By Andy Sambidge
Bernie Ecclestone says he has no doubts about returning to protest-hit Gulf kingdom
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Wednesday he has no doubts about holding the Bahrain Grand Prix this year.
The race was cancelled last year because of civil unrest and there have been calls for the race to be axed again this year as regular protests take place in the Gulf kingdom.
Asked by BBC Sport if he had concerns about safety in Bahrain for himself and the teams, Ecclestone said: "Not at all. It's business as usual. The press should deal with the facts and not make up stories.”
He added: "I don't need any personal security but I'm sure whatever's necessary will be looked after."
Red Bull principal Christian Horner, whose team are reigning champions, McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, Mercedes chief executive Nick Fry, Frank Williams and Ecclestone all attended a media lunch hosted by Bahrain circuit officials and the country's ambassador to Britain.
Tyre supplier Pirelli and the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) were also represented in a turnout that left no doubt about their commitment to a race that activists would like to see cancelled.
Ecclestone's comments come a day after the president of Bahrain's automobile club Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifa said was "not worried at all" about the safety of those attending the race.
He said there were no plans to provide extra security other than what is normally needed over a Formula One weekend.
The Bahrain Grand Prix is due to be held on 22 April as the fourth round of the championship.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.