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Ecclestone: Bahrain government “stupid” to hold Grand Prix

Apr 20, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Bernie Ecclestone Getty Images

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went after the Bahrain government, calling them “stupid” for hosting a Grand Prix since it has provided a chance for political protestors to air their grievances to the world.

“The government here are really, in a lot of ways, stupid to put this race on, because it’s a platform for people to use to protest,” said Ecclestone, who also touched on politicians back in Britain that had called for him to cancel the event (“They suddenly pop up, which is good because no one knows who they are and suddenly they get their name in the paper,” he said).

Anti-government protests continue to persist in the country as the Grand Prix goes on in Sakhir. Protesters have had nightly skirmishes with local police, with Sayed Yousif al-Muhafda of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights telling Reuters that nearly 20 villages saw protests and conflicts on Friday evening. In addition, a protest rally along a major motorway in Bahrain also drew thousands, with banners of “don’t race on our blood” inside the crowd.

As for the matter of human rights playing a role in where F1 should race, Ecclestone indicated that it was not the sport’s place to cast judgement on such things.

“We’re not here, or we don’t go anywhere, to judge how a country is run. Human rights are that the people that live in a country abide by the laws of that country,” he said.

“I might be in Africa doing 200km/h with no problem. If I come to England and do the same thing, I’m in trouble. So it’s a case of whatever the laws are in a country. People need to respect them, all of us [visiting], and the people that live here.”

Watch tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix online or on your mobile device.

  1. apexassassin - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Lol, Bernie. The headline doesn’t do the story or his comments justice.

  2. purplesectornet - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    I fail to see any humor here whatsoever. I agree with the man it’s stupid to hold the race if this is going to be the outcome, burning tires and trying to incite violence. Formula One has nothing to do with this conflict, yet it’s being used to draw attention to something that is not about sport. As usual, a classless and clueless article comment from you.

    • apexassassin - Apr 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      listen troll boy, did you read the article? The title is taken out of context. Bernies comments in this case are very accurate and I agree with them. The “Lol” was for Bernie’s usual lact of tack or certain use of “soundbyte” comments, like the one used for this title. Either way, he still makes the headlines, even if his comments are quite sane and rational.

      • apexassassin - Apr 20, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        that should be “lack of tact”, obv.

  3. gmsingh - Apr 20, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Bernie’s still pissed about his daughter appearing in Playboy. And she’s not even that hot.

  4. witchrunner - Apr 20, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    OK, so let me get this straight: Ecclestone is the head of F1. F1 is getting paid by the government of Bahrain to bring the race to it’s country. Ecclestone, obviously has to approve it in order for it to get on the schedule. And, now Ecclestone is calling the government of Bahrain “stupid?” So, he talks about respecting the laws of the countries that they visit, but not the government that pays him? And the point he was making as head of F1 is? …… don’t invite us and don’t pay us? It sounds like F1 needs a better ambassador for the sport.

    • apexassassin - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:52 PM

      He’s saying don’t ask for the limelight and then complain it’s too bright. That’s what is stupid.

      A general note: The political issues going on in Bahrain today existed long before F1 came to town, and Bernie is suggesting that the government (including his own, among others who try and turn a sporting event into a platform to advance their own political agenda or career and call for F1 to boycott the race) should know that this kind of thing is to be expected.

      • witchrunner - Apr 21, 2013 at 12:16 AM

        I know what he’s saying, and I can’t say that I disagree. But, He’s the head of F1! As the head, you don’t go around trying to convince people not to have you there! It’s not that difficult. In other words, don’t bite the hand that feeds you. It’s one thing to say “whenever a large international event comes to a country, that there are people who will try to exploit it.” It’s quite another thing to say that “the people who paid us to come here are stupid, so they’d better keep inviting us because we need their money.”

  5. techmeister1 - Apr 20, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    Talk about biting the hand that feeds you… People if Bernie wasn’t making tens of millions each year from having an F1 race in Bahrain it would not happen, period. What he’s saying is the Bahrain government is giving the protesters a platform so that they are seen by the media and thus the politics is reported that would otherwise not be internationally newsworthy.

    I personally believe that F1 doesn’t belong in Bahrain, Brazil or any other place where violence and lack of safety for all involved with F1 is not guaranteed. As we’ve seen in the past terrorists in these countries are more than willing to ambush the F1 team members and other people to rob or hold them for a ransom.

    • apexassassin - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      Sorry, tech but by your logic Boston, NYC, or Detroit are out then. And would you not got to South Korea because of potential politicial issues? I note it didn’t stop the show from going to Shanghai.

      No Baja 500 or 1000, either for that matter.

      F1 is the World Championship and needs to be represented with races world wide. I’m into it for the racing, not the politics.

      Let’s not forget the Bahraini’s and other middle eastern investers bring a lot of coin to F1 coffers. In fact, who exactly owns Mclaren? Bahraini’s partly.

  6. apexassassin - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Lol and I guess his 5 year extension for the Bahrain GP is biting the hands that feed him?

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