By on March 16, 2015


Disclosure: I love Formula One. At least a dozen times every year, I inadvertently wake up my wife and dog at 4:30 in the morning (Pacific time) as I yelp wildly in the living room and watch the live race feed.

As a left-of-center F1 fan, three issues gnaw at me. One, the sport is perceived as elitist. One Percenters(tm) own the teams, pack the hospitality suites at races, and park their mega-yachts next to race tracks. Two, a lot of fuel is used to fly the cars, the equipment, and crews all over the world, from Singapore to Austin.

But what really irks me is the politics. Emerging economies, oftentimes with authoritarian regimes, pay tens of millions to have the privilege to host a race. And F1, as a business, has no problem taking the money.

Sometimes, the host country’s government is so brutal, a boycott is called. But do boycotts work? What is their purpose? Their goal? Where do you draw the line? How do you compare a violent regime that oppresses its small population with a large democracy that has violated the privacy rights of millions?

I have put together a list of all the 2015 venues and come up with reasons (some legitimate, some tongue-in-cheek) to boycott their races. Let us know in the comments whether you think boycotting is an empty gesture or a collective (and effective) statement against a universal wrong. And finally, is not boycotting a political statement as well?

Red Zone:


  • Gross gross polluter.
  • Oppression of Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.
  • Lack of press freedom.



  • Lack of LGBT rights.
  • Ukraine.
  • Assassination of political opponents and journalists.
  • Kuril Islands (if you are a Japanese nationalist with a long memory).

Yellow Zone:


  • Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim serving 5-year prison term…for sodomy. That’s one way of snuffing out dissent.

United States

  • Use of drones for extrajudicial killings in Yemen and Pakistan.
  • NSA eavesdropping.
  • Guantanamo.


  • Narco-violence everywhere.
  • Corruption everywhere.

Green Zone:


  • Asylum policy (directing boat people to Nauru and Papua New Guinea).
  • Draconian Bathurst racetrack policy, limiting each visitor to 24 cans of regular beer or 36 cans of light beer per day.
  • Daring to boot Bart Simpson, a minor.


  • Spanish Inquisition.


  • It’s a monarchy.


  • Justin Bieber.


  • I can’t find anything wrong with Austria.

Great Britain


  • The Greeks don’t seem to like Germans.
  • BMW’s insanely and needlessly complicated current model line-up.


  • Pro-Russian government.



  • Less-than-robust care of African boat people.



  • Has not properly apologized to China and Korea for World War II (if you are Chinese or Korean).


  • Rampant, uncontrolled gold mining along Brazil-French Guiana-Suriname borders.

Abu Dhabi/United Arab Emirates

As for me, I have boycotted the Bahrain and Russian Grand Prix. Once, I accidentally watched the Bahrain Grand Prix. I atoned myself by making a donation to Human Rights Watch.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

56 Comments on “Boycotting Every Race On the 2015 Formula One Calendar...”

  • avatar

    Bernie Ecclestone is enough to keep me away from F1.

  • avatar

    The Mercedes parade will bore everyone so much F1 will self boycott, it hard to call it racing when everyone is just a speed bump in the way of 2 silver cars. Even other teams have stopped showing because it costs too much to run around in last place all the time. Then again the sport didn’t die when a red or blue car won all the time.

    I boycott those places by not traveling to them. Where the race is broadcast from has little to do with anything as they could hold the races in the middle of nowhere (the Koren GP is a prime example of this) and its all the same as far as my TV is concerned.

    Oh… Austria gave us Arnold Schwarzenegger so they have that working against them.

  • avatar

    The blanket reason for me would be the slam dunk crowning of Lewis Hamilton with two championships in a row for Mercedes. I really pulled for him at first but his behavior in McLaren with Alonso and then last year with Rosberg was immature, brattish, and of course validated by UK centric F1 journalists because… xenophobia (never mind his bad behavior with Button which went completely under-reported, sorry Jenson).

    I did watch it though – Felipe Nasr!

  • avatar

    Formula One reminds me of Swiss watches, expensive and all BS inside.

