And of course the response to the knotty of issue of civil rights and F1 should be that they have little to nothing to do with each other.
F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has made the point that F1 is neither religious or political - it is concerned purely and simply with taking the circus into town and making money (my paraphrase). Of course in doing so damned China when he said that there was no difference between holding it in China or in Bahrain. A statement which is much less true now that it was at the time of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and one that, I would assume, might cause some offence to China's attempts at democracy.
Last night I was listening, in the early hours of the morning, to radio reports from Bahrain as protesters were apparently shot at and (definitely) subjected to tear gas attack. As this morning the radio carried the words of a man approaching death through hunger strike, a desperate act reflecting a desperate situation; I reflected upon the folly that F1 is and maintains by its presence in this nation.
Bahrain International Circuit's chairman Zayed R Alzayani has paralleled what is happening in his country and the potential for incident at the Grand Prix to the idiot who nearly lost his head by swimming into the path of the boat race competitors. He says of those protesting, "There are idiots everywhere in the world. Does that mean we just sit at home and lock ourselves up?"
No of course not, we just want them to stop the oppression and cease locking its residents up!