Formula 1 Renews Contract with Bahrain, Completely Ignores HR Violations
2022-03-15 - 9:41 p
Bahrain Mirror: Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei, the director of advocacy for the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird), has written a letter to F1 president and chief executive officer Stefano Domenicali following the decision to award the Bahrain race a new 15-year contract.
Al-Wadaei said in a letter that the contract "directly contradicts your claim from last year that F1 takes 'violence, abuse of human rights and repression very seriously'".
He added that the grand prix "has contributed to the abuse and suffering of individuals, and F1 has failed to adequately use its platform to put an end to abuses or secure redress for these victims".
He indicated that Bird supported F1's decision to cancel the Russian Grand Prix contract in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine but said there "is a clear double-standard being applied with countries in the Middle East" in the context of Saudi Arabia's involvement in a conflict in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia hosts the second race of the season. Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, which hosts the season finale in Abu Dhabi, were also involved in Yemen, Al-Wadaei said.
He asked F1 to review its policy on races in the Middle East and reconsider its position on an independent commission to investigate human rights violations linked to the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird) said F1 has "abandoned those who have been tortured and imprisoned" partly as a result of criticism of the race.
Bird has also written to some drivers asking them to "publicly stand up for human rights in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, including on social media platforms".
An F1 spokesperson said: "We take our responsibilities on rights very seriously and set high ethical standards for counter-parties and those in our supply chain."
These were "enshrined in contracts, and we pay close attention to their adherence".