Red Bull star Mark Webber has hit out at Formula One’s decision to run the Bahrain Grand Prix later this year, saying that the race will cause more tension in the country.
The Aussie has been against reinstating the race since its postponement in March, suggesting that waiting until 2012 would have been the most sensible decision for both the sport and the people of Bahrain. Following yesterday’s confirmation that the event will take place in October – replacing the Indian Grand Prix, which has been pushed back to the second weekend in December – Webber has made his thoughts clear on his website.
“In my personal opinion, the sport should have taken a much firmer stance earlier this year rather than constantly delaying its decision in hope of being able to re-schedule it in 2011,” said the 34-year-old. “It would have sent a very clear message about F1’s position on something as fundamental as human rights and how it deals with moral issues.
“It’s obvious that the parties involved have struggled to reach a decision but sadly I feel that they still haven’t made the right one. Like it or not, F1 and sport in general isn’t above having a social responsibility and conscience. I hope F1 is able to return to Bahrain eventually but now isn’t the right time.
Webber went on to say that the race will likely up tensions in the nation – and that F1 has made a big mistake by putting itself in this position.
“As a competitor I do not feel at all comfortable going there to compete in an event when, despite reassurances to the contrary, it seems inevitable that it will cause more tension for the people of that country. I don’t understand why my sport wishes to place itself in a position to be a catalyst for that.”
Despite the reinstatement of the event fears remain high that the grand prix could present a prime opportunity for protestors to make a statement to the world, having failed in their attempts to overthrow Bahrain’s ruling royal family.