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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:00 pm 
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Always good to see that F1 likes to promote its sport in countries that hand out thrashings and stoning to women who've been raped.
Designed by Alex Wurz with various ex F1 drivers giving it a go recently.

Money, money, effing money. Bloody hell........

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/saudi-arabia-track-f1-2023/4655199/

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:17 pm 
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I think we have to accept at this point that it's more than a possibility.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:38 am 
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You can always rely on sporting organisations to take sport to countries that abuse human rights. Football world cup, Athletics World Championships, F1. All in the name of money.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:42 am 
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JN23 wrote:
You can always rely on sporting organisations to take sport to countries that abuse human rights. Football world cup, Athletics World Championships, F1. All in the name of money.


The problem is if you start boycotting certain countries it gives tacit approval to all those you don't. If you go to wherever the money is then you can still say you're apolitical. If you boycott Saudi on the grounds of human rights but don't China or Russia then you are saying their ongoing human rights issues are fine with you.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:02 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
JN23 wrote:
You can always rely on sporting organisations to take sport to countries that abuse human rights. Football world cup, Athletics World Championships, F1. All in the name of money.


The problem is if you start boycotting certain countries it gives tacit approval to all those you don't. If you go to wherever the money is then you can still say you're apolitical. If you boycott Saudi on the grounds of human rights but don't China or Russia then you are saying their ongoing human rights issues are fine with you.


Oh I know, this isn't a new problem.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:16 pm 
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I agree that the sport already visits places I think it shouldn't, but these should be being moved away from, not added to. It's normalising these countries issues and making them seem OK.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:57 pm 
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Asphalt_World wrote:
I agree that the sport already visits places I think it shouldn't, but these should be being moved away from, not added to. It's normalising these countries issues and making them seem OK.


In an ideal world I'd agree but if the sport starts having an opinion on things like this it opens a huge can of worms. If it ignores everything you can't accuse it fairly of showing approval of anything. You lose that when you start making moral judgements. Everything you don't stand against by you are seen to approve of with that strategy.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:18 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
I agree that the sport already visits places I think it shouldn't, but these should be being moved away from, not added to. It's normalising these countries issues and making them seem OK.


In an ideal world I'd agree but if the sport starts having an opinion on things like this it opens a huge can of worms. If it ignores everything you can't accuse it fairly of showing approval of anything. You lose that when you start making moral judgements. Everything you don't stand against by you are seen to approve of with that strategy.


I'm not after equality across nations, but punishing women simply because they are victims of rape!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:00 pm 
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Asphalt_World wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
I agree that the sport already visits places I think it shouldn't, but these should be being moved away from, not added to. It's normalising these countries issues and making them seem OK.


In an ideal world I'd agree but if the sport starts having an opinion on things like this it opens a huge can of worms. If it ignores everything you can't accuse it fairly of showing approval of anything. You lose that when you start making moral judgements. Everything you don't stand against by you are seen to approve of with that strategy.


I'm not after equality across nations, but punishing women simply because they are victims of rape!


Yeah it's bad. I'm not saying I don't find the legitimisation of the regime comfortable. I don't think the sport can start having opinions without putting itself in a very tricky position though.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:14 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
I agree that the sport already visits places I think it shouldn't, but these should be being moved away from, not added to. It's normalising these countries issues and making them seem OK.


In an ideal world I'd agree but if the sport starts having an opinion on things like this it opens a huge can of worms. If it ignores everything you can't accuse it fairly of showing approval of anything. You lose that when you start making moral judgements. Everything you don't stand against by you are seen to approve of with that strategy.


I'm not after equality across nations, but punishing women simply because they are victims of rape!


Yeah it's bad. I'm not saying I don't find the legitimisation of the regime comfortable. I don't think the sport can start having opinions without putting itself in a very tricky position though.


Apartheid in South Africa kept various sports away for many years.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:28 pm 
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Asphalt_World wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
I agree that the sport already visits places I think it shouldn't, but these should be being moved away from, not added to. It's normalising these countries issues and making them seem OK.


