F1 Teams Expect Bahrain Grand Prix To Be Cancelled For Second Consecutive Year
A number of F1 teams "expect the Bahrain Grand Prix to be called off amid security concerns caused by civil unrest," according to Andrew Benson of the BBC. F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone said yesterday that "no teams had expressed concerns to him," but he "suggested the race's contract may not be renewed." The F1 teams are "due to meet Ecclestone in China over the coming days." Unlike last year, when the race was at first postponed then cancelled, Bahraini authorities "are in no mood to cancel the race themselves, so the decision rests with the FIA this time" (BBC.co.uk, 4/11). In London, Tom Cary writes Ecclestone "was first to absolve himself of responsibility, saying that teams were free to attend or not as they saw fit." Ecclestone said, "We can't force teams to take part. They would be in breach of contracts with (F1) if they didn't, but we would deal with that matter as a separate issue" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/11). The GUARDIAN's Giles Richards notes the Formula One Teams' Association has responded to Ecclestone's comments by "unequivocally stating that it was a decision for" the FIA governing body. The Bahrain Int'l Circuit "issued a statement in which they quoted various sources in a bid to prove the venue was safe," including a report "by two representatives of the Lotus team who had recently visited Bahrain to assess the situation and implied that it was safe for the race to take place." Richards: "That the team had commissioned a report into potential danger and that it was distributed among all the teams suggests they are all fully aware that the only way they can pull out without incurring huge financial costs is on a safety basis" (GUARDIAN, 4/11). In London, Sam Munnery writes BIC Chair Zayed Al Zayani "has blamed 'scaremongering' for heightening the doubts surrounding next weekend's grand prix on the island." Al Zayani said, "We have welcomed a number of people to Bahrain over the last few weeks, who have all been able to find out for themselves that the Kingdom is ready to host Formula One next month." He added, "I therefore urge all stakeholders in the sport to listen to those with an informed, educated view of the situation and to form their views on the facts of the situation, as presented by neutral first-hand observers" (LONDON TIMES, 4/11).