Doubts linger over Bahrain Formula 1 race date

Bernie Ecclestone says 'no signs' of cancelling race; teams said to expect it to be called off
Doubts linger over Bahrain Formula 1 race date
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 11 Apr 2012 06:08 PM

Uncertainty continued to reign on Wednesday over whether Formula 1 teams would compete in Bahrain on April 22.

While Bahrain's state news agency reported F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone as saying there were "no signs" of abandoning the race, the BBC said most teams expect it to be called off.

Ecclestone said in comments published by Bahrain News Agency that Formula 1 teams have "not shown any security worries".

He confirmed that the race organisers have been reassured by Bahraini officials "that all circumstances will be suitable to hold the race as scheduled".

He also said that he "couldn't deprive Bahrain from holding the race", adding it was up to the Bahraini side to cancel it.

However the BBC reported on Wednesday that a number of Formula 1 teams expect the Bahrain Grand Prix to be called off amid security concerns caused by civil unrest.

On Tuesday, Bahrain Grand Prix organisers said a campaign for it to be cancelled was being driven by "armchair observers" and "extremist groups".

The Bahrain International Circuit produced witness statements from foreign observers, including two members of the Lotus team, and the British ambassador to the Gulf kingdom in defence of the April 22 race.

It said a briefing by the Lotus representatives had been sent to all 12 team principals on April 5 and ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, where a final decision is expected.

Last year's race had to be cancelled due to the unrest after an initial postponement and the last race there was in 2010.

The circuit statement also quoted John Yates, a former assistant commissioner in the London Metropolitan police who now advises Bahrain's Interior Ministry, as saying policing would be low-key and discreet.

"There is nothing that in any way warrants for the race to be postponed," he added.

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