• Bahrain Grand Prix

Jean Todt finally breaks cover over Bahrain

ESPNF1 Staff
April 16, 2012 « Bahrain pressure tells on Ecclestone and Todt | 'We lack performance, we know it' - Ferrari »
Usually happy to let others do the talking: Jean Todt watches Bernie Ecclestone face down the media in the Shanghai paddock © Press Association

Jean Todt, the under-fire FIA president, finally broke his long and conspicuous silence over the Bahrain controversy.

He has been roundly condemned for his failure to make any public pronouncement over the situation in Bahrain, and so unremarkable was his visit to Shanghai over thet weekend that most reporters believed he in fact left China on Saturday.

He then appeared on Sunday's grid, giving reluctantly short soundbites and congratulating his former Ferrari colleague Ross Brawn on Nico Rosberg's win. He finally had no choice but to comment on Bahrain.

Asked why the event is going ahead despite the ongoing controversy, he told German RTL television: "It has a date on the calendar and was always planned. There has been some controversy about it, but the FIA is a sports organisation. We are only interested in sport -- not politics.

"Our responsibility is that people can go there and have good and secure conditions. This will be the case. We have spoken in this regard with representatives of the government, with the embassies and with neighbouring countries, as well as with European foreign ministries.

"We have made an extension examination with a lot of checks. It is clear that the grand prix can go ahead. At the moment, a major golf tournament is going ahead in Bahrain. On one hand, there are unpleasant political aspects as well, but it's the same thing all over the world.

"On the other hand, we are a sport. We are confident that the next grand prix will go ahead just as successfully as this one here in China."

With that, Todt swept back to the airport and resumed his role as motorsport's lowest-of-profile leader.