  • avatar

    Agree re canada

  • avatar

    I don’t really watch anymore because it’s not much of a race so much as a parade of fast cars these days. When there is maybe 3-4 passes for the lead on track per year (less in some years), that’s not racing to me.

  • avatar

    I sense this thing going off the rails and into 400+ comment territory given the politics involved, but let me say this which I think cannot be too controversial: “no problem taking the money.” – this applies to every single left/center/right politician on earth, and until we figure out how to deal with it, the same old crap – or some type of new crap – will continue forever.
    to me, boycotts are very hard to pull off, better to go for some sort of PR assault.

  • avatar

    UAE doesn’t allow Israelis: Per their website “entering the UAE on an Israeli passport or applying for a UAE visa is not normally permitted”.

    If you have an Israeli stamp on your passport, it depends which emirate you are trying to enter:

    ” if you do have a evidence of a visit to Israel in your passport, try and enter the UAE in Dubai rather than other emirates. Abu Dhabi might be ok also, but Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah could be more difficult ”

    If they are feeling generous, they might let you pass through. Because that means you are leaving.

  • avatar

    The odd time I stumble home half-cut and find a live race on at 3 a.m. or whatever, invariably someone is already 45.392 seconds in the lead only 29 laps in.

    Bernie could throw Briggs & Stratton two-stoke engines in a chassis, brand it Formula One, and F1 douchebags would still hail this as the best motorsports series extant.

  • avatar

    I’m more worried about F1’s internal politics. European sports (ironically) make no effort at parity so it isn’t unusual that F1 protects its biggest teams, but they’re going too far. It’s currently difficult to even be a mid-tier team. There’s no way that’s good for the sport.

    All that money in it, and it isn’t going into making the show better.

  • avatar

    @ Jim Yu

    While I understand that this was a tongue in cheek story, I wonder:

    Are you a Russophobe, illiterate or just vain!?

    Read the damn Minsk Agreement!!! Nowhere it states that Russia is:
    a) part of the conflict in Ukraine,
    b) DPR and LPR want to separate from United Ukraine.

    “Whatever you might think of President Putin, whether you consider him the good or the bad guy, one thing that must be borne in mind is that he is the elected leader of his country and thanks to Western attempts to “oust” him, now perhaps the most popular leader Russia has ever had.
    I believe a major flaw in the plans of the West is that they do not understand the Russian psyche, these people have suffered most everything in their long history, they have endured the kind of hardships that would have made lesser people kneel and yield; these pitiful attempts by the West and its minions do not intimidate them, on the contrary, they drive them closer together, closing ranks behind their leadership. They see this as an outside attack on the Russian nation and just like they rallied behind perhaps the worst leader they ever had during the last war, they are now united behind Putin.
    Putin, good or bad, is for the Russian people to decide; it certainly is not the job of Obama, Merkel and the puppies Cameron and Hollande to choose who should govern the proud people of Russia.”

    Emilios Georgiades

    Apparently, it is now intolerant to be straight and proud in this upside down, politically correct society we live in.

    Or Anti-Semite, since you didn’t include US and Canada in the Red Zone?

    P.S. I’m not Russian nor ever lived in Russia, I’m just not a puppet, brainwashed by the media.

    P.P.S. Long live Formula 1!

    • 0 avatar

      Wow. We can of course argue till the cows come home who supplied DNR and LNR with Grad weapon systems and tanks, but there is no longer a dispute as to who occupied Crimea. Putin just made a movie for people like you where he explains how he did it all just a year ago. Just so we are clear, Putin is a war criminal.

      That famous mysterious Russian psyche is called Lying. Their lying is so obnoxious that they get away with it. Go find clips from February and March last year of Sergei Lavrov being all indignant that the West dared to suggest that the polite green men that took over Crimea were anything but the Russian military. And indeed, they were.

      As to Sochi GP, it was dull, it is a farce in the empty Olympic Village, it is publicity supporting a dictator and a war criminal. A perfect place for an F1 event.

      • 0 avatar

        War criminal? ROFL. I assume you’re just an ignorant American. (No offence to literate Americans). FYI, US invaded more countries in the past 50 years that anyone else with pretense of democracy! I can supply you with the list if you can’t find it yourself.

