F1 teams 'want to postpone Bahrain race'

Team principal claims teams feel 'very uncomfortable' about going to Bahrain - report
F1 teams 'want to postpone Bahrain race'
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 09 Apr 2012 05:45 PM

Formula One teams are keen for the sport's governing body to postpone this month's Bahrain race amid continuing protests in the Gulf kingdom, it was reported on Monday.

The call comes because of increasing safety concerns, The UK's Guardian said.

A leading member of the 12 team principals, who declined to be named but said his views were representative, told the paper: "I feel very uncomfortable about going to Bahrain.

"If I'm brutally frank, the only way they can pull this race off without incident is to have a complete military lock-down there.

"And I think that would be unacceptable, both for Formula One and for Bahrain. But I don't see any other way they can do it."

He added: "We're all hoping the FIA calls it off. From a purely legal point of view, in terms of insurance and government advice, we are clear to go. But what we find worrying is that there are issues happening every day.

"I've sent out an email to our legal department to make sure all our employees are covered for acts of terrorism and civil disorder while travelling to, during and coming back from the Bahrain GP.

"It seems to me that while there has been some political progress in Bahrain they're not quite ready. The best thing would be for the race to be postponed until later in the year, or even cancelled."

Team sources told Reuters some had hedged their bets by routing personnel on return flights via Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Oman with alternative reservations for the last leg of the journey back from Shanghai. That would allow them to bypass Bahrain if the race was cancelled.

However, the chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, Zayed R Alzayani, said on Monday that holding the grand prix was essential to help the country move on.

"I don't know why we are being dragged into the politics of the event. We are a social event, we are a sports event and we would like it to stay that way," he told BBC radio in an interview.

The comments come days after former F1 world champion Damon Hill called on Formula 1 bosses to reconsider going ahead with this month's race.

The 1996 champion had previously supported the race after taking part in a fact-finding visit to Bahrain in December last year.

But he said he now felt a re-think was necessary for the event that was cancelled in 2011 following prolonged civil unrest that some reports claimed more than 40 lives.

Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 commercial rights holder, has previously insisted that the race will go ahead.

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.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.