By Claire Ferris-Lay
Bahrain denies media reports season-opener has been scrapped, decision still pending
The team behind the Bahrain Grand Prix has spoken out to quash media speculation that the March season-opening race has been scrapped amid ongoing unrest in the Gulf kingdom.
Media reports on Monday said Formula One powerbrokers had been told to step down their operations ahead of a formal announcement cancelling the race.
“The statement remains the same as before,” said a spokesperson for the Bahrain International Circuit. The team continues to monitor events and “would respond appropriately to any further developments.”
The season-opening race has been thrown into doubt in the wake of violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters that left six dead and several hundred wounded.
Arabian Business reported last week that protesters planned to target the F1 race – the biggest event on Bahrain’s sporting calendar - in a bid to draw attention to their cause.
The event boasts one of the biggest television audiences in the world, attracting an estimated 527 million people around the globe.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber became the first high-profile driver on Sunday to cast doubt on the event, questioning the appropriateness of racing just weeks after bloodshed in the Gulf state.
“When you hear of people losing their lives, this is a tragedy,” Red Bull driver Webber told The Telegraph after practice in Barcelona Sunday. “It’s probably not the best time to go there for a sporting event. They have bigger things, bigger priorities.”
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has said a decision whether to pull the opening race of the season would be made by the Gulf state’s Crown Prince by Tuesday.
“I haven't spoken to the Crown Prince this [Sunday] morning so I don't know what's happened there. If anybody's going to sort it out he's the guy to do it,” he told the BBC on Sunday.
“He would decide whether or not it's safe for us to be there. Let's wait until Tuesday and see if this one's going to take place before we decide what to do. Maybe we could postpone Bahrain or run it later in the year.”
Ecclestone also ruled out the chance of another promoter, such as Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, stepping in to host the race on short-notice.
“Well they're probably not ready, just to pop these things on just like that," he said. "Let's hope it will be all right as it's already scheduled."
I'm sure the world is holding it's breath...
the largest peace rally took place in the capital manama near grand mosque al fateh more than 300,000 people took part wishing peace and prosperity for BahrainThis is a clear message for outsiders not to hinder the peaceful country. "HANDS OFF " we are all Bahrainies with the grace of God we will not allow the outsiders to play the dirty game of
Divide & Rule
Long live the KING and Kingdom
I am sure everyone wishes the Bahrani people well, not sure which foreigners you describe as being trying to hinder your country though. My understanding was that Bernie Ecclestone was awaiting word from the Crown Prince?