Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone's global money machine (it turned a $140 million profit last year), was forced to postpone its scheduled race this spring in Bahrain because of the country's democracy protests and the government's violent crackdown. But F1 has put Bahrain back on the calendar for December, and teams like Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull, their cars festooned with advertising for global companies like Vodafone, Total, and Pirelli, are expected to race.
Why the change of heart? A recommendation from a commissioner of FIA, global motor sports' governing body, whose view of recent events in Bahrain and the human rights situation there is starkly at odds with generally accepted reality. (Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy posted the FIA report and wrote about it yesterday).
FIA commissioner Carlos Gracia helpfully starts his report on his May 30 and 31 visit to Bahrain by recounting his meeting with the minister of tourism where he learned that "from a Cultural (sic) point of view, nothing has changed." He highlights a planned summer tourism promotion dubbed the "Victory of Joy."