Bahrain has hosted the Formula One since 2004 and it has become an issue of rising controversy. As a human rights abuser, Bahrain has been using the Formula One as a platform to promote national state propaganda in order to cover up its abuses against nationals. The race was cancelled in mid 2011 however it has continued to take place amidst a rising crackdown including mass arrests, killings and torture to silence dissent. The 2013 Formula One race in Bahrain has also forced the mass arbitrary detention of protesters, enforcing national state security pre-dating the race in order to prevent any voices calling for its cancellation.
Facts about the F1:
McLaren: Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat owns an approximate 50% stake in British firm McLaren. Mumtalakat is wholly owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain. Mclaren is also working with the UK embassy in Bahrain.
Damon Hill argued that the F1 should not take place in Bahrain in 2013. The question is whether Formula One going to Bahrain would be enabling or furthering brutal repression, by appearing to endorse the treatment being meted out,” he said. “There is a perception that the sport is being used.”
“If I was Jean Todt, president of the FIA, I would not want to run the race in the absence of the proper benchmarks and milestones,” he said. “Based on what I hear from the opposition forces, F1 will be even more of a focus for discontent this year.
“The demonstrations will increase. It is easy to keep F1 cocooned, but the sport should send out a message sensitive to the real situation in Bahrain. By its words and deeds, it must show that it is part of a broader international community.”