The Bahraini government is now claiming it can host a Grand Prix, despite widespread claims of ongoing violence against opposition figures. The state-controlled media – of course – has denied this…
The Bahrain government has ordered an end to its state of emergency on 1 June, two weeks earlier than originally planned, and two days before the extended deadline for the FIA to make a final decision as to whether Formula 1 can make a return to the strife-torn country this year after its season-opening race was scrapped.
“The state of national safety is to be lifted by June 1 across the kingdom of Bahrain,” Bahrain’s King Hamad is quoted as saying in the state-controlled BNA news agency.
And with the FIA World Motor Sport Council set to meet in Barcelona just two days later to make its final decision on whether it would be prepared to reinstate the race, this would seem like a final roll of the dice for a ruling government that is desperate to it is “able to host international events like the Formula 1 race”.
The announcement was made at the same time as 21 opposition figures and political activists were made to go on trial for alleged crimes of treason, while editors of the Al-Wasat opposition newspaper are being tried for their alleged unethical coverage of the anti-government protests that started in February.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is taking a more measured approach despite circuit bosses claiming their readiness to host a Grand Prix.
The only solution to accommodate a rescheduled race on the island kingdom would be to stack it alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, meaning that the series’ organisers would have to bump the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix back by at least one week to allow for it.
“I think if they are happy to run the race and they are confident they can run the race, it means we have to change for somebody else,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying on Saturday, although he would not be drawn on if he had contacted the authorities from São Paulo to discuss a date change.
“We are happy to do it. But what we don’t want to do is change and then suddenly find that something unfortunately happens and we are in trouble [once again].”
[Original image via Sutton Images]
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