Bahrain Grand Prix weekend
Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled (well, at first it was postponed, then reinstated, and then cancelled) due to the ongoing Bahraini uprising. The FIA have announced that this season’s Bahrain Grand Prix will take place as scheduled this coming weekend.
BBC News reports “Bahraini security forces have fired stun grenades at protesters outside a cultural exhibition in Manama”. The article also says:
On Wednesday, opposition supporters held a protest demanding Sunday’s Grand Prix also be called off, and calling for the immediate release of Mr Khawaja in Old Manama.
A Bahraini journalist, who asked not to be named for fear of arrest, told the BBC that there were chaotic scenes outside Bab al-Bahrain, which marks the entrance to the main souq.
It’s going to be an interesting weekend; hopefully the race will go off without incident but if people are willing to disrupt the Boat Race (which has far less worldwide coverage) then Formula One’s global presence is an obvious target.
McLaren have said they will increase security for their team, which happens at some other circuits too. Meanwhile BBC News reports that Jenson Button said: “I trust in the FIA that they know all the information so we have to trust in their decision. I don’t think they will ever want to put us at risk. They do a lot on safety for drivers.”
Nabeel Rajab [leader of the nation’s opposition Centre for Human Rights group] said: “Nobody will harm anybody, no-one in a Formula 1 team, nobody.
“They are angry at the sport, but it’s not personal, it’s about politics.”
…and yet, in another article…
Force India team members were forced to flee as petrol bombs were hurled over their vehicle on their way back from the Bahrain Grand Prix track.
The four men were said to be emotional, upset and angry with organisers that the race had been allowed to go ahead.
Bahrain circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani said: “They weren’t targeted. They just happened to be there.
“I think it’s unfortunate. It’s an issue of timing. It could happen in any place in the world really, getting caught up in a riot or a fight or anything.”