A view from the main grandstand at the Sakhir circuit, photo by Ange Embuldeniya

A view from the main grandstand at the Sakhir circuit, photo by Ange Embuldeniya

As cars take to the Sakhir track it feels a little sureal, we honestly never expected this race to go ahead and still have our doubts. With tensions around Manama running high and security stepped up ahead of practice any threat of violence around the circuit or realted to the race could still lead to a cancellation.

 

If security around the circuit clashes with protestors against the race and things get ugly can Formula One really continue and risk being left with blood on the hands of the FIA and in the eyes of the world the Formula One Group, Teams and of course sponsors?

 

Despite saying repeatedly that security wouldn’t be increased above levels for previous years today ahead of practice the race organisers have tightened security, though with so few fans expected to attend controlling matters inside shouldn’t be a problem; some suggested the race should be run behind closed doors with no spectators and that will almost be the case it is thought.

 

If things do flare up around the race it may be this afternoon(Friday) at 4 o clock lacal time when a protest is planned to take place at the race, this should be allowed to go ahead and the worst thing for Formula One would be a tough clamp down but of coutse the safery of all involved with the race must be paramount at all times and the balance could fall either way very easily of what is desired.

 

Force India of course have already beeen involved in an incident in Manama when a car carrying team personnel from their hotel got caught up in clashes betweeen Polic e and protestors and with firebombs feet away and teargas entering the vehicle their safety was at risk and it was only luck that no injury occurred.

 

Sponsors could still play a part if they risk damaging their brands by being in Bahrain and linked to deaths or injury to protesters. British MPs who called an early day motion for the race to be called off have urged sponsors to pull out of the event, meaning that cars if they do run may run without sponsorship. UBS, Gulf Air and DHL are the main sponsors with hoardings around the circuit and they may be the most visible companies to be involved with the race, Gulf Air are the title sponsor but are as a Bahraini company less likely to pull out.