Teams cannot be forced to compete in the Bahrain Grand Prix if they don’t want to go, Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone told the London Times Tuesday, highlighting security concerns amid the ongoing political unrest.
“We’ve no way we can force people to go there” Ecclestone was quoted as saying. “We can’t say, ‘You’ve got to go’. They would be in breach of their agreement with us if they didn’t go, but it doesn’t help.”
The Bahrain GP is scheduled for April 22, after the event was cancelled last year because of the protests and violence. Since February 2011, the kingdom has witnessed Shiite—led demonstrations against the Sunni Muslim rulers.
A Bahraini Interior Ministry adviser has said that security would be “low key and discreet” and there were contingency plans to deal with disruptions caused by demonstrators, Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News reported Tuesday.
Officials dismissed reports that the event could be cancelled because of the political situation and assured security for team members, the report said.
Bahrain International Circuit chief executive Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al—Khalifa told the Gulf Daily News: “The race is going ahead — there is no doubt about that. We are ready and there is a plan in place to ensure the safety of the teams, officials and fans.” Ecclestone said that only the Bahraini regime or the International Automobile Federation (FIA) could cancel the GP.
He said the issue would be discussed by him, FIA president Jean Todt and the teams on the sidelines of the Chinese Grand Prix at the weekend.
Keywords: Bahrain Grand Prix