F1 unmoved by Bahrain GP threats

© Neil Frankland, AP, 19 March 2012
© AP Images

Formula 1 remains committed to going ahead with next month's Bahrain Grand Prix, despite continuing civil unrest in the Gulf nation.

Last year's race was called off over security fears as the country was riven by anti-government demonstrations and violence. Rallies and violence between civilian protesters and government security forces continue.

A Bahraini protest group, Coalition Youth of the 14 Feb Revolution, have written to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone demanding that the April 22 GP be cancelled.

The letter, dated Feb. 28 but just made public, said "organizing an F1 race in Bahrain at a time when children are being killed in the streets at the hands of the regime mercenaries will haunt the F1 reputation forever and will imprint it with the image of death and human rights violations."

"Mr Ecclestone, we are very disappointed at your recent statement confirming the organization of the F1 race in Bahrain, notwithstanding the prevalent political unrest, insecurity, widespread violations of the most basic human rights and the atrocious crimes perpetrated every day against the people of Bahrain," the letter said.

"We demand you reverse your decision and call off the F1 race in Bahrain, else wise we will have no choice but to do everything in our capacity to ensure the failure of the race rather than see it stained with blood and shame."

Ecclestone has repeatedly said the race will go ahead.

"There are always people threatening. I don't believe the (organizers) would take a risk if they thought there was a risk. Let's see," he was quoted as saying in England's Daily Telegraph newspaper Saturday.

"They (the protesters) don't need to resort to violence," he explained. "All they need to do is stand on the road on the way to the circuit, with placards, and they would get their message out there. Nobody's going to shoot them."

F1's leading have also said they are ready to travel to the country.

"We want to go there," Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn said Friday ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. "It's been a great place to race in the past. It has its troubles, we hope those troubles are largely behind them and if racing can help bring things together then we should try to do it."

 

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