Bahrain F1: Should go ahead?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
April 20, 2012, 11:04 AM GMT+0

42% Britons say this weekend's Grand Prix should be cancelled; 29% disagree, as protests intensify

A significant proportion of the British public feels that the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix should be cancelled in light of the anti-government protests still on-going in the country.

Our poll shows that more people would cancel the Grand Prix in the Middle Eastern nation, than think it should go ahead, although a sizeable minority said they didn't know.

  • 42% of the British public say that in light of anti-government protests, the race should be cancelled
  • 29% say that it should go ahead
  • While 29% say that they aren't sure

Protests and unrest

The Bahrain Grand Prix has been the subject of debate in recent weeks as protests – and reprisals in response ‒ against the Sunni royal family continue to cause unrest. Some commentators have suggested that the race should be cancelled due to security concerns, while others have criticised the politicisation of the event and maintain that it can go ahead safely. Despite last year's Bahrain racing being cancelled due to protests, this weekend's fixture still looks to be going ahead, with the teams starting practise sessions on the track today.

The BBC today reports that security around this weekend's race has been tightened, amid bombings and dissent over the decision to hold the Grand Prix in Bahrain at all. Protesters surrounding the track reportedly set off a petrol bomb as a team car approached, while burning tyres have allegedly been used to block roads towards the race course.

'A lot of hype'?

While the Bahraini government has described the race as a sign that life is 'moving forward' for the country, protester Nabeel Rajab yesterday stated that 'Formula 1 in Bahrain has been taken as PR for the…repressive dictators who are ruling the country'.

Perhaps subscribing to the non-politicising argument, however, race driver and champion Sebastian Vettel has commented that when it comes to the race, he wants to 'worry about stuff that really matters – tyre temperatures and cars.' He continued, 'I don't think it's that bad. I think it's a lot of hype.'

The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix will be broadcast on Sky Sports F1 from 11:30am, with highlights on BBC 1 at 5pm, Sunday 22nd April.

See the survey details and full results here (page 7)