Michael Bailey: Reckless F1 fans and why Bahrain should be a no no

We have all heard of fans wanting to get closer to Formula One, but things were taken to ridiculous levels during Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso demonstration in Japan.

The team was showing off the STR6 to help raise money for the victims of March's tsunami, when a spectator decided it was the perfect time to cross the road. Bang!

Thankfully the F1 'enthusiast' – obviously never exposed to the teachings of Green Cross Code Man (aka Dave Prowse) – was not hurt, apart from the almost certainly bruised ego.

Hopefully a bit of sense was knocked into him as well.

• The postponed Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead in October – and the ensuing anger at the decision probably came from its inevitability.


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The race at Sakhir was due to kick off Formula One's longest ever season back in March, when civil and political unrest – alongside similar events in Egypt – understandably, and rightly, meant the grand prix did not take place as scheduled.

It should have been cancelled there and then. Removed from the calendar so that far more important things could be sorted.

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Even in that scenario, by now the race would have been included on the provisional 2012 calendar and questions over Bahrain's stability would have needed answering.

Instead, the original race was postponed. After all, Formula One and Sakhir had a contract to keep.

The Middle Eastern island state is now regarded – by some – as 'safe' and 'stable'. How it got there, it seems, is irrelevant.

The inevitable consequence is that the Bahrain Grand Prix currently sits on the FIA's official Formula One 2011 calendar for October 30 – knocking the first ever India Grand Prix on to December 11 as this season's final act in the process.

It will be one of latest finishes – although not the latest – to an F1 season, and will re-establish 2011 as the sport's longest ever campaign.

The FIA's decision may yet be vetoed by Fota – the teams' association – if they feel strongly enough; after all, there will be no race without them.

Protesters have already targeted petitions at the likes of Red Bull Racing, while several high profile faces have expressed their doubts over whether the decision to race in Bahrain will actually come to fruition: all of it aimed at stopping brutal oppression delivering an F1 race and the chance for Bahrain to claim everything is 'back to normal'.

Say what you like about former FIA president Max Mosley, on Bahrain he is spot on.

'A sports administrator is elected to run a sport; anyone who wants to be a politician should stand for election in politics, not sport,' he wrote in his Daily Telegraph column.

'Surely the line has to be drawn when a sporting event is not mere entertainment in a less-than-perfect country, but is being used by an oppressive regime to camouflage its actions. If a sport accepts this role, it becomes a tool of government.

'By agreeing to race there, Formula One becomes complicit in what has happened. It becomes one of the Bahrain government's instruments of repression.

'The decision to hold the race is a mistake which will not be forgotten and, if not reversed, will eventually cost Formula One dear.'

• This month's High Court verdict on the spat between Group Lotus and Team Lotus worked out pretty well for the Hingham unit.

Team Lotus can sit back safe in the knowledge all can carry on as planned. But it's not the same for Hethel's Group Lotus and Renault.

The question marks have already started appearing over the team's funding, while the Oxfordshire constructor had planned to ditch its Renault marque. The replacement was to be Lotus, but the verdict ensures that is no longer an option.

A reported 99 jobs are set to go at Hethel – some insiders suggest the total could actually top 130 – while questions remain over a strategy to shell out �100m on sponsoring a team, without the benefit of your company's name being used.

Immediate effects on Norfolk's second F1 team will be minimal: same black and gold livery, same name and sponsors.

But longer term, there will be tough decisions. For the sake of a treasured Norfolk marque, they better get it right.

• This weekend sees F1 relocate across the Atlantic for the Canadian Grand Prix – and it should be a cracker.

Montreal's street circuit, brought back to the calendar in 2010 after a year's absence, tends to deliver superb races.

And given this year DRS – the moveable rear wing overtaking device – will be allowed in two places during the race rather than the one section permitted at the other grands prix this season, there is one more unknown factor in the mix.

Montreal's fascinating 2010 race made a big impact. Pirelli's brief when they set about making this season's new tyres was to recreate that grand prix at every circuit in a season – more stops, more strategy, better racing.

So taking into account the fact Pirelli's work has been such a success in 2011 – even at those traditionally hard-to-excite places like Barcelona – we could all be in for a real treat in North America on Sunday evening.

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