Bernie Ecclestone to let Bahrain decide on grand prix

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Bernie Ecclestone to let Bahrain decide on grand prix

Post by AC on Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:48 am

Crown Prince to make Bahrain call
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says he will leave the decision on whether to hold next month's Bahrain Grand Prix to the country's Crown Prince.

The season-opening race is in doubt following unrest that has seen six people killed after police fired live rounds at protestors demanding reform.

Ecclestone told BBC Sport that Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah was best placed to make the call.

"He will decide whether it's safe for us to be there," Ecclestone said.

"I've no idea. I'm not there, so I don't know."

He added: "We won't advise people to go unless it's safe."

The Crown Prince is the son of the Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah and the country's heir apparent.

He is also the supreme commander of the country's defence force, which on Saturday was withdrawn from the focal point of the protests, the Pearl roundabout in the Gulf state's capital, Manama.

Protestors returned to the square on Saturday after riot police fired tear gas and shotgun rounds, injuring many, before leaving.

The Crown Prince has been charged with leading talks but the opposition has set conditions.

Opposition figures have also said they want political reforms that will lead to a constitutional monarchy.

But some protesters have also called on the king to step down.

The BBC understands that the Crown Prince has made contact with representatives of all of the country's political parties, including the main Shia opposition parties in the Sunni-ruled Gulf state.

Ecclestone said a decision on whether the race on 13 March could go ahead would be made on Tuesday.

"Let's hope it'll be all right," he said.

The British Foreign Office - along with counterparts in many other Western countries - is advising against non-essential travel to Bahrain.

But BBC Sport understands the warning is not enough to trigger clauses that would invalidate insurance for most F1 teams. For that, the travel advice would have to be not to travel there at all.

Ecclestone ruled out holding the race on that date in another location, saying there would not be time for alternative organisers to make the necessary arrangements.

He said Bahrain could be moved to another date later in the year if the race in March was called off.

His comments come as the Sunday Times reported that some teams would boycott the grand prix if it went ahead.

F1 insiders have told BBC Sport that the teams' contractual commitments to Ecclestone's Formula 1 Management company mean they would be obliged to attend the race if it is held.


Is it just me or does anyone else find this most odd. The last time I checked, the UK government had a department called the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, popularly known as the FCO. Within this department is a section known as the Travel Desk, that advises UK nationals on travel to foreign lands.

Is Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah an officer of the FCO? Why should he decide if it's safe for UK citizens to travel to Bahrain? Presumably, should the proverbial SHTF, the UK government would assume the responsibiity to evacuate its peoples, and not the good desert prince.

During the skirmishes in Egypt, I did not hear anyone say it was up to Mubarak to decide if it was safe for UK citizens to travel to Egypt. Is William Hague asleep or on a long vacation?

Perhaps the good Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah has a 'special' relationship with MI5/6?

It's really quite disgraceful that all Bernie cares about is the money. Quite substantial losses will be incurred if the GP does not take place. Is it not more important to support those poor people out there who are been mowed down by the police/army?

We do speak with forked tongues. We shout aloud from the rooftops for democracy, but only so along as it doesn't affect out arms sales, F1 Grand Prixs etc.
Tut, tut..........

Rant over.


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