• Bahrain Grand Prix

Button places trust in FIA over Bahrain

ESPNF1 Staff
April 19, 2012 « Clashes hit Bahrain Formula One exhibit | Williams has 'turned the corner' »
The Kingdom of Bahrain-owned Mumtalakat Holding Company currently holds 50% of McLaren's shares © Sutton Images

Jenson Button says that he trusts the FIA to have made the right decision by proceeding with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

While protests against the staging of the race have escalated in villages around Manama this week, the Formula One paddock has so far enjoyed a trouble-free build-up at the track. A large police presence on the roads surrounding the circuit points to the threat of trouble, but when asked if he was concerned about safety this weekend Button - whose McLaren team is part-owned by the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company - replied: "No.

"I trust in the FIA that they know all the information - I don't personally - so we have to trust in their decision. I don't think they will want to put us at risk. They do a lot on safety for drivers, in terms of the circuits and the cars and what have you, and that's a priority for them. So I believe in their decision. If everything is straightforward and nothing happens, it's not even going to be in the back of my mind at all."

The leader of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, told journalists in Bahrain that the Formula One teams and media were in no danger, but admitted the opposition was angry that the sport was being used as a political tool by the current ruling family.

"Nobody will hurt them," Rajab said. "No group in Bahrain will ever harm you guys. Foreigners are respected amongst our people, especially western journalists because through you we can speak to the outside world. Nobody will harm anybody, no-one in a Formula One team, nobody. Yes, they are angry at the sport, but it's not personal, it's about politics

"We're protesting to show anger at Formula One for conducting the race here. Formula One here is known to be the sport of the repressive dictators. Why is Formula One helping them? Formula One is the sport of the ruling family, the sport of the crown prince, the sport of the son of the king who brought it here.

"People see Formula One as representing these dictators, and it is not good, not even for Formula One. And people are angry because the ruling elite have been isolated internationally. With Formula One they are making a PR campaign to get the Bahrain government out of this isolation. The ruling regimen should be punished and not rewarded with Formula One."

Despite FIA assurances, the MRS Porsche Supercup team has pulled out of the support race in Bahrain, citing security concerns.