Mark Webber remains doubtful that the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead as planned on October 30th, despite the FIA voting unanimously on Friday to reinstate the troubled race. Webber was a rare voice from within F1 against the reinstatement of the race on humanitarian grounds and reaffirmed that opposition on his personal website on Saturday.
“My opinion is unchanged since I was first asked about this in late February,” wrote Webber. “Even though a decision has been made, I'll be highly surprised if the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead this year.”
Webber thinks the FIA should have taken a firmer stance much earlier on in the season, while referring to the governing body's decision to grant Bahraini authorities a one-month extension on the original May deadline.
“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,” he continued. “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.
“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.”
Others to voice their opposition at the reinstated race include former FIA president Max Mosley who wrote in the Telegraph that Formula One risked becoming an instrument of Bahrain's repression by travelling there. “By agreeing to race there, Formula One becomes complicit in what has happened. It becomes one of the Bahrain government's instruments of repression,” wrote Mosley.
“The decision to hold the race is a mistake which will not be forgotten and, if not reversed, will eventually cost Formula One dear.”
Despite being strongly opposed to travelling to Bahrain on logistical grounds, the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) has remained silent on the matter since the race was officially reinstated on Friday.