In an ideal world I'd agree but if the sport starts having an opinion on things like this it opens a huge can of worms. If it ignores everything you can't accuse it fairly of showing approval of anything. You lose that when you start making moral judgements. Everything you don't stand against by you are seen to approve of with that strategy.


I'm not after equality across nations, but punishing women simply because they are victims of rape!


Yeah it's bad. I'm not saying I don't find the legitimisation of the regime comfortable. I don't think the sport can start having opinions without putting itself in a very tricky position though.


Apartheid in South Africa kept various sports away for many years.


F1 went to South Africa for a time during apartheid. But yeah, I'm sure it was difficult for all sports that did chose to boycott.

As I say if an organisation starts to have an opinion on things they have to be very careful about what they are seen to approve of. You don't got to Saudi Arabia because of human rights but do go to China what does that say about your opinion on the issues there? Basically says you think it's acceptable.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:49 am 
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Asphalt_World wrote:
Always good to see that F1 likes to promote its sport in countries that hand out thrashings and stoning to women who've been raped.
Designed by Alex Wurz with various ex F1 drivers giving it a go recently.

Money, money, effing money. Bloody hell........

https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/saudi-arabia-track-f1-2023/4655199/

Well said. Couldn't agree more.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:09 am 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
I agree that the sport already visits places I think it shouldn't, but these should be being moved away from, not added to. It's normalising these countries issues and making them seem OK.


In an ideal world I'd agree but if the sport starts having an opinion on things like this it opens a huge can of worms. If it ignores everything you can't accuse it fairly of showing approval of anything. You lose that when you start making moral judgements. Everything you don't stand against by you are seen to approve of with that strategy.


Agreed Mikeyg, every few years we have the same conversation. Sports should stay out of politics. It doesn't mean they condone whatever is happening there. In addition, most countries have their own dirty laundry, should they stop racing everywhere?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:23 am 
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Quote:
Sports should stay out of politics.


Was waiting for that old chestnut to come up. Problem as soon as people start drawing arbitrary lines and forming groups of any kind it becomes politics by nature.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:15 am 
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Worldchampion wrote:
Quote:
Sports should stay out of politics.


Was waiting for that old chestnut to come up. Problem as soon as people start drawing arbitrary lines and forming groups of any kind it becomes politics by nature.


Not sure what you mean by that, but ok!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:33 pm 
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Let's head to North Korea then!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:16 am 
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Asphalt_World wrote:
Let's head to North Korea then!


That's not what is being said though, is it? We already have a race in an Islamic country, why would they stop a new one? That's what I think Mikeyg is saying, you can't say yes to one and no to another. Or not be bothered with social issues in other countries. So you either ignore all of them or stop racing in most places in the world.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:03 am 
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Siao7 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
Let's head to North Korea then!


That's not what is being said though, is it? We already have a race in an Islamic country, why would they stop a new one? That's what I think Mikeyg is saying, you can't say yes to one and no to another. Or not be bothered with social issues in other countries. So you either ignore all of them or stop racing in most places in the world.


Yes, this is pretty much what I'm saying.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:40 pm 
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Siao7 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
Let's head to North Korea then!


That's not what is being said though, is it? We already have a race in an Islamic country, why would they stop a new one? That's what I think Mikeyg is saying, you can't say yes to one and no to another. Or not be bothered with social issues in other countries. So you either ignore all of them or stop racing in most places in the world.


My point is that if you choose to remove sport from political situations, you are basically allowing racing in an country in the world regardless of how it runs itself.

Plus, no two Islamic countries are the same. Look at homosexuality laws across them. They vary hugely.

A line has to be drawn somewhere and for me, and I know it's only my opinion, Saudi Arabia is way across that line.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:51 pm 
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Asphalt_World wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
Let's head to North Korea then!


That's not what is being said though, is it? We already have a race in an Islamic country, why would they stop a new one? That's what I think Mikeyg is saying, you can't say yes to one and no to another. Or not be bothered with social issues in other countries. So you either ignore all of them or stop racing in most places in the world.


My point is that if you choose to remove sport from political situations, you are basically allowing racing in an country in the world regardless of how it runs itself.

Plus, no two Islamic countries are the same. Look at homosexuality laws across them. They vary hugely.

