• Bahrain unrest

Ecclestone will let Bahrain decide on grand prix

ESPNF1 Staff
February 20, 2011 « Red Bull is strongest - Alonso | »

Bernie Ecclestone will let the Crown Prince of Bahrain decide whether or not the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead.

Over the weekend Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah has been trying to open talks with the protestors in Manama and has withdrawn security forces from Pearl Square, which has been a focal point for conflict.

Ecclestone believes the Crown Prince is in a far better position to judge the situation on the ground and whether it is safe and appropriate to hold a grand prix. "He will know whether it's safe for us to be there," Ecclestone told BBC Sport . "I've no idea. I'm not there, so I don't know. I don't think it [the decision] will have anything to do with politics, he will decide whether or not it is safe for us to be there."

There are also financial reasons behind Ecclestone's reasoning. If the event is cancelled by the Bahrain authorities then there are far fewer financial implications for the sport.

BBC Sport is also reporting that Ecclestone has ruled out holding the race at another venue, but will consider returning to Bahrain at a later date if the race does not go ahead. The report added that a decision is expected on Tuesday. "Let's hope it'll be all right," Ecclestone said.

The UK and USA have advised against "non-essential" travel to Bahrain.

The protestors have set out conditions for talks with the Crown Prince and are pushing for the government to resign, political prisoners to be released and the deaths over the past week investigated.