Bernie Ecclestone

Mr Bernie Ecclestone Photo Courtesy of Nick J Webb

“Just the same as has always been said it will take place and I am sure without any problems”: Bernie Ecclestone has reiterated that he has absolutely no concerns about the Bahrain Grand Prix; the race set to take place on the 22nd of April has been a hot topic since it was cancelled in 2011 and anti government protests have continued, albeit with fewer reports of violence and human rights abuses than at the height of tensions in February 2011.

 

In an interview yesterday, 28th of March, Bernie Ecclestone when asks stated that he had do doubts the race would go ahead and never had had any doubts. Though Mr Ecclestone’s Formula One Group could cancel the race the FIA, Race Organiserrs and Bahrain government all also have the power to call the race off, at the last minute if needed. Though teams and drivers unhappy with the race could also cause disruption Bernie has previously stated that the Teams want to race in Bahrain and several team principals including Christian Horner and Ross Brawn have backed Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA as being in the best position to make decisions on the race.

 

With questions raised about security concerns at the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this week Mr Ecclestone was asked what assurances he had been given about security, including personal security and security for the teams, answering “…I am sure whatever is necessary will be done”. He then went on to claim that it is only the press making concerns rather than the teams or people in Bahrain raising concerns; despite this organisers of the race this week said they would pay for all necessary insurance to make sure the race went ahead though this doesn’t appear to have been in response to any specific requests.

 

Bernie Ecclestone’s view of events in Bahrain certainly seems to be different to those of many who question whether the race should go ahead and Mr Ecclestone stated that he didn’t think demonstrators would use Formula One saying “if they did they would be a little bit silly as it shows you to the rest of the world”. Of course many believe that this kind of worldwide exposure is exactly what demonstrators want and a group of UK MPs actually backed the race going ahead so that it could shine a light on the real situation in Bahrain; perhaps then both sides, government and anti-government, have the potential to benefit from the Grand Prix going ahead.

 

Asked if Formula One could in fact help with reconciliation Mr Ecclestone answered “We would be very happy to do whatever, I don’t think we can help much but we are there”. Bernie Ecclestone’s final comments though are likely to lead to the most questions of whether he really has a grasp over what is happening and has happened in the country by stating his opinion that “It seems to me sort of more  democratic there than most places because people there can speak what they want and protest if they want to”; many will claim that the reports of torture and other human rights abuses against those who protested during 2011 show that this is clearly not the case and that though in 2012 there are less reports of such abuses they have not completely ceased.