A line has to be drawn somewhere and for me, and I know it's only my opinion, Saudi Arabia is way across that line.


The issue is that when you draw lines everything that falls on the acceptable side of your line you can easily be seen to be effectively endorsing. Purely by the fact that you see other things as unacceptable.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:34 am 
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Asphalt_World wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
Asphalt_World wrote:
Let's head to North Korea then!


That's not what is being said though, is it? We already have a race in an Islamic country, why would they stop a new one? That's what I think Mikeyg is saying, you can't say yes to one and no to another. Or not be bothered with social issues in other countries. So you either ignore all of them or stop racing in most places in the world.


My point is that if you choose to remove sport from political situations, you are basically allowing racing in an country in the world regardless of how it runs itself.

Plus, no two Islamic countries are the same. Look at homosexuality laws across them. They vary hugely.

A line has to be drawn somewhere and for me, and I know it's only my opinion, Saudi Arabia is way across that line.


Look, I am completely in agreement with what you are saying regarding that, one would be crazy to condone what is happening in some countries.

But F1 is there to race and not to judge the politics. Sport is not SJW platform, I despise it when it is used like that. Do you want to see another 2006 Turkish GP?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:03 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
The issue is that when you draw lines everything that falls on the acceptable side of your line you can easily be seen to be effectively endorsing. Purely by the fact that you see other things as unacceptable.

I don't see why that has to be an issue, to be honest. It's a bit wishy-washy to say you can't draw a line at all because you might have to make a tough call on where to draw it. All you have to do is say that some things -- and you can tie it to some third party like human rights index etc. -- are too much and other things aren't. Saying the USA is okay and Saudi Arabia isn't doesn't mean you think the USA is a wonderful place without issues; it just means it doesn't rise to the level where it's sacrificed its right to participate in international events.

Siao7 wrote:
But F1 is there to race and not to judge the politics. Sport is not SJW platform, I despise it when it is used like that. Do you want to see another 2006 Turkish GP?

I feel like you're conveniently ignoring the fact that everything about the presence of F1 in a country like Saudi Arabia is political in the first place...

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:18 pm 
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Exediron wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
The issue is that when you draw lines everything that falls on the acceptable side of your line you can easily be seen to be effectively endorsing. Purely by the fact that you see other things as unacceptable.

I don't see why that has to be an issue, to be honest. It's a bit wishy-washy to say you can't draw a line at all because you might have to make a tough call on where to draw it. All you have to do is say that some things -- and you can tie it to some third party like human rights index etc. -- are too much and other things aren't. Saying the USA is okay and Saudi Arabia isn't doesn't mean you think the USA is a wonderful place without issues; it just means it doesn't rise to the level where it's sacrificed its right to participate in international events.

Siao7 wrote:
But F1 is there to race and not to judge the politics. Sport is not SJW platform, I despise it when it is used like that. Do you want to see another 2006 Turkish GP?

I feel like you're conveniently ignoring the fact that everything about the presence of F1 in a country like Saudi Arabia is political in the first place...


It's not so much that it's difficult to decide where to draw the line that is the issue it's that it looks like you are endorsing everything that falls to the right side of your line.

There's another risk that I haven't mentioned. The sport drawing lines about which issues are worth boycotting for and which are not is fine as long as your views are broadly in line with those taking such decisions. Less fine if not.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:42 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
It's not so much that it's difficult to decide where to draw the line that is the issue it's that it looks like you are endorsing everything that falls to the right side of your line.

Well, ultimately I just don't agree with that. All it means is that whatever issues are present haven't risen to the level of losing the right to host a Grand Prix. That's it. Losing the right to host international events should be fairly extreme -- like being sanctioned by the UN, if the UN was a more functional body -- and it doesn't mean that everyone who hasn't committed a serious infraction is somehow okay. It just means they aren't horrible.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:21 pm 
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Exediron wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
It's not so much that it's difficult to decide where to draw the line that is the issue it's that it looks like you are endorsing everything that falls to the right side of your line.

