Renault’s Boullier says drivers happy to return to Gulf state, but ‘not at any price’
Formula One teams are keeping a wary eye on the situation in
Bahrain with the Gulf kingdom due to host a Grand Prix next April after this
year's was cancelled due to civil unrest.
"Obviously it's worrying when you hear the type of news
that's come out of Bahrain," said Christian Horner, principal of champions
Red Bull, at the Japanese Grand Prix.
"But I think that [Formula One supremo] Bernie
[Ecclestone] more than anybody probably is acutely aware of the situation there
and when the time is right for difficult decisions that have to be made he's
demonstrated that he's not afraid of making them."
The island's Shi'ite majority wants more political rights
and an end to what they say is discrimination by the Sunni-ruled monarchy that
put down a pro-democracy uprising this year.
Many Shi'ite areas are seeing almost nightly trouble with
the police and a teenager died from shotgun pellet wounds after clashes with
police on Thursday.
Around 30 people, mainly Shi'ites, died when the protest
movement erupted in February and there has been further tension after 20
doctors and medical staff were recently sentenced to jail terms of up to 15
years by a military court.
Bahrain is scheduled to host the fourth round of the
championship next April 22.
The race is the country's biggest and most prestigious
sporting event and would have been the season-opener this year, but was first
postponed and then cancelled after months of debate and a failed attempt to
Horner said there would be plenty of opportunity for the
governing FIA and Ecclestone to assess the viability of the race before the end
of the year.
"I think the right
decision was made this year, I'm sure if there is a difficult decision to make
again, I'm sure that decision won't be left so long next time," he added.
Renault team boss Eric Boullier said Bahrain should be given
as much time as possible, however.
"On the human side, it's not nice to see all these
problems," he said.
"We keep an eye on it. On the sport side, we want to be
back in Bahrain, clearly. We have not changed our position from last year.
"Bahrain is part of Formula One for many years, they
have invested in Formula One and we like to go there and it's part of the show
now. So we want to be back. But not at any price."