        Learn history! Crimea was a part of Russia until 1954 when it was gifted to Ukraine. It did not matter at the time, since it was one country – USSR. I know people from Crimea, they are more than happy to return to Russia, similar how West and East Germany was united after the fall of Berlin wall.

        I can also provide you with links where US and Canada supplying Ukraine with weapons to kill people of Eastern Ukraine. In fact, Russia is the only country who provided Eastern Ukraine with humanitarian aid (food and medicine) not military equipment (cough, Canada, cough, USA).

    • 0 avatar

      You seriously defended Dictator (not President) Putin, who next, ISIS?

    • 0 avatar

      Why is the “West” anti-Russian, Bimmer?

  • avatar

    The only big money sponsor I see still supporting F1 is Marlboro over at Ferrari, the immoral bastards. Otherwise, it’s not like Apple is at all interested in paying Ron Dennis anything for his worthless livery.

    Sponsors are also boycotters, strangely

  • avatar

    Here’s the challenge: if you really enjoy open wheel racing, your choices are either the Indycar series or Formula 1. While there’s plenty wrong with F1, it’s still better than the dumpster fire that is Indycar. It’s a damn shame.

  • avatar

    Worse that the Falklands war, Great Britain inflicted the Spice Girls on the world.

    Austria – Mozart Balls (yes, that’s a thing)

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I’ve been a Formula 1 fan since the 1960s. But I think my enthusiasm may have finally run its course. I watched this week’s Grand Prix in Australia and, despite the insistance of the U.S. broadcast team that it had been an exciting day, I thought it was a pretty boring race – yet again. The Mercedes cars could have lapped the entire field if they weren’t trying to save their engines.

    I am fully aware of the subtlties and nuances of F1. But the show simply isn’t very good anymore. Then, when Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on the podium to interview the top finishers, I realized the sport, in addition to becoming boring, had finally become a cartoon.

    The current crop of F1 drivers is quite good, even if many are spoiled little boys. But the cars (and the noises they make) are a yawn, the politics of the series are maddening and the entire circus looks as corrupt as the day is long – as if it’s the world’s most elaborate money-laundering scheme. I suspect I’ll be getting a lot more sleep on Sunday mornings going forward.

    I’d watch IndyCar, where the racing can be quite good at times. But frankly, I (and most other racing fans, apparently) have little interest in what’s become a triple-A, semi-spec series.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. What I don’t understand is that it would be pretty easy to fix. The stupid engine engine freeze makes no sense. It didn’t work with the V8s, but at least those where allowed to be ironed out before they were frozen. This new freeze makes no sense what so ever. If Ferrari, Renault and Honda could continuously improve their engines they might eventually catch up. Mercedes would eventually get to the point were their improvements would slow down, and others would start equaling their performance. Also, the lack of testing. Testing should be unlimited. The FIA thinks it cuts the spending of the bigger teams, to make the smaller teams more competitive. All the big teams spend as much money as they ever have, now just in different ways trying to substitute for testing. If the FIA wants to do something good for the sport, they need to simplify and reduce the aero. Increase mechanical grip with wider tires. Just watch passing come back. Also, get rid of DRS. Passing isn’t enjoyable when it’s not real. You now see drivers avoid passing in the corners, because it will be safer and easier at the end of the DRS zone.

      As far as boycotts for political reasons,that has nothing to do with any form of sport. Leave the politics out of it.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a bit of a building buzz about IndyCar and the new, engine manufacturer specific aero packages. The cars now look rather wild, along the lines of where Formula One was heading before the FIA decided to “clean up” the cars. I watched Australia and it was a snoozer – both figuratively and literally. IndyCar isn’t what it used to be (what racing series is these days without the bottomless pit of tobacco money they used to all enjoy?) but the driving talent is there and now the cars don’t look quite so cookie cutter. They may have dumbed themselves into some interest from some disenfranchised F1 fans.

