There was an element of publicity in Force India’s decision to sit out a practice session in Bahrain last month, Bernie Ecclestone has charged.
The F1 chief executive had already denied the Silverstone based team was deliberately ignored by F1’s television cameras in qualifying, a day after Force India skipped practice due to security fears.
“The protesters weren’t there to attack anybody,” Ecclestone told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt over lunch in London recently. “They were going to use the event to demonstrate and get their word out.”
He revealed that, when Force India expressed fears about travelling in Bahrain at night, he offered to accompany the team members without security personnel.
“We will drop you and I will come back alone in the car again with no escort,” Ecclestone said, recalling his conversation with the Silverstone based