F1 boss confirms Bahrain Grand Prix
Manama, February 16, 2012
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that the Bahrain Grand Prix would take place in April as scheduled - despite calls for it to be cancelled.
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed the event would take place in April as scheduled - despite calls for it to be cancelled.
'I spoke to somebody recently who has returned to Bahrain to live and he told me it was just like it was out there before the problems started,' he said.
Ecclestone told Britain's Guardian newspaper the fact that the first anniversary of anti-government protests on Tuesday had passed without major incident proved the situation was normal.
'I expected there was going to be a big uprising with the anniversary,' he said.
'But I think what happened, apparently, was that here were a lot of kids having a go at the police. I don't think it's anything serious at all. It doesn't change our position in any shape or form.'
'If the people in Bahrain [the government] say 'Look Bernie, it wouldn't be good for you to come over here', then I would think again. That is what they said last year.'
The Bahrain race is scheduled to go ahead between April 20 and 23 and the Bahrain International Circuit yesterday sent out media invitations to a Sunday Press conference to discuss this year's event.
'I spoke to somebody recently who has returned to Bahrain to live and he told me it was just like it was out there before the problems started,' said Mr Ecclestone in the report.
'Somebody did write to me to complain to me that her husband had been badly treated and wrongly arrested. I offered to go out there.
'That was six weeks ago and I haven't heard a word. I am in regular touch with the Bahrain government and they would tell me if we shouldn't be there.'
Motor sport's governing body the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has also backed the Bahrain race.
'The FIA, like many in the diplomatic community in the kingdom, the main political opposition, as well as the UK-Bahrain All-Party Parliamentary Group writing in the Times, believes the staging of a Grand Prix would be beneficial in bridging some of the difficulties Bahrain is experiencing,' a spokesman told the Guardian.
'The FIA is not in a position to influence political matters in a sovereign country such as Bahrain and we can only wish for a long-term peaceful solution. A number of reforms have been enacted, others are going through legislation. We warmly welcome this, as does the motor sport community which we represent.'
It was reported yesterday (February 15) a group of British MPs had rejected calls for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix to be cancelled.
A cross-party body, chaired by Conservative MP Conor Burns, say the event must be allowed to go ahead so the country can show the world it is serious about reforms.
Last year's Bahrain race, which was due to open the F1 season, was eventually cancelled after being postponed twice. - TradeArabia News Service