      • 0 avatar

        I was a big CART fan and then thanks to all the stupidness had no choice but to become an IRL fan when CHAMP went away. The IRL is good stuff, it is actual racing where its hard to pick a winner. Its very much the opposite of F1 right now. The jury is still out on the aero kits, I feel Roger (Penske) is going to dominate again now because he has the money to work things out in the wind tunnel, so this idea could fall flat on its face. However Honda is going to get rich selling people all those little winglets that are sure to break off on every street race this year.

        The fix for F1 is simple (sorry this is my brother suggestion): award 1/2 points for qualifying and then reverse the grid, this forces the fastest car to the back of the line so they have to pass everyone else. Vettel pulled this off a few years ago and it was very entertaining to watch.

  • avatar

    A few million dead Congolese are not available to comment about Belgium.

    Austria? Someone once said that the greatest PR success of the second half of the 20th century was getting people to think that Hitler was German and Beethoven was Viennese.

    As for Russia and the Ukraine, neither one of those cultures was very kind to my own. That part of the world gave the lexicon the word “pogrom”. Is it possible to root against both sides?

    • 0 avatar

      America’s culture was not very kind to your own.
      Leo Frank? Ring a bell? …
      And I am not even (quite) mentioning other little peccadilloes like being the only nation-like entity in the world to wipe out an entire human race — the red race and build its empire on somebody else’s land.

      • 0 avatar

        “America’s culture was not very kind to your own.
        Leo Frank? Ring a bell? …”

        The fact that a Jew was lynched because it was expedient for local powers in a southern town to blame a Jew for a rape/murder rather than a black man who was the likely perp, hardly puts the U.S. on the same moral level as the Chmielnitzki massacres in the Ukraine in the 1640s (which killed about 250,000 Jews) or with state sanctioned pogroms in Tzarist Russia in the 19th century.

        The exchange of letters between Moses Seixas, the sexton of the synagogue in Newport, RI that invited George Washington to speak, and the first U.S. president make it very clear that Jews, and Americans, understood that the U.S. was going to be a different place for Jews. The U.S. was the first country in the world to treat Jews as equal citizens.

        “And I am not even (quite) mentioning other little peccadilloes like being the only nation-like entity in the world to wipe out an entire human race — the red race and build its empire on somebody else’s land.”

        What killed most North American “natives” when the Europeans arrived was a lack of resistance to viral diseases, not genocide. When Hernando DeSoto went up the Mississippi River in the 1500s, he recorded seeing hundreds of villages lining the river. Lewis & Clark were far up the Missouri before they first noticed signs of habitation.

        The people in North America when the Europeans arrived were mostly hunter-gatherers. While there was some agriculture, there certainly was no large scale animal husbandry, no raising livestock, no draught animals, so there were fewer vectors between viral hosts and humans.

        South America was a different story, since those cultures were more advanced and they had livestock. It’s thought that a native hemorrhagic fever decimated the South Americans, not smallpox.

        BTW, it’s thought that while the North American “natives” didn’t have many viral diseases, after 1492, a particularly virulent strain of syphilis started to spread in Europe.

        Oh, and don’t bother with the “smallpox infected blankets” canard. That presupposes a knowledge of the germ theory centuries before Pasteur. Early missionaries like Marquette found devastation in areas that had never seen a European. Voyageurs transmitted the germs to their trading partners who then carried the viruses back to their villages.

        Besides perpetuating a falsehood about American history, you must not know much about world history. Genocide is sadly too common. Empire building is even more common. Killing the men and raping the women were the status quo for human conquerors since the dawn of history. You think rape wasn’t a policy of Genghis Khan and his sons?

        For example, if we’re going to talk about wiping out groups of people, shall we discuss how your “red race”, presumably those “natives” who were here when Europeans started colonizing the Americas, treated the folks who were here before those “natives” arrived from Siberia? You see, the Siberian Americans had an advanced military technology. Archaeologists call it the “Clovis spearpoint”, first found in New Mexico. We know from DNA tests of settlement locations that before the Siberians came over via the land bridge in what is now the Bering Straights, there were people in the Americas from Europe, Polynesia, the Australians archipelago and possibly Africa. The Siberians, your “red race” wiped all of them out.

