Matters of Moment, May 2011

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

173

Current page

174

Current page

175

Current page

176

Current page

177

Current page

178

Current page

179

Current page

180

Current page

181

Current page

182

Chill wind of the real world

Damien Smith, Editor

The atrocities inflicted by the Bahraini government on its own people threw into sharp focus the fact that sport and politics do indeed mix. Whatever Bernie Ecclestone might say.

As Nigel Roebuck describes in Reflections this month, Ecclestone and the FIA dallied over the decision to cancel the Bahrain Grand Prix, then left it to the ruling Al Khalifa family to make the call. That way, cynics observed, Bernie would still get paid. (He has since made it clear he will only accept the $30m sanctioning fee if the race takes place later in 2011. How noble.) Whatever, the FIA should’ve acted as soon as the first protester fell. It should not have been left to Ecclestone, for whom ethical pangs on human rights don’t seem to be a problem.

As the self-confessed dictator of Fl (these days on behalf of those nice people at CVC), Ecclestone has never thought twice about doing deals with countries in which democracy is a dirty word. He has chased the money and headed East, gradually abandoning F1’s European heartland and the sport’s true fanbase. The teams, manufacturers and sponsors have followed, absolving themselves of responsibility, because it’s in their interests.

That’s all very well until F1’s insular perspective is rudely jolted by the real world. Bahrain’s veneer of respectability has been tarnished for good and, thanks to the lethargy of the FIA and Ecclestone’s refusal to condemn the violence dealt out to the protesters, the same is true of Fl. Still, were we surprised by Frs collective silence? No. And that is the most damning point of all.

Politicians have always used sport to generate investment and employment, and also to enhance and legitimise their countries’ position within the international community. But after Bahrain, those of us that benefit from such events can no longer turn a blind eye. A mass pricking of a collective Fl conscience? About as likely as ‘peace in our time’. But Grand Prix racing’s embarrassing association with this dreadful episode must have registered in more than one boardroom. We can only hope it’s the catalyst for a turning of the tide. F,..„ cclestone continues to intrigue and occasionally horrify us (praising Hitler for his ability to “get things done”, and so on). But perhaps some of the old mystique has been eroded by two recent biographies of the man. It was no great surprise that the book written by Susan Watkins, reviewed

by Nigel Roebuck in the February issue, included little that could be described as salacious. More ‘juice’ was expected in the second volume on Bernie of the past few months, written by the infamous biographer of Conrad Black, Richard Branson and others, Tom Bower. As it turns out, Bower’s work offers little more than Watkins’ excellent book — other than a lot of mistakes about motor racing. If you’re expecting a tale that lifts the veil on a gangland existence, you’ll be disappointed. Bernie is legit, apparently.

Will the full story of Bernie Ecclestone ever be really told? Probably not. But to date, Susan Watkins has got closest to the definitive account. If you’ve not already had enough of the man, it’s her book we’d recommend.

Bower is not the only one who makes mistakes. Last month I told you our racy James Hunt cover photo was taken by Patrick Lichfield. Wrong. The man who captured the image that seems to have made most of you smile rather than wince was Arthur Sidey. Credit where it’s due — and apologies for the error.

You may also like

Related products