• Bahrain Grand Prix - FP2

Force India misses FP2 in order to leave circuit early

ESPNF1 Staff
April 20, 2012 « Changes made to Monaco layout | McLaren satisfied after FP1 »
Force India team principal talks with Bernie Ecclestone and circuit chariman Zayed Al-Zayani © Getty Images

Force India skipped the second practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix in order to allow its team members to leave the circuit before dark.

Two members of the team have already left the country after a petrol bomb landed near their hire van as they left the circuit on Wednesday night, although nobody was injured. The team insists it is committed to racing this weekend but is keen to make sure its members are comfortable.

Force India completed an impressive 52 laps between its two cars in first practice, including using the soft tyres, which are usually reserved for second practice.

"We are just going to look at the programme of what we are going to do now but will look at it for very limited running for FP2," deputy team principal Bob Fernley told Autosport. "We may not run, we may do half a session - whatever it is. We did a lot of work this morning as you saw, we did a lot of our work early on so we have the data we need now, so we can afford if necessary to miss out on FP2."

He told Sky Sports that it was an emotional decision and confirmed that the team still intended to take part in qualifying and the race.

"We are the only team that was affected by the incident that happened on Thursday night," Fernley added. "Logic and emotions don't necessarily tie up, and while it's logical that we can get back in the evenings and stuff like that, we've got a crew that's comfortable with our schedule and are committed to delivering a qualifying and a race programme. That's what we intend to do."

Once FP2 got underway it was clear that the team would not be heading out, with the official line from its Friday press release reading:

"For logistical reasons the team will run a rescheduled programme for the rest of the weekend, which will result in the team missing second practice to ensure the most competitive performance in FP3, qualifying and the race."

The team's decision comes on the back of predictions that protesting will ramp up this evening with large demonstrations planned in villages off the highway between the circuit and Manama.