        Long before any Europeans (and as a Jew I’m not particularly disposed towards regarding European culture as free of criticism) arrived in the Americas there were wars of slavery and attempted extermination here. Sorry if I don’t subscribe to the noble and moral savage myth of Voltaire.

    • 0 avatar

      @ Jim Yu

      Japan – Has not properly apologized to China and Korea for World War II* (if you are Chinese or Korean).

      * You mean for skinning people alive, “experiments” that would make Mengele blush, using chemical and biological weapons, systematic rape and sexual slavery, and the deaths of millions of Chinese, Koreans, Philippinos, Burmese, and others? Or was this supposed to be one of the tongue in cheek entries?

      • 0 avatar

        We got our rocket scientists from Germany and our germ warfare scientists from Japan. About 250,000 Chinese were killed with cholera, deliberately, and one of the purposes of the “submarine aircraft carrier” that the Japanese were developing, that could launch a small plane, was to drop biological weapons on the U.S. west coast.

        I understand the Gramscian march through the institutions, and oikophobia, but it still surprises me when people regard the United States as the most evil country ever.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t think that it’s so much that people regard the US as the most evil country ever, but rather that we steadfastly refuse to acknowledge our failings as we go around telling the rest of the world that they don’t measure up. The hubris behind the notion of American exceptionalism is what sticks in the craw.

      • 0 avatar

        There’s no sense reasoning with Jim Yu, clearly he just parrots what George Soros & Jon Stewart tell him he’s supposed to be upset about.

        So Russia’s biggest issue is being anti LGBT (their laws are pretty similar to laws in America 25 years ago), but UAE gets a pass even though gay fornication is a crime there, punishable by death.

        Greattttttt. I’m real excited to read more of your political opinions, Jim. You’re a real credit to the site.

  • avatar

    To hell with the politics; I stopped watching F1 when DRS was introduced, because that’s when it ceased even pretending to be motorsport. If I want rubber band physics that give trailing cars an unfair advantage, I’ll play Daytona USA or Mario Kart.

    Ecclestone’s political and financial follies, while manifold, can’t hold a candle to the shame of DRS.

  • avatar

    I think a fair amount of the technology developed for F1 makes it to production cars in some form or other, so there is that benefit for us plebs.

  • avatar

    I do not have much to add, but this was a pretty good (and funny, at times) article.

    I watched F1 back in the VCR days but never really got too much into it.

  • avatar

    I get it’s tongue in cheek, but the Green Zone countries are far worse historically then some of the red zone ones. Come on now.

  • avatar

    My best friend finally got me into F-1 a couple seasons ago.
    Missed Ferrari`s domination but got to see Red Bull and now Mercedes dominate.
    Nothing like it anywhere…
    The tracks are interesting and the cars are soo damn fast!
    I was impressed with Vettel pulling off a podium in Australia.
    Mercedes wont have the dominant season they had last year. Not with Vettel,Alonso,Nasr,Massa..and you can never count out Button/Honda.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Some are taking this article a little to seriously.

    It is a tongue in cheek piece of humour. Only 24 can of full strength beer for Bathurst? That would only last until lucnch. If one was smart they would buy the 500ml European cans of beer instead of Australia’s little 375ml can of beer.

    The reality for F1 is the need to develop a formula that is both affordable and doable. For starters four engines?

    Maybe every engine that a manufacturer inadvertently destroys should go against the race team as a loss in points. The same goes for tires, fuel, etc. So the “winner” might actually lose points.

    Sort of like an exam. Everyone (most) strive to achieve 100%. Errors are made, ie, not enough research/study and person will only achieve 75%.

    This might mean the best overall vehicle that can best sit within the formula will gain the highest points. Assess all levels of the F1 and award a amalgamated total for a win or loss.

    This will improve the chances of the so called low budget teams with only $50-$100 million to spend.

    A workable formula is required for the future success of F1.

    Maybe EV F1 will take off, if you want to watch a 3 lap race around Melbourne.

  • avatar

    In that case, boycott everything.

