Bahrain GP under threat due to political unrest

In recent weeks protests against the monarchy have escalated in the light of events in Tunisia and Egypt, and two people have already been killed as the authorities attempt to clamp down. This situation has now cast concerns over the F1 season opener in Bahrain as to whether it should be cancelled due to these political tensions in the state. Bernie Ecclestone has already raised his concerns that the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix could be used by the country's anti-government protesters to gain publicity for their cause after the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, a campaign group in support of reform, has warned that the grand prix could become a target. Vice president of Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Nabeel Rajab, told Arabian Business "For sure F1 is not going to be peaceful this time. They'll be lots of journalists, a lot of people looking and [the government] will react in a stupid manner as they did today and yesterday. And that will be bloody but will be more publicised. This will not stop, especially now when people [have] died. I don't think it's going to stop easily." With the last round of winter tests taking place in Bahrain from the 3rd March, this only gives F1 bosses a fortnight to decide on what to do. Ecclestone said "We are monitoring the situation very carefully and we know we will have to make a decision very quickly. It is a great shame because Bahrain have worked very hard to get their grand prix, but we have to be aware of what is going on there. We will be watching every day so that we can inform the teams as soon as possible when we know whether it is safe to go ahead." The security and safety of the teams, the media and spectators is of major importance, and a spokesperson for the FIA told the Associated Press: "There are realities on the ground that we need to accept. But the FIA is fully confident, with the Bahrain motor federation, that the situation will be resolved amicably." Image ©Andrew Hone

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