After the GP2 Asia officials have decided, late yesterday, to call off the entire round at the Bahrain International Circuit due to violent clashes that have happened a night before in Manama (a city a few kilometers outside the racing complex), fears were raised about the safety of the F1 caravan for the upcoming test in Bahrain (March 3-6) and race (March 10-13).
While the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) will discuss on Friday the prospect of moving the group test to another venue, Ecclestone told the BBC that his contacts in the country have assured him “all is quiet” in Bahrain.
“Our people there say it's quiet, no problems,” said the F1 supremo. “I'm more hopeful today. I hope we don't have to do anything. Let's hope this all blows away.” He added that if the GP2 Asia officials had “been armed with Friday's information 24 hours ago, the GP2 Asia race at the Sakhir circuit probably would not have been called off,” according to the GMM news agency.
Regardless of the safety guarantees that Ecclestone might obtain for the race, there are several voices within the F1 paddock that suggest the Great Circus should stay away from the country for other reasons as well.
“It's not just about the safety of those involved, but being sensitive to what is going on in the country,” said Williams' chairman Adam Parr recently, while another high-ranked F1 team official warned that “a lot of people would slag us off if we went for supporting a regime that kills its own people.”