    Will encouraging F1 to not visit these places help or hurt them? If we want them to take on our Western values, wouldn’t we want to promote things like F1 races in their lands? Heck, why not push American Football and NASCAR too? Here, have a big old slice of Apple Pie.

  • avatar


    The only problem I have with F1 is their reflexive fetish for banning new technologies under the pretense of “keeping the races competitive and safe.”

    When you see an F1 car, you don’t know if you’re looking at the true pinnacle of automotive design and engineering, or a vehicle that could be so much more, but is instead fashioned to navigate the canyons and hills of the rulebook.

    If they’re so concerned about competitiveness, why not just have one car design and issue each team a copy of that car, with no modifications allowed?

  • avatar

    I can see boycotting because you don’t like the way Bernie runs the show…but some of the other arguments make no sense. Virtually all televised racing(NASCAR and pro NHRA included) is done by 1% ers …that is the economics of racing. You should also boycott the environmental movement, who fly thousands of people in for environmental conferences and probably generate as much pollution as many races.

  • avatar

    LOC Formula 1 fan.

    What, is car racing now a part of the political continuum? Are people now supposed to decry F1 simply because of the internal politics of whichever state is hosting a given race? Apparently so.

    This is the very definition of PC, people with knotted eyebrows and a made-up rulebook glowering suspiciously over the way private gatherings are organized, and delivering unctuous reprimands if things don’t meet their high and so-mighty self-thought up standards? Even if it’s another country?

    Farcical, both the article and the series itself with its ridiculous technical rules.

  • avatar

    Justing Bieber FTW!

    (Probably too late, but you mistakenly listed Guantanamo as a negative.)

  • avatar

    “And finally, is not boycotting a political statement as well?”

    Compliance (especially in an extra curricular or sports activity) is rarely a political statement.

  • avatar

    The reason I won’t boycott F1 is NASCAR, where government motors Chevrolets win most of the races and championships, and where a driver who never wins a race all year can win the championship.

    Toyota & Ford need to take their billions elsewhere, and I’d like to see those $$$ spent on Formula One.

  • avatar

    There’s no way USA deserves to be ranked worse than the UAE, especially WRT to LGBTQ rights. Any sex outside of marriage, including all homosexual acts, are illegal. According to a Washington Post article, it is possible that federal law actually would allow for the death penalty for same sex partnerships (they said “lawyers in the country and other experts disagree on whether federal law proscribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex or only for rape”). HRW also lists torture (not debatable torture like the US but actual beating and electric shocks torture), no political freedoms, and other issues.

    As for me, I watch them all. I wish F1 didn’t race in countries like Russia (to me, the worst offender on the list) and would certainly support them doing to certain countries what was done to South Africa, but it’s not like my refusal to watch a sport that I love on DVR fast forwarding through commercials is going to hurt Bernie’s pocketbook or the pride of those hosting the race. If anything, they’d probably rather that f*ggots like me stay as far away as possible, lest our gayness contaminate the illustrious event.

  • avatar

    I quit watching F1 about a year ago. It had become quite boring and I’d become increasingly aware of the degree to which it is a staged entertainment show. Also the preponderance of sponsorship by industries that really aren’t doing much good for the planet.

    At the same time, tv networks began televising increasing amounts of professional bicycle racing. The bike races are vastly more complex than F1 (except for the technology), the sponsors are less offensive, it is far more of a person-to-person physical and mental competition, and watching the television coverage is like being a virtual tourist in the locations visited. It does have the same problem as F1 related to hosting races in countries of questionable politics.

    I look forward to seeing Formula e broadcasts.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • slavuta: 448 Athlete Cardiac Arrests, Serious Issues, 262 Dead, After COVID Shot And you know what, unlike some...
  • slavuta: “Actually, they do work” Pfizer CEO does not believe they do – “Three doses of...
  • slavuta: EBFlex you still call them “libs” while they are fascists. Libs would say – everyone does...
  • slavuta:
  • RHD: Grills are plastic, lightweight and cheap to manufacture. Metal is eliminated, it requires less paint and...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber