-emergency and military rule was prematurely lifted on Wednesday.
The past few weeks have certainly witnessed a charm offensive from the Middle Eastern nation's powers-that-be, but Mosley is adamant that for the FIA to acquiesce to Bahrain's desire to go ahead with its grand prix in the wake of reports of government-orchestrated oppression and persistent abuse of human rights would be to send out the wrong kind of message entirely.
“If I was president today, F1 would go to Bahrain over my dead body,” the Englishman told ESPNF1
. “It cannot happen. The grand prix will be used to paint a picture of Bahrain that will be false. They will be attempting to use the grand prix to support what they are doing, almost using F1 as an instrument of repression.
“There is only one reason F1 is in Bahrain, and that is a political reason. To go will be a public relations disaster, and sponsors will want their liveries removed.”