A defiant Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that next weekend’s beleaguered Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead as planned unless local authorities petition the FIA to withdraw the event.
The F1 supremo also confirmed that he would be attending the meeting of F1 team principals tomorrow to hear their concerns about staging the race in the strife-torn country.
Concern has been steadily building over the safety of team figures in the island kingdom, as conflicting reports continue to emerge about the state of the country, which had its Grand Prix postponed and later cancelled from the 2011 calendar in the wake of ongoing anti-government violence.
“The race is on the calendar. Unless it gets withdrawn by the national sporting authority in the country, we will be there,” he told reporters in the F1 paddock at Shanghai ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
“I don’t think that the people in Bahrain have got anything against F1 team people or journalists,” he added, when asked if F1 figures could be targeted by protestors during the event.
“Apparently people there are carrying out their business as normal, I’m told. I’ve not been there. A guy from Lotus went over there to check things out and he said that everything is perfect. It’s business as usual.”
However, the series’ ringmaster warned that Formula 1 should not concern itself with the politics of any country it races in.
“When we enter a country in the normal way, we don’t deal with the religion or the politics,” he added.
Jean Todt, president of the FIA – which has remained noticeably silent on matters concerning Bahrain – would not be attending tomorrow’s meeting, despite having been in Shanghai earlier this week.