Bernie Ecclestone maintains that he has no worries about the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix.
The curtain opening 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled due to civil unrest in the Kingdom during the so called Arab Spring. 2012’s race was met with much opposition and saw a protester shot dead – the death of whom has been pinned on state-backed Militia, by government opposition.
Force India personnel were also involved in a petrol bomb incident on the Wednesday before the Grand Prix on their return to their hotel. They were stopped in traffic when a petrol bomb, thrown at police, fell short and landed near the car. The four team members were uninjured but still returned to the UK while the team boycotted FP2 to ensure they were back at their hotel before nightfall.
On the day of the Grand Prix, a Channel 4 crew were travelling from the track to a small demonstration when they were spotted by Police and chased. Their driver, a Bahraini man, pulled the car over before police severely assaulted him and took him away. The Channel 4 crew and their guide, Dr. Ala’a Shehabi, a prominent human rights activist, were then taken to a prison and the crew were deported the following morning. Dr. Ala’a Shehabi and the Bahraini driver who had been feared dead were also released.
That was just 12 months ago yet Bernie Ecclestone feels there should be no worries about F1 travelling to Bahrain.
“I haven’t had any negative reports from anybody there. Ecclestone told Reuters. Somebody who actually lives there came to see me yesterday and said everything’s very normal.
I think they (State and Protesters) are talking now anyway – so I don’t think they’ll upset the talks by making protests. It didn’t help them last year, so if they had any brains they’d just get on with their talks.”