Well, ultimately I just don't agree with that. All it means is that whatever issues are present haven't risen to the level of losing the right to host a Grand Prix. That's it. Losing the right to host international events should be fairly extreme -- like being sanctioned by the UN, if the UN was a more functional body -- and it doesn't mean that everyone who hasn't committed a serious infraction is somehow okay. It just means they aren't horrible.


Just out of interest what sort of issues would you consider worthy of losing a grand prix for?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:51 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
Exediron wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
It's not so much that it's difficult to decide where to draw the line that is the issue it's that it looks like you are endorsing everything that falls to the right side of your line.

Well, ultimately I just don't agree with that. All it means is that whatever issues are present haven't risen to the level of losing the right to host a Grand Prix. That's it. Losing the right to host international events should be fairly extreme -- like being sanctioned by the UN, if the UN was a more functional body -- and it doesn't mean that everyone who hasn't committed a serious infraction is somehow okay. It just means they aren't horrible.

Just out of interest what sort of issues would you consider worthy of losing a grand prix for?

If I was making the call myself, probably something like major human rights crises, ongoing war crimes, genocide, etc. -- the sort of things that signal that the country has put itself far enough outside the international norm that they are, analogous to an individual, acting like a criminal country.

I don't really think Saudi Arabia would rise to that level at the moment, to be honest. But you'd need to fix it to some external standard to avoid having to make judgment calls each time.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:40 am 
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I have had lengthy experience of a few of the controversial venues on the F1 calendar.

I lived in Russia for 2 years - I worked in Azerbaijan for 4 months, China for 8 months, Saudi Arabia for 5 months. And…… I currently live in Abu Dhabi.
I can only say what I felt when I lived there, obviously being an outsider I didn’t get involved in the politics.

Russia, Azerbaijan and China – yeah they have their problems and I’m not sure how I’d feel about the politics of the country if I was an actual national of those countries – but as a westerner….. I didn’t feel any of these countries curtailed my freedoms and I didn’t need too be careful about anything. I could talk about what I wanted, dress how I wanted and generally go about life how I wanted. At surface level at least, these countries seems fine - although definitely still developing outside the wealthier areas. Parts of China particularly were still 3rd world.

Abu Dhabi you do need to be a bit careful. Generally….. don’t speak about politics or religion outside of the home and you are fine. You certainly do feel a bit curtailed in terms of freedoms, but not to a level that you cannot live with it. However, even here - the near slave labour treatment of lowly workers is quite hard to stomach - granted not as bad as Saudi, but still not great. I won't live here forever, but I will see out my contract.

However Saudi Arabia……….
If they didn’t have money - and keep friendly enough with the right countries in the international arena - they would be a pariah state.

I’m hypocritical as I went to this place for the exact same reason that F1 would be going – they paid top dollar. However, having been involved in infrastructure projects outside of the nice shiny ‘look at us, we aren’t so bad’ areas - which is all a facade….. it is the most backwards, unaccommodating, religious basket case of a place that I’ve ever been - that openly oppresses it's citizens - a sizable chunk of their native population live in apartheid and.... they don't even try to hide it. I have a serviced apartment and the quips I heard about the Vietnamese and Nepali maids who serviced our block were shocking, and unfortunately a small but significant proportion of wealthy Saudi men appear to be absolute scum bags, however nothing much ever gets written or done about it - and as lowly paid Christian/Hindu workers, these people basically have no rights, can be beaten and raped by the locals who employ them with minimal deterrent - having been there and seen first hand, I've no issue in believing this isn't particularly uncommon or isolated. The other places have their issues, but Saudi, as a Westerner it went beyond what I was willing to tolerate. Go visit the new and shiny resort areas of Riyadh or Dammam and you'd be forgiven for thinking 'this place isn't so bad' - I will never be back!

Eventually I left and went to Abu Dhabi, largely on moral grounds - the UAE has it's issues, but it is a couple of tiers above Saudi in terms of wheres its at.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:20 am 
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Exediron wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
Exediron wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
It's not so much that it's difficult to decide where to draw the line that is the issue it's that it looks like you are endorsing everything that falls to the right side of your line.

