• Bahrain Grand Prix

Ecclestone expects problem free Bahrain Grand Prix

ESPN Staff
April 5, 2013 « Button expects to 'reboot' season in China | The team should come first - Boullier »
Bernie Ecclestone and Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Isa Hamad Al Khalifa at last year's Bahrain Grand Prix © Press Association

Bernie Ecclestone has no concerns that this month's Bahrain Grand Prix will be targeted by anti-government protesters in the island kingdom.

Last year Formula One faced critcism as it decided to race in Bahrain despite pro-democracy demonstrators threatening to target the event to promote their cause. The grand prix went ahead without major disruption but only a year earlier in 2011 it had to be cancelled after uprisings among members of the Shi'ite majority against the ruling Sunni elite turned violent and resulted in tens of deaths.

This year there have been further reports of violent protests, while reconciliation talks between opposition parties and the government have failed to make any serious headway. Recent images from Bahrain showed evidence of anti-F1 sentiment in Shi'ite villages due to the grand prix's close links with the royal family, but Ecclestone is convinced the event will not be targeted by protestors.

"I haven't had any negative reports from anybody there," he told Reuters. "Somebody who actually lives there came to see me yesterday and said everything's very normal.

"I think they [both sides] are talking now anyway ... so I don't think they'll upset the talks by making protests. It didn't help them last year, so if they had any brains they'd just get on with their talks."

After missing the first two rounds of the season, Ecclestone confirmed he would make the Bahrain Grand Prix.

"Yes, yes, absolutely," he said. "Everything that is there is as far as we are concerned good. They do a very, very good job of the race, the whole support from the top is good. No problems."