F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has denied that his support of this year's Bahrain Grand Prix has anything to do with money.
In comments published by the UK's Telegraph, he said the estimated $40m race fee for April’s Bahrain race had already been banked the money and woule be retained even if the event was cancelled.
"They [the Bahrainis] will pay if there is no race," he was quoted as saying. "The money is in the bank already. So we're not going because we're going to get paid. That has nothing to do with it."
The Bahrain F1 race, which was cancelled last year due to civil unrest, has become a major talking point, with one group of UK peers last month calling for a boycott of the country.
Another All-Party group of MPs is keen for the race to go ahead, believing it can be a catalyst for change, the paper reported.
Ecclestone added: "We have a contract with them and we're respecting the contract... And I don't believe the people there would take a risk if they thought there was a risk."
The paper said Ecclestone did not clarify whether the money would have to be returned should Formula One cancel the race rather than the organisers.
Earlier this month, Egyptian-American human rights lawyer Cherif Bassiouni, who headed an independent commission of inquiry that last year found security forces had used excessive force to suppress protests and tortured detainees to extract confessions, endorsed the race going ahead.
He congratulated the Bahrain circuit organisers for the decision to hold the race under the slogan of 'UniF1ed - One Nation in Celebration".
"This is an important initiative which gives another opportunity for the People of Bahrain to come together again after all that has happened in the last year," he wrote in a letter copied to Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt.For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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