Well, ultimately I just don't agree with that. All it means is that whatever issues are present haven't risen to the level of losing the right to host a Grand Prix. That's it. Losing the right to host international events should be fairly extreme -- like being sanctioned by the UN, if the UN was a more functional body -- and it doesn't mean that everyone who hasn't committed a serious infraction is somehow okay. It just means they aren't horrible.

Just out of interest what sort of issues would you consider worthy of losing a grand prix for?

If I was making the call myself, probably something like major human rights crises, ongoing war crimes, genocide, etc. -- the sort of things that signal that the country has put itself far enough outside the international norm that they are, analogous to an individual, acting like a criminal country.

I don't really think Saudi Arabia would rise to that level at the moment, to be honest. But you'd need to fix it to some external standard to avoid having to make judgment calls each time.


:thumbup:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:29 am 
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Badgeronimous wrote:
I have had lengthy experience of a few of the controversial venues on the F1 calendar.

I lived in Russia for 2 years - I worked in Azerbaijan for 4 months, China for 8 months, Saudi Arabia for 5 months. And…… I currently live in Abu Dhabi.
I can only say what I felt when I lived there, obviously being an outsider I didn’t get involved in the politics.

Russia, Azerbaijan and China – yeah they have their problems and I’m not sure how I’d feel about the politics of the country if I was an actual national of those countries – but as a westerner….. I didn’t feel any of these countries curtailed my freedoms and I didn’t need too be careful about anything. I could talk about what I wanted, dress how I wanted and generally go about life how I wanted. At surface level at least, these countries seems fine - although definitely still developing outside the wealthier areas. Parts of China particularly were still 3rd world.

Abu Dhabi you do need to be a bit careful. Generally….. don’t speak about politics or religion outside of the home and you are fine. You certainly do feel a bit curtailed in terms of freedoms, but not to a level that you cannot live with it. However, even here - the near slave labour treatment of lowly workers is quite hard to stomach - granted not as bad as Saudi, but still not great. I won't live here forever, but I will see out my contract.

However Saudi Arabia……….
If they didn’t have money - and keep friendly enough with the right countries in the international arena - they would be a pariah state.

I’m hypocritical as I went to this place for the exact same reason that F1 would be going – they paid top dollar. However, having been involved in infrastructure projects outside of the nice shiny ‘look at us, we aren’t so bad’ areas - which is all a facade….. it is the most backwards, unaccommodating, religious basket case of a place that I’ve ever been - that openly oppresses it's citizens - a sizable chunk of their native population live in apartheid and.... they don't even try to hide it. I have a serviced apartment and the quips I heard about the Vietnamese and Nepali maids who serviced our block were shocking, and unfortunately a small but significant proportion of wealthy Saudi men appear to be absolute scum bags, however nothing much ever gets written or done about it - and as lowly paid Christian/Hindu workers, these people basically have no rights, can be beaten and raped by the locals who employ them with minimal deterrent - having been there and seen first hand, I've no issue in believing this isn't particularly uncommon or isolated. The other places have their issues, but Saudi, as a Westerner it went beyond what I was willing to tolerate. Go visit the new and shiny resort areas of Riyadh or Dammam and you'd be forgiven for thinking 'this place isn't so bad' - I will never be back!

Eventually I left and went to Abu Dhabi, largely on moral grounds - the UAE has it's issues, but it is a couple of tiers above Saudi in terms of wheres its at.


If you only read one post on this thread it has to be this one! It confirms the impression I had of the place. If F1 visits the place then it is condoning a regime that just abuses people if their race or religion differ from those with power and money. It legitimises that stance.

I can see some team members boycotting this race if it happens. Biggest question is would Lewis Hamilton go there? I suspect it is a step too far for him.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:34 am 
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Exediron wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
But F1 is there to race and not to judge the politics. Sport is not SJW platform, I despise it when it is used like that. Do you want to see another 2006 Turkish GP?

I feel like you're conveniently ignoring the fact that everything about the presence of F1 in a country like Saudi Arabia is political in the first place...

I'm sorry my friend, F1 is not a government nor a country. I think you have to change the word political with commercial and that sentence makes absolute sense.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:45 am 
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Exediron wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
Exediron wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
It's not so much that it's difficult to decide where to draw the line that is the issue it's that it looks like you are endorsing everything that falls to the right side of your line.

