Hill voices concerns over Bahrain Grand Prix

Hill voices concerns over Bahrain Grand Prix

5 April 2012 – Although Bernie Ecclestone claims that this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix will be going ahead without problems, a number of F1 insiders are beginning to voice their doubts over the Sakhir event. As protests continue, albeit not to the extent of in early 2011, 1996 World Champion Damon Hill wonders whether a delay is wise.

The season-opening Grand Prix of last year was called off following Bahrain’s ‘Day of Rage’ on 14 February, plus the subsequent protests in which multiple lives were lost. After a protester was killed just 20 kilometres south of the circuit last week, with other demonstrations also ongoing, worries are creeping in for some.

Damon Hill
“Things are different now,” Hill, former BRDC President and now a television pundit for Sky Sports, told The Telegraph. “The protests have not abated and may even have become more determined and calculated. It is a worrying state of affairs. What we must put above all else is what will be the penalty, in terms of human cost, if the race goes ahead.”

In the second half of last year, Hill travelled to the Gulf kingdom with FIA President Jean Todt in order to assess the situation; after his trip optimism levels were high but now, with just over a fortnight to go until the race, the Englishman is more anxious.

“It would be a bad state of affairs, and bad for Formula 1, to be seen to be enforcing martial law in order to hold the race,” Hill continues. “That is not what this sport should be about. Looking at it today, you’d have to say that it could be creating more problems than it’s solving…conditions do not seem to have improved, judging by the reports in our European newspapers, social media and on Al Jazeera TV.

“I’m just saying we have to tread carefully. I hope the FIA are considering the implications of this fully and that events in Bahrain are not seen as they are often sold, as a bunch of yobs throwing Molotov cocktails, because that’s a gross simplification. If they believe that, they ought be more wary. You don’t get 100,000 people risking their lives in protest for nothing.

“If we go, we all go. But there is obviously still a great deal of pain, anger and tension in Bahrain. It would be better for F1 to make it clear that it properly understands this and that it wants only the best for all Bahrain, or whatever country it visits. I think F1 is sailing very close to this limit. But there is an even more troubling thought, which is this: is F1 playing brinkmanship for purely financial reasons while people are putting their lives in peril to protest against this event?”

The race is scheduled to take place on the weekend of 20-22 April, running back-to-back with the Chinese Grand Prix which continues the season next weekend.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Saturday 28 May 2016

  2. 14:20

    Monaco Grand Prix: Full Qualifying results

    F1
  3. Ricciardo takes sensational Monaco pole 14:16

    Ricciardo takes sensational Monaco pole

    Daniel Ricciardo claimed his maiden pole position with a stunning qualifying performance in Monaco, ahead of Mercedes pair Nico…

    F1
  4. Verstappen hopes for rain after Q1 exit 13:41

    Verstappen hopes for rain after Q1 exit

    Max Verstappen says he is hoping for wet weather to affect Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix after he crashed out of qualifying during…

    F1
  5. 12:48

    Follow qualifying for the Monaco GP!

    F1
  6. Räikkönen to take five-place grid penalty 12:39

    Räikkönen to take five-place grid penalty

    Kimi Räikkönen will take a five-place grid penalty for the Monaco Grand Prix after a gearbox change. Räikkönen finished…

    F1
  7. 11:38

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday in Monaco

    F1
  8. F1 set to introduce 'halo' over 'aeroscreen' 11:35

    F1 set to introduce 'halo' over 'aeroscreen'

    Formula 1 has reportedly decided to introduce the 'halo' cockpit protection system over the alternate 'aeroscreen' for 2017…

    F1
  9. 11:08

    Monaco Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    F1
  10. Vettel tops final Monaco GP practice 11:05

    Vettel tops final Monaco GP practice

    Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets during Saturday morning's ultra-close final free practice session for the…

    F1
  11. Renault spends three tokens on upgrade 10:34

    Renault spends three tokens on upgrade

    Renault is the only engine manufacturer to have spent development tokens for the Monaco Grand Prix. Renault used three tokens…

    F1
  12. Video: Pirelli outlines wider 2017 tyres 10:03

    Video: Pirelli outlines wider 2017 tyres

    Formula 1 will undergo significant technical changes for 2017, with Pirelli's tyres playing a key role.

    F1
  13. Pirelli offers first look at wider tyres 10:01

    Pirelli offers first look at wider tyres

    Pirelli has offered a first glimpse of what its Formula 1 tyres could look like from 2017 after presenting the wider rubber on a…

    F1
  14. 09:52

    Follow final practice for the Monaco GP!

    F1
  15. Video of the Day: McLaren's 50 years in F1 05:27

    Video of the Day: McLaren's 50 years in F1

    McLaren celebrates its 50 years in F1 with a special film, presented by team partner Richard Mille.

