Inch by inch, Formula 1 could be heading towards the only sensible option of cancelling April’s Bahrain Grand Prix, as concerns continue to mount over the safety of team members given the country’s current political climate.
And now, a Formula 1 team principal – albeit quoting anonymously – has spoken out in the hope that the April 22 race will be cancelled.
Speaking with British broadsheet newspaper The Guardian, the team principal – whose views are described in the article as “representative” of other leading figures in the sport – he has called for an urgent rethink of the event going ahead.
We’ll let his quotes do the talking…
“I feel very uncomfortable about going to Bahrain,” he is quoted as saying.
“If I’m brutally frank, the only way they can pull this race off without incident is to have a complete military lock-down there. And I think that would be unacceptable, both for F1 and for Bahrain. But I don’t see any other way they can do it.
“We’re all hoping the FIA calls it off. From a purely legal point of view, in terms of insurance and government advice, we are clear to go. But what we find worrying is that there are issues happening every day.
“I saw an interview with a human rights activist on BBC World, and he said that there would be demonstrations and that they would be peaceful. But that is the way all demonstrations start off.
“Other team principals are going through the same worries. I spent all last week making sure the insurances are right so I can reassure the teams. I’ve sent out an email to our legal department to make sure all our employees are covered for acts of terrorism and civil disorder while travelling to, during and coming back from the Bahrain GP.
“We have a lot of people. Our first and foremost priority has to be our employees. And their families. That’s what concerns us most, even though we’ve not said anything [publically] about it. It seems to me that while there has been some political progress in Bahrain they’re not quite ready. The best thing would be for the race to be postponed until later in the year, or even cancelled.
“But that is a decision that must be made by the FIA, FOM [Formula One Management] and the commercial rights holder.”
His comments were similar to those of former World Champion Damon Hill, the only F1 figure to publically go on the record and voice his concerns.
It is understood that the team principals will hold crisis talks during this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, where a vote could be cast on whether they will boycott the event.
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