Well, ultimately I just don't agree with that. All it means is that whatever issues are present haven't risen to the level of losing the right to host a Grand Prix. That's it. Losing the right to host international events should be fairly extreme -- like being sanctioned by the UN, if the UN was a more functional body -- and it doesn't mean that everyone who hasn't committed a serious infraction is somehow okay. It just means they aren't horrible.

Just out of interest what sort of issues would you consider worthy of losing a grand prix for?

If I was making the call myself, probably something like major human rights crises, ongoing war crimes, genocide, etc. -- the sort of things that signal that the country has put itself far enough outside the international norm that they are, analogous to an individual, acting like a criminal country.

I don't really think Saudi Arabia would rise to that level at the moment, to be honest. But you'd need to fix it to some external standard to avoid having to make judgment calls each time.


Absolutely agree. There should be sports sanctions by a body like the UN, on the grounds you mentioned. But this pretty much supports what I was saying; this is a decision process that sport should not be involved with, rather an organisation like the UN.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:14 am 
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Option or Prime wrote:
Badgeronimous wrote:
I have had lengthy experience of a few of the controversial venues on the F1 calendar.

I lived in Russia for 2 years - I worked in Azerbaijan for 4 months, China for 8 months, Saudi Arabia for 5 months. And…… I currently live in Abu Dhabi.
I can only say what I felt when I lived there, obviously being an outsider I didn’t get involved in the politics.

Russia, Azerbaijan and China – yeah they have their problems and I’m not sure how I’d feel about the politics of the country if I was an actual national of those countries – but as a westerner….. I didn’t feel any of these countries curtailed my freedoms and I didn’t need too be careful about anything. I could talk about what I wanted, dress how I wanted and generally go about life how I wanted. At surface level at least, these countries seems fine - although definitely still developing outside the wealthier areas. Parts of China particularly were still 3rd world.

Abu Dhabi you do need to be a bit careful. Generally….. don’t speak about politics or religion outside of the home and you are fine. You certainly do feel a bit curtailed in terms of freedoms, but not to a level that you cannot live with it. However, even here - the near slave labour treatment of lowly workers is quite hard to stomach - granted not as bad as Saudi, but still not great. I won't live here forever, but I will see out my contract.

However Saudi Arabia……….
If they didn’t have money - and keep friendly enough with the right countries in the international arena - they would be a pariah state.

I’m hypocritical as I went to this place for the exact same reason that F1 would be going – they paid top dollar. However, having been involved in infrastructure projects outside of the nice shiny ‘look at us, we aren’t so bad’ areas - which is all a facade….. it is the most backwards, unaccommodating, religious basket case of a place that I’ve ever been - that openly oppresses it's citizens - a sizable chunk of their native population live in apartheid and.... they don't even try to hide it. I have a serviced apartment and the quips I heard about the Vietnamese and Nepali maids who serviced our block were shocking, and unfortunately a small but significant proportion of wealthy Saudi men appear to be absolute scum bags, however nothing much ever gets written or done about it - and as lowly paid Christian/Hindu workers, these people basically have no rights, can be beaten and raped by the locals who employ them with minimal deterrent - having been there and seen first hand, I've no issue in believing this isn't particularly uncommon or isolated. The other places have their issues, but Saudi, as a Westerner it went beyond what I was willing to tolerate. Go visit the new and shiny resort areas of Riyadh or Dammam and you'd be forgiven for thinking 'this place isn't so bad' - I will never be back!

Eventually I left and went to Abu Dhabi, largely on moral grounds - the UAE has it's issues, but it is a couple of tiers above Saudi in terms of wheres its at.


If you only read one post on this thread it has to be this one! It confirms the impression I had of the place. If F1 visits the place then it is condoning a regime that just abuses people if their race or religion differ from those with power and money. It legitimises that stance.

I can see some team members boycotting this race if it happens. Biggest question is would Lewis Hamilton go there? I suspect it is a step too far for him.


