I suppose people get their kicks in different ways. For some, like these policemen in Bahrain, it is firing bullets at unarmed political protesters. For many others, driving in a fast car is the ultimate high and for many more still, it is watching other people drive fast cars in Grand Prix tournaments all over the World.
I went to a Formula One race once at Brand’s Hatch in England and it was an exciting experience with all that heady smell of oil and petrol fumes and the sense of speed that television never really captures. I was lucky enough to meet some of the racing champions too who seemed like nice unassuming guys in their colourful romper suits.
So I can see why people like going to the races even if I am one of the worst drivers that has ever passed his driving test. Fortunately for the citizens of Britain, I am temporally, I hope, excluded from driving as I have the vestigial remains of the brain seizures that accompanied my brain haemorrhage two and a half years ago. One day I hope to be back but I don’t suspect that I will be signed up by the strangely sinister-looking Bernie Ecclestone, the virtual king of Formula One racing.
I don’t think I will be well enough anyway Bernie even if you do wish you could have me racing in your planned October Bahrain Grand Prix. I am hoping though, Bernie, that there won’t be a Grand Prix in a country where the torture and rape of political prisoners appears to have become endemic. I know you say that you “don’t do politics” and, believe me, you are not alone there. Sport is big business I know and there is a lot of money to be made out of it as the governing body of football, FIFA, would tell you. Wouldn’t it be great though if the big money “sport” of sitting in fast cars could take a lead here and say no to adding credibility to a regime that should be condemned and, hopefully, toppled by those brave protestors who even as you sit there smugly not doing politics are being raped and beaten in Bahrain’s prisons.
If you can’t bring yourself to make such a stance, Bernie, then maybe your drivers will. Maybe that nice guy Sebastian Vettel, the current world champion, could lead the way here. For a moment I thought I heard some hints of protest about the Bahrain Grand Prix from the Formula One drivers but then I read on to find that they were only wittering about the Grand Prix season getting extended so far that they would only get two weeks off before Christmas – poor loves. Obviously our racing driver heroes don’t do politics either. Looks like they have no conscience or moral sense either.