As protests continue to gain in size,scope and perhaps intensity, questions are being raised in Montreal about the upcoming Formula One race in three weeks. Steve Cahn discussed this issue with F1B readers here last week and the commentary was interesting to say the least. Yes, the gravity of the situation between Bahrain and the student protests is certainly different in that Bahrain had the ultimate high stakes in the form of the loss of life and so far Canada is experiencing property damage, altercations with riot police and disruption of the public transportation.
The CBC Radio 1 network in Montreal has a very popular morning show called Daybreak with Mike Finnerty and it was a real honor to be on his show briefly to share my thoughts on the possible impact the protests could have on the American fan traveling to the race. The important part of this podcast and reason for mentioning it isn’t to hear my pie hole gab on about what impact it may have but to hear the gentleman before discuss his view of the altercations and impact it is having on the Just For Laughs Festival. The reason is that this large event venue is at play and just like any large gathering, Formula One may make a similarly good venue or vehicle to register the student protest through rioting or rampant disruption. Here is the podcast, give it a listen. I am on the show at the very end and against a hard break but as I mentioned, the important insight is made by Mr. Andy Nulman, president of the Just for Laughs festival, and not myself. Mr. Nullman is a resident and this may give F1 fans some insight as the situation on the ground.
Let’s discuss it. Are any F1B readers planning on going to the Canadian Grand Prix and if so, does the portests have you concerned over the possible disruption of public transit, rioting or possible violence?
Formula 1 is ignoring the issue completely and the F1 press isn’t mentioning it either. In context, the protests are a minor inconvenience compared the gravity of Bahrain but the disruption and discord may very well be enough to impact the race weekend and travelers to Montreal. I am certainly not attempting to sensationalize the situation or compare it to Bahrain but I do think the intensity and anger of these protests are getting to a boiling point and listening to Mike Finnerty interview several Canadians, it seems like a well-placed lit match could be the small spark that ignites a keg of black powder.