Not sure anyone who is Jewish and working in F1 would be allowed into the country. Certainly anyone Israeli or having openly visited Israel wouldn't be normally, although that would be sports washed over and a special exception made for F1.

I know people who had been to Israel were told to get new (blank) passports by the agency employing them before applying for a work visa. I've even heard of people with Jewish sounding names struggle with visas.

You'll find Westerners who are happy enough - there are Western compounds where you can live fairly western lives (even alcohol). I could tolerate being in these. I can see why people who's main experience is living in the western compounds would say 'Saudi isn't that bad' - it wasn't - but it's a sheltered life seeing what they want you to see.

However once out and about with my work - na, it wasn't a place for me. If it wasn't so wealthy and made efforts to keep the right friends... it would be a pariah state.

The only reason anyone goes to Saudi Arabia and stays for any length of time is the fact that for certain niche skills, they will pay the best rates anywhere in the world. They simply have to - it is a basket case of a place.

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Last edited by Badgeronimous on Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:06 am 
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Siao7 wrote:
Exediron wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
But F1 is there to race and not to judge the politics. Sport is not SJW platform, I despise it when it is used like that. Do you want to see another 2006 Turkish GP?

I feel like you're conveniently ignoring the fact that everything about the presence of F1 in a country like Saudi Arabia is political in the first place...

I'm sorry my friend, F1 is not a government nor a country. I think you have to change the word political with commercial and that sentence makes absolute sense.

From F1's side, it's commercial. But Saudi Arabia's reason to want them is political, and it is to legitimize the country.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 10:58 am 
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Exediron wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
Exediron wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
But F1 is there to race and not to judge the politics. Sport is not SJW platform, I despise it when it is used like that. Do you want to see another 2006 Turkish GP?

I feel like you're conveniently ignoring the fact that everything about the presence of F1 in a country like Saudi Arabia is political in the first place...

I'm sorry my friend, F1 is not a government nor a country. I think you have to change the word political with commercial and that sentence makes absolute sense.

From F1's side, it's commercial. But Saudi Arabia's reason to want them is political, and it is to legitimize the country.

Ok, I see what you mean. Well, yes, F1 is going there for the money, just as everyone else on that note, no reason to pretend otherwise. It sounds like a horrible place, at least for some of the people as Badgeronimous described it.

From SA's side, I agree that the country wanting to use the venue as a political platform should not be allowed (hence I mentioned Turkey '06), but this for me should be decided as you said by someone like the UN. Personally, if I was presiding the FIA I would turn the GP down


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:32 am 
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Siao7 wrote:
Exediron wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
Exediron wrote:
Siao7 wrote:
But F1 is there to race and not to judge the politics. Sport is not SJW platform, I despise it when it is used like that. Do you want to see another 2006 Turkish GP?

I feel like you're conveniently ignoring the fact that everything about the presence of F1 in a country like Saudi Arabia is political in the first place...

I'm sorry my friend, F1 is not a government nor a country. I think you have to change the word political with commercial and that sentence makes absolute sense.

From F1's side, it's commercial. But Saudi Arabia's reason to want them is political, and it is to legitimize the country.

Ok, I see what you mean. Well, yes, F1 is going there for the money, just as everyone else on that note, no reason to pretend otherwise. It sounds like a horrible place, at least for some of the people as Badgeronimous described it.

From SA's side, I agree that the country wanting to use the venue as a political platform should not be allowed (hence I mentioned Turkey '06), but this for me should be decided as you said by someone like the UN. Personally, if I was presiding the FIA I would turn the GP down


I don't think people understand how powerful a weapon sport saying no to the Arab world is.

If you have never lived in the Middle East, you need to re-calibrate your brain to how things are out here (suggest ask some questions and see what the Quora answers come back). You cannot understand the Middle East with a western brain without having spent time (at least some months) experiencing it. It wouldn't be like saying 'no' to Russia or China - where I doubt it would make a blind bit of difference.

