I've never been much of a car racing person let alone Formula 1 racing, but it's an extremely popular sporting event outside of the US. There's been a growing controversy over the race scheduled for Sunday and many have protested to force its cancellation. Bahrain's prince claims that the event is a "force for good" but others disagree. In an effort to chase big money in Middle East, Forumula 1 (and the possibly also the soccer World Cup) have put themselves in this position, siding with horribly repressive governments. If the event turns out to be a fiasco and they lose money, they only have themselves to blame. The Guardian:
The prime minister, David Cameron, responded: "Peaceful protest should be allowed to go ahead. But Bahrain is not Syria. There is a process of reform under way and this government backs that reform." The problem, Bahraini and foreign critics argue, is that key reforms recommended by a high-powered commission appointed by King Hamad Al Khalifa have not been implemented.Bahrain's claim to be a bastion of freedom in the Gulf was further tarnished when non-sports journalists were turned back at the airport or denied visas. Prince Salman said that was not his decision, hinting at rifts with hardliners including his uncle, who has been prime minister since independence from Britain in 1971.Last year's Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled in the wake of the unprecedented protests that followed the Pearl Revolution, the Sunni-led monarchy's short-lived experience of the Arab spring, at an estimated cost of $480m-$800m (£500m). Around 50 people have been killed in unrest since then.