• Bahrain unrest

Bemusement at Ecclestone's 'insensitive' Bahrain comments

ESPNF1 Staff
February 18, 2011 « Liuzzi to test for HRT over weekend | »

Bernie Ecclestone has given an interview to the BBC in which he said he hoped the Bahrain Grand Prix would still go ahead and that a decision would be taken in "the middle of next week".

But Ecclestone has been slammed by many close to the sport for his comments which came across as, at best, insensitive given the major protests in Bahrain which have left a dozen people dead and hundreds more injured.

"I hope we don't have to do anything, I hope things will just carry on as normal," he said. "Obviously some people were killed, nobody's happy with that, I'm quite sure. Let's hope this all blows away. In these parts there's always been skirmishes. Perhaps it's a bit more than that."

"We don't know what the protesting is really about [but] we've never, ever, ever been involved in religion or politics. We don't make decisions based on those things."

Asked about the commercial implications of a cancellation, he said that had not been discussed. "It's not good because TV companies have scheduled to broadcast the race, so it's better than it happens than not."

Ecclestone confidant Bahrain g prix will happen as it's calmer (now they've shot people)
Twitter post from Channel 4's Alex Thomson

He also managed to belittle the GP2 Asia series, which cancelled a scheduled race in Bahrain this weekend because of the unrest. "As you know we pulled the GP2 race. It's the Asian series, so it's not terribly important, and it doesn't give a bad message to anybody, and we don't want to take any chances. And that was yesterday we decided to do that.

"Probably today if we had to make the decision on the information I've got, we wouldn't do that. But anyway it seems as if it's quiet, no big problems. I don't know if I was there or you were there we'd say there are problems, I've no idea. But that's what our people said. I'm more hopeful today than I was yesterday."