Similar to how proponents of certain music style like to brag about the bling, cars, ho's, etc... The Arab world is obsessed with showing off and trying to appear rich and prestigious, but instead of gold chains - sky scrapers, amusement parks, sporting events. The Arab mentality is very much everything has a price and they can buy it, even if it is the fake plastic version. I genuinely am employed in a role where I feel that I am more to show off 'our company employs a western consultant', than employed to actually achieve anything - and this is nothing out of the ordinary for the region. Not a chance I would ever be delegated sufficient authority or responsibility to make the changes I would make if I had my way, and it is a very frustrating place to work if you have any soul.

Sport accepting these ludicrous sums to come to Saudi, on a social level, helps absolutely nobody - indeed the opposite, it legitimizes it. Where as the loss of face and pride in sport saying "no thank you", might actually have an effect to instill some change to the place. It will eventually happen, I've no doubt in the next 20-30yrs Saudi will go the way of the UAE - the younger millennial generation of Arabs reject a lot of what the older generation preaches and young Saudis definitely look across the Qatari and Emirati borders with envious eyes and the comparative liberalism and freedom - I'd expect rapid change may happen when they get to the ages of political influence.

Arabs want the prestige of the west - Qatar and the UAE are dragging themselves into modernity to achieve it, although still lagging behind much of the world - Saudi is still decades behind them, and no amount of money changes that.

You cannot compare China, Russia, Turkey, etc to Saudi. Saudi is a Somalia or Eritrea with enough money to buy a blind eye.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:55 am 
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I get the point about how taking a position and excluding some countries means you can be seen as legitimising other countries.

I don't see it that way because what is being said implicitly is anyone with principles has to himself achieve perfection in how he exercises those principles or they are not worth pursuing. Hey, none of us is perfect, but at least some of us try. I feel like F1 is not even trying or caring, they are chasing the money, and "being apolitical" is, in their case a convenient excuse.

How would I do it? Set your own ethical charter as an event. You can't change countries overnight, but as an organiser you can say something like "All people attending the event must be able to do so freely, without discrimination by gender, religion, etc to enter all public sections", etc. Once you have a set of standards, the country hosting the event has to comply if they want to host the event. If they feel they cannot, then F1 is not for their country.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:19 pm 
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Alex53 wrote:
How would I do it? Set your own ethical charter as an event. You can't change countries overnight, but as an organiser you can say something like "All people attending the event must be able to do so freely, without discrimination by gender, religion, etc to enter all public sections", etc. Once you have a set of standards, the country hosting the event has to comply if they want to host the event. If they feel they cannot, then F1 is not for their country.

I like this in principle, but your example won't affect Saudi Arabia. It will affect who CAN attend, but not who WILL.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:35 pm 
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Alex53 wrote:
I get the point about how taking a position and excluding some countries means you can be seen as legitimising other countries.

I don't see it that way because what is being said implicitly is anyone with principles has to himself achieve perfection in how he exercises those principles or they are not worth pursuing. Hey, none of us is perfect, but at least some of us try. I feel like F1 is not even trying or caring, they are chasing the money, and "being apolitical" is, in their case a convenient excuse.

How would I do it? Set your own ethical charter as an event. You can't change countries overnight, but as an organiser you can say something like "All people attending the event must be able to do so freely, without discrimination by gender, religion, etc to enter all public sections", etc. Once you have a set of standards, the country hosting the event has to comply if they want to host the event. If they feel they cannot, then F1 is not for their country.


Ok so with your example you would bar the USA? You can't get a visa to go there with certain passports.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:36 pm 
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mikeyg123 wrote:
Ok so with your example you would bar the USA? You can't get a visa to go there with certain passports.

To be perfectly honest (and slightly controversial), the United States is the most powerful rogue nation in the world. It ticks multiple boxes to at least some level on my scale. But like Saudi Arabia on steroids, it's far too powerful for anyone to actually call it out on how it acts.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:13 pm 
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Exediron wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
Ok so with your example you would bar the USA? You can't get a visa to go there with certain passports.

To be perfectly honest (and slightly controversial), the United States is the most powerful rogue nation in the world. It ticks multiple boxes to at least some level on my scale. But like Saudi Arabia on steroids, it's far too powerful for anyone to actually call it out on how it acts.


Which is highlights the issue at hand. No sport is going to boycott the US.


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