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Thu 19 Apr 2012 03:39 PM

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Grand Prix team caught up in Bahrain unrest

F1's Sahara Force India team says mechanics held up by protests on island

Grand Prix team caught up in Bahrain unrest

Members of a Formula One race team were this afternoon caught up in violent unrest in Bahrain, just days before the Grand Prix is set to take place in the Gulf state.

Sahara Force India confirmed that a van containing mechanics working for the team was held up during a demonstration while travelling from the F1 race circuit to the hotel where they were staying.

Reports said that a petrol bomb exploded near to the team's vehicle, although it is understood that Force India was not being targeted during protests.

 "One of our vehicles was momentarily caught up in disruptions on the way back from the circuit last night," a statement released by Force India read.

"The van was not the target but it arrived at the scene on the main highway between the circuit and the city centre.

"Within minutes the traffic continued moving and the van returned to the hotel and everyone was OK."

A Force India employee has requested to return to the UK before the Grand Prix, which takes place April 20 to 22.

There has been major discussion over whether the F1 should go ahead at all in light of the Arab Spring unrest that has swept across Bahrain over the past year or so.

Yesterday, former assistant UK Metropolitan Police commissioner John Yates, who is heading up security for the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, said security at the event cannot be guaranteed.

“People say can we guarantee security. Of course we can't guarantee security. I'd be a fool to sit here and say that,” he told the UK's The Guardian newspaper.

“Is it possible there might be an incursion on the track? Of course there is. It's an open event. Can you stop some idiot running onto the track? There have been other incidents of track incursions,” he added.

Yates said that police would use live ammunition during the event if necessary.

Nearly half of ArabianBusiness.com readers (49 percent) said they were strongly opposed to this year’s race being allowed to go ahead, according to an online poll. Nearly one third (32 percent) said the race should not be called off.

Just six percent of those polled said they somewhat agreed with the FIA’s decision to allow the race to go ahead as the security of participants and spectators cannot be guaranteed while 13 percent said security would remain a major concern.

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Dunhill 7 years ago

Worried about a van carrying technicians caught up in "unrest" but not concerned about an entire nation rejecting the dictatorship facing unarmed peaceful citizens with bullets, poison gases, arrests and torture!

Hennie Ludick 7 years ago

Please bring the F1 Grand Prix’s annual calendar slot scheduled for Bahrain to South Africa. There is a massive F1 support here and many venues suitable to host this event. The event will be supported and appreciated 100% and if I’m not mistaken, a South African F1 Grand Prix event will also be a cheaper event for the international audience to travel to. Cape Town will host this event with true love for the sport.

Heinrich Klier 7 years ago

I agree 100 per cent!

Hennie Ludick 7 years ago

@Dunhill,
If your child asks you if they can go and sleep over at a friend’s house, and when you go drop them off you see the friends parents fighting, will you still leave your child there for the night.
I wouldn't. My point is the F1 GP is a visitor that will be exposed to violence.
The unrest in Bahrain was also an issue in 2011, and it is a domestic issue in that country. No one is turning a blind eye on the people in Bahrain and they could have made visitors more concerned about their situation by handing out SOS fliers or handcuffing themselves to lampposts. Whey use petrol bombs?

Mohammed 7 years ago

What a misleading writeup my dear!!! Shame on you.

There are only some people in a particular community who are aligned towards our enemy Iran and creating mischief in Bahrain. You are calling them unarmed peaceful citizens when these same people are using petrol bombs and weapons injuring police, attacking expats and creating chaos!!! This small group of people are miscreants heavily inlfuenced by Iran and are trying to destroy this lovely country.

You are writing usage of bullets but the fact is nothing has been used so far except tear gas and media is proof for that.

Poison gases, oh my god, what a devil you are!!! Its a blatant lie and media is proof for that...

Arrests and torture!!!! we only see police getting heavily injured and killed in rioting. Police are going through a painful phase in Bahrain and are patiently doing their jobs protecting law and order amidst this chaos.

You write in a divisive way but Bahrain govt was/is trying its best to create unity.

Calvin Pinto 7 years ago

@Dunhill,

Buddy, Why dont you go to Bahrain and personally check the situation out, speak to the locals instead of sitting in your desk comfortably in the UAE ?