View Full Version : Bernie Ecclestone to let Bahrain decide on grand prix

20-02-2011, 04:26 PM
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says he will leave the decision on whether to hold next month's Bahrain Grand Prix to the country's crown prince.

The season-opening race is in doubt following unrest that has seen six people killed after police fired live rounds at protestors demanding reform.

Ecclestone told BBC Sport that crown prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah was best placed to make the call.

"He will decide whether it's safe for us to be there," Ecclestone said.

"I've no idea. I'm not there, so I don't know."

He added: "We won't advise people to go unless it's safe."

The crown prince is the son of the Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah and the country's heir apparent.

He has been charged to lead talks with opposition groups, who say they will not enter negotiations unless a series of demands are met.

Demonstrators have re-established a protest camp in Manama's central Pearl Square after security forces withdrew.

A protest camp had been cleared on Thursday with the deaths of four people, but protesters flocked to the square on Saturday after the military left.

In his capacity as deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the crown prince ordered the military to return to their barracks - one of the key demands of the opposition for any talks.

Opposition figures have also said they want political reforms that will lead to a constitutional monarchy.

The truth is, those countries need F1 more than F1 needs them

But some protesters have also called on the king to step down.

The BBC understands that the crown prince has made contact with representatives of all of the country's political parties, including the main Shia opposition parties in the Sunni-ruled Gulf state.

He also apologised for the deaths in an interview with CNN.

Ecclestone said a decision on whether the race on 13 March could go ahead would be made on Tuesday.

"Let's hope it'll be all right," he said.

The British Foreign Office - along with counterparts in many other Western countries - is advising against non-essential travel to Bahrain.

BBC Sport understands the warning is not enough to trigger clauses that would invalidate insurance for most F1 teams. For that, the travel advice would have to be not to travel there at all.
A woman protestor waves the Bahraini flag at riot police during demonstrations at Pearl Square in Manama
A protestor faces down riot police in Bahrain's Pearl Square

Ecclestone ruled out holding the race on that date in another location, saying there would not be time for alternative organisers to make the necessary arrangements.

He said Bahrain could be moved to another date later in the year if the race in March was called off.

His comments come as the Sunday Times reported that some teams would boycott the grand prix if it went ahead.

F1 insiders have told BBC Sport that the teams' contractual commitments to Ecclestone's Formula 1 Management company mean they would be obliged to attend the race if it is held.

Complicating the issue is that the final pre-season test is scheduled to be held at Bahrain's Sakhir track a week before the first race, from 3-6 March.

That would mean many F1 team members being in the country for more than two weeks at a time when the situation is changing by the day.

Teams have already discussed contingency plans amid widespread expectation that the Bahrain test will be cancelled and moved to either Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, Jerez or the Portimao track on the Portuguese Algarve.


20-02-2011, 05:21 PM
tbh i would feel uneasy if i was competing over there god knows what will happen,they could be used as hostages or something even worse .nope i wouldnt be there look what they done to that poor girl news reporter

20-02-2011, 05:48 PM
While F1 is a brilliant sport and would like it to start when it should peoples safety should come first. As nao said its just not safe out there at the moment. I would not want anyone to be hurt just to get a race underway that should not go ahead in the present climate in the country