Will continued violence in Bahrain force the cancellation of this year's race?

Yet more violence in Bahrain will further dent the island kingdom’s prospects of returning to the Formula 1 calendar next year, as pressure continues to build to have the race cancelled in the strife-torn country.

Last year’s pre-season test and the Grand Prix were cancelled due to ongoing anti-government protests, in which the government was later ruled to have used excessive force against the protestors.

The country was listed on the 2012 Formula 1 calendar, but hopes that it will actually occur have been dealt another blow, with the latest civilian casualty being a woman who was killed after she inhaled tear gas fired by Saudi Arabian-backed security forces during what it described as a peaceful political protest outside the capital, Manama.

The 55-year-old is the third civilian casualty since November, when anti-government protests began to escalate once again.

The entire uprising has seen dozens of citizens killed and thousands more injured or arrested – many have allegedly been tortured while incarcerated – since it began in February last year.

When asked recently if he would consider cancelling the race if the political situation did not ease, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone gave his usual head in the sand response was cautious.

“We’d have to give it some serious thought then,” he is quoted as saying by the Al Jazeera network.

“But we’ve been to Argentina when there’s been big dramas. There’s been dramas in Brazil. I think you can look anywhere now and it’s not all good.

“There obviously is a problem and I’m quite sure that eventually they’ll get to the bottom of it and sort it out.”

This year’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled for 20-22 April, and is the fourth round in the twenty-race championship season.

[Image via Car Advice]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.