Funny how events in the Middle East from 2,000 years ago provides an interests backdrop to the ongoing F1 Bahraini GP question. Not being particularly religious allows me to reflect on the past and present and the threads that run through to today.
Bernie has obviously been reading his New Testament over the last couple of weeks - he's taken a leaf out of Pontius Pilate's famous "This is how a Roman rules his Empire's outpost" tablet and has proceeded to wash his hands of the entire Bahrain affair.
While he did the same thing last year in the run up to the race this year is particularly poignant on the basis that we have all the Easter ingredients in play - the potential martyr Abdulhadi al-Khawaja - the (once again) increasingly repressive minority regime - Bernie in the role of the F1 Governor - The 3 day event culminating in the Bahraini rising from the dead. I'd like to think that I've overplayed the connections (just a tad!) but the conclusion to the events surrounding the death of Jesus was Martyrdom followed by the inevitable rise of Christianity. What was the role of Pontius Pilate in these events? The plea that it was not my fault hasn't stopped history from judging him harshly in respect of his actions (or lack of them).
Eusebius says that Pilate was recalled to Rome for his treatment of the Jews, was exiled, and eventually committed suicide.
Bernie must "man up" at this stage and make the call which, while it may be unpopular to the Ruling house of Bahrain will be popular with F1 fans, teams, journalists, and all those who only wish to place pressure on the country to resolve its issues in a non-violent, peaceful and democratic manner.
It's time for the Bahraini Royal Family to "man up" and face the fact that their rule needs to be tempered by some form of democratic, fully representative and inclusive Parliament with real power to effect change, and
It's time for the ruling Saudi house to leave Bahrain to its own devices rather than attempt to prop the country up through use of its troops and weapons against the Bahraini people.
It is not the job of F1 to lend credibility to a Government which over the last year has slowly been evolving from Government to Regime and if, as Bernie always says, F1 is not about Politics then it should abstain from any situation where the sport can be seen to underpin a Political system which is under pressure.
Bernie, it is not enough to wash your hands and leave it up to each individual team to decide whether to "break" their commercial contracts by not going. This simply provides you with leverage in any future team negotiations. It's time for you to give leadership and remove the GP from the calendar indefinitely. Man up Bernie - Black Flag the race.