Date: 29th March 2012 at 10:03am
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For months Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has attempted to play down fears over the future of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 2011 Formula One World Championship was set to hold its curtain raiser in Bahrain, but after political unrest in the country and surrounding regions, the event was initially postponed before being dropped.

A year on and Formula One is scheduled to return in April, over the past few months there has been pressure from human rights campaigners and politicians in the United Kingdom to not hold the event, but F1 and Bernie in particular have remained defiant.

Members of the House of Lords have even expressed their desire to see the Formula One race cancelled for a second year and with tensions still high in the country, the vice president for Bahrain Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab has also told a Arabian Business website that they would be calling for a boycott.

This week, Ecclestone and a number of team principals met with Bahrain International Circuit chief executive Sheikh Salman bin Isa al-Khalifa and chairman Zayed R Alzayanifor for a lunch at the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall and after the meeting Ecclestone once again reiterated that he had no concerns over the race.

‘Of course the race is going to happen. No worries at all. What I don’t understand are the negative statements being made, people catching them and continuing them. They’re saying things they don’t understand. Bernie told Sky Sports.

‘People say to me ‘There’s not going to be a race.’ And I say ‘Well how do you know?’ And they tell me they saw or read something, but it’s all nonsense.

‘These people (the Bahrainis) were brave enough to start an event in that part of the world, and that’s it. We’ll be there as long as they want us.’


Last month there were violent clashes around the Bahrain capital of Manama to mark the first anniversary of pro-democracy protests.

Protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at the police, who used rubber bullets and tear gas to try and disperse the groups, while there have also been reports of violent attacks on the public.