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Mon 9 Apr 2012 05:45 PM

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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'
F1 teams 'want to postpone Bahrain race'
Bahrain has seen near daily protests since the start of the unrest in early 2011

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.

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Patrick 7 years ago

These anonomous people referred to in the article ought to study the facts and nature of the Bahraini people.

The Bahrainis are not people who will attack those not involved in the protests. They may think that not to have F1 here will further their cause, but there is no history of attacking those not involved in their fight.

Those causing the disturbances and burning tyres in the roads and rubbish skips are a tiny minority of the population even though a majority seek political change. The vast majority will look to do it step by step by orderly progress.

Revolution does not work. look at France and Russia to mention just two. Egypt is not yet sorted out and Libiya is far from a shining example of the armed struggle as the various factions involved in the fighting form militia and demand a greater say than the general population because they fought. That is not democracy.

Terence Lorens 7 years ago

In a country where the oppressed majority are fighting for political change at the risk of being killed, jailed or simply vanish, there is no reason to host an international event at this venue.

alex 7 years ago

Bahrain is still a peaceful country and we still live in peace. What happens is that few young boys get out and burn few tyre here are there and police try to drag them away. There is no worry at all as we live here still peacefully and the government is giving us enough security more than any other country. I don't see any reason to postpone or cancel the F1 as the I see few demonstration here are there during the week end. Country is secure and government is committed to the security concerns of all people here and we are very very safe.

Mike 7 years ago

You have no idea what you are talking about.

procan 7 years ago

@Alex ....... as a race fan I hope the race is a go as scheduled. But here's whats happening,western media is broadcasting news with video of more robust demonstrations in Bahrain than you are indicating. As you know theses F-1 race teams are for the most part westerners and more likely to trust there own media western media reports. They also are starting the season and must consider there image at the many western venues, and are concerned about profile in these countries. I do not think they are worried about there personal safety at all .

Um Ayman 7 years ago

You have no idea what you are talking about, we have international events happening in Bahrain on a daily basis with no issues whatsoever. We have had an international Air Show, we have had Andrea Bocelli, Julio Ingelsias, as part of the Arab Capital of Culture alongside events and concerts from all over the world. Bahrain is in the process of reform but there are thugs who are very vocal, who burn tyres but they are not the majority of the people in Bahrain. Nobody in Bahrain can "simply vanish" in this day and age. Get your facts straight, come and visit, as thousands of others do every day and enjoy the hospitality and welcome of Bahrain and the majority of its citizens.

His Excellency Dr Paul 7 years ago

Revolutions happen not as a first resort, but as a last resort because unpopular regimes turn to violence and oppression to hang on to power instead of popular support.

The violence would stop tomorrow if the government stood down and announced free and fair elections with international observers.

Maybe those wanting change are a minority, maybe they're not. But what is the problem with asking them? I suspect the reason the government turned to the police and army rather than the ballot box speaks volumes. I think you know this too.

Calvin Pinto 7 years ago

@Paul....Here is a little insight for you....this majority cheered for this regime a few ears ago when they were given freebies (jobs, houses, money etc.) by the government....now they want to be the more......can you tell me how this will benefit the country that they love along with all sections of their society including expats who form over 20 % of the population?

alex 7 years ago

I am an indian and I live in this country for many years. India is a democratic country and I don't find any value for myself as it is run by dirty politician. As a forigner I get all respect from all sectors of this country.

Unemployement is not the issue as these people don't want to work. We are looking for Bahraini staffs and struggling to find and who ever comes they demand unaffordable salaries and minimal productivity.

The government is doing their all best in doing best to their citizens. The offer housing, free medical, free education, free housing. Bear in mind this is a small county with minimum income and people expect everything free where all over world people struggle pay taxes.

Government is listening to the cryof the people. they are doing democratic changes, giving freedom, and security to all people.

Violence is not the way. Peaceful discussion. Why dont all people get together and pray for the good king and the government to give them wisdom from god to rule

Alan Rowell 7 years ago

So whenever a pariah country like Iran foments trouble whenever and wherever it wishes, major events in that country should be cancelled? This has nothing to do with majority or minority, it is about a weak insecure rogue country inciting trouble in an affluent successful and peaceful neighborhood.