    F1
  16. Friday 27 May 2016

  17. Giovinazzi penalised, Matsushita gets pole 17:22

    Giovinazzi penalised, Matsushita gets pole

    Nobuharu Matsushita will start GP2's Sprint Race from pole position on Saturday following a penalty for Prema's Antonio…

    GP2
  18. 16:34

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  19. Video: Ferrari's Monaco technical guide 15:32

    Video: Ferrari's Monaco technical guide

    Ferrari Technical Director James Allison talks about the demands of the Monte-Carlo street circuit.

    F1
  20. Kvyat feeling 'better and better' in STR11 13:06

    Kvyat feeling 'better and better' in STR11

    Daniil Kvyat says that his feeling at the wheel of Toro Rosso's STR11 is getting "better and better" on a lap-by-lap basis as he…

    F1
  21. Markelov takes maiden win in GP2 thriller 11:46

    Markelov takes maiden win in GP2 thriller

    Artem Markelov surged from 15th on the grid and profited from a litany of Virtual Safety Car (VSC) periods to provisionally…

    GP2
  22. Haryanto misses long runs due to crash 11:22

    Haryanto misses long runs due to crash

    Manor driver Rio Haryanto was left to rue the lack of any meaningful long runs during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, after…

    F1
  23. Video: Sauber drivers on Monaco GP 10:03

    Video: Sauber drivers on Monaco GP

    Sauber drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson talk about the challenges of the Monaco Grand Prix.

    F1
  24. Sauber expects to resolve issues 'shortly' 09:24

    Sauber expects to resolve issues 'shortly'

    Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has expressed confidence that Sauber will resolve its financial issues in the near future…

    F1
  25. Baz confirmed to miss Catalan Grand Prix 08:12

    Baz confirmed to miss Catalan Grand Prix

    Avintia rider Loris Baz will miss next weekend's MotoGP round at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as a result of the injuries…

    MotoGP
  26. Pirelli pleased with full Ultra Soft debut 07:42

    Pirelli pleased with full Ultra Soft debut

    Pirelli hailed a positive start with its new Ultra Soft tyre compound as the purple-marked rubber made its race weekend debut on…

    F1
  27. Gasly to start from pits after penalty 07:28

    Gasly to start from pits after penalty

    GP2 Series leader Pierre Gasly must start today's Monaco Feature Race from the pit lane after failing to stop at the weighbridge…

    GP2
  28. Video of the Day: FI drawing challenge 05:12

    Video of the Day: FI drawing challenge

    Force India drivers Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg take part in a special Monaco drawing challenge.

    F1
  29. Thursday 26 May 2016

  30. 19:02

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday in Monaco

    F1
  31. Button 'lucky' in drain cover incident 18:53

    Button 'lucky' in drain cover incident

    Jenson Button says he felt "lucky" to escape unharmed after his car struck a drain cover during first practice for the Monaco…

    F1
  32. Rosberg expecting 'very close' battle 16:24

    Rosberg expecting 'very close' battle

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is expecting a "very close" fight with Red Bull at the Monaco Grand Prix, given the times posted in…

    F1
  33. Sirotkin flies to GP2 pole in Monaco 16:19

    Sirotkin flies to GP2 pole in Monaco

    ART driver Sergey Sirotkin secured pole position for ART Grand Prix during GP2's qualifying session after a stunning final lap…

    GP2
  34. Vettel: Ferrari better than practice display 15:34

    Vettel: Ferrari better than practice display

    Sebastian Vettel is adamant that Ferrari has a competitive car at the Monaco Grand Prix, despite a low key start to the…

    F1
  35. Ricciardo 'in a good window' after first day 15:07

    Ricciardo 'in a good window' after first day

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo says he is in "a pretty good window" after topping the first day of practice for the Monaco…

    F1
  36. 14:34

    Monaco Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  37. Ricciardo puts Red Bull on top in FP2 14:32

    Ricciardo puts Red Bull on top in FP2

    Daniel Ricciardo put Red Bull at the top of the timesheets during Thursday afternoon's second free practice session for the…

    F1
  38. 12:52

    Follow second practice for the Monaco GP!

    F1
  39. 10:37

    Monaco Grand Prix: Full Practice 1 results

    F1
  40. Hamilton edges out Rosberg in FP1 10:35

    Hamilton edges out Rosberg in FP1

    Lewis Hamilton edged out Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg during Thursday morning's first practice session for the Monaco Grand…

    F1
  41. Bianchi family sue over 'avoidable' death 10:23

    Bianchi family sue over 'avoidable' death

    Jules Bianchi's family has announced that it will be taking legal action in the UK against the FIA, the Formula One Group and…

    F1
  42. Pirelli announces Germany compounds 08:58

    Pirelli announces Germany compounds

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has announced its compound selections for the German Grand Prix, with the red-marked Super Soft…

    F1
  43. 08:52

    Follow first practice for the Monaco GP!

    F1
more news