Bahrain chairman Zayed Al Zayani says 'scaremongering extremists' are the cause for alarm over the Sakhir event
|By Matt Beer||Tuesday, April 10th 2012, 15:33 GMT|
Bahrain Grand Prix chairman Zayed Al Zayani has blamed 'armchair observers' and 'scaremongering extremists' for creating alarm over the Sakhir event, which is due to go ahead on 22 April.
Amid increasing calls for Formula 1 not to race in the troubled Gulf state, the Sakhir venue issued a statement in which Al Zayani insisted that those with first-hand experience of conditions in Bahrain saw no reason for it to be called off for a second year.
"What has been happening is that armchair observers - who have not been sufficiently interested or committed to investigate the situation for themselves - have been driving this debate, at the expense of those neutral parties who have taken the trouble to investigate the situation at first hand," said Al Zayani.
"This, combined with the scaremongering tactics of certain small extremist groups on social networking sites, has created huge misconceptions about the current situation.
"We have welcomed a number of people to Bahrain over the last few weeks, who have all been able to find out for themselves that the Kingdom is ready to host Formula 1 next month. I therefore urge all stakeholders in the sport to listen to those with an informed, educated view of the situation and to form their views on the facts of the situation, as presented by neutral first-hand observers."
The statement quoted a report by two representatives of the Lotus F1 team who visited the circuit recently to assess the situation.
The extract from the Lotus report read: "Yes there is a need to keep the circuit and the teams secure and they are doing this and they feel very comfortable about the arrangements. If there is going to be protestation then it will be confined to peaceful protests - you will maybe see some banners being waved and maybe some tyres on fire but that is all that they expect.
"We came away from Bahrain feeling a lot more confident that everything is in hand and to be honest if it wasn't for a few more police you wouldn't know any difference from the last year we were there."
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone told BBC Sport that he had spoken to the Lotus representative and been reassured.
"One of the teams sent a person over there recently - and I've spoken to them today actually - and they said everything's perfect, there's no problem," said Ecclestone. "They've been to the circuit, they've been everywhere in Bahrain and they are very happy."
Although Ecclestone acknowledged that he 'could not force the teams' to take part in the Bahrain GP, he said on Tuesday that at present he saw no reason for the race not to happen.
"At this time now, there are no indications it won't go ahead," he said.
"It's really not up to me to decide whether it should go ahead or not. It's up to the people in Bahrain to decide. At this time, they are not cancelling the event, so presumably they are happy."