Formula One Fervour

In 13 days from now, the 2013 F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix race will begin. And the thousands of spectators sitting at the Bahrain International Circuit – and the millions watching on live TV around the word – will be treated to the pleasurable roar of the fastest machines on planet earth.

There are many enthusiastic people waiting to see the racing cars and their world-class tyres, as they burn the circuit’s track at high speeds. But, there are also some backward-thinking people who just want to see the main roads with heaps of burning tyres.

What private pleasure they get out by harming the country’s economy this way is beyond my understanding.  Which noble cause they are fighting for – by indulging in street violence and by avoiding dialogue – is beyond my comprehension.

But their attempts, I am sure, will not prevent the F1 race from going on, as planned. We know that the logical thinkers know the real truth. And, it is this: Bahrain’s economy has seen earlier, and will see again now, that a great surge upwards is possible, with the F1 being held here.

Not just the F1, but the year-long racing events at the Bahrain International Circuit, will keep on earning great revenues that directly or indirectly contribute to the growth of this great nation.

The hotels, transport companies, travel agencies, airlines, taxi-drivers, media managers, advertisers, entertainers and many others will all see a growth in business, thanks to this F1 event.

Employment will increase, tourism will increase, Foreign investment will increase, and consumer confidence will increase.

But, somehow, this logic is completely escaping the minds of the protesters  They just seem to have become pawns in the hands of their leaders who have themselves become pawns in the hands of some foreign powers with a divisive intent.  They  seem to have no desire for a strong and united Bahrain.

Nine years ago, in 2004, when it began, Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix became the “first” F1 to be held in the Middle East. Today, the me-too racing tracks in the region are getting more attention simply because Bahrain, the first one, is being hampered by some illogical resistance.

Bahrain had even received the award for the “Best Organised Grand Prix” by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) in 2004. Instead of cashing in on that success and improving on our organising skills, we are being cowed down by the resistance of a few gullible miscreants. We should not.

I strongly believe that Formula 1 has given a powerful international branding to the “Kingdom of Bahrain.”  It did a lot of good to ‘Brand Bahrain’. The world now sees Bahrain as a wonderfully developed country – Energetic and Efficient.

And, I am sure, we will go forward and further, unhindered by these small destructive attempts.

I am sure that those who are working against F1 do not realize that they are doing tremendous damage to themselves and to this country’s economy. But they must realize that their attempts at causing needless fear is not going to succeed.

That is why I was glad to hear what the F1 Chief Bernie Ecclestone said two days ago: “Everything that is there (in Bahrain) is as far as we are concerned good. They do a very, very good job of the race, the whole support from the top is good. No problems.”

So, let us hope and work towards that end that, in 13 days from now, when the rushing rubber meets the racing road, it will only make this great nation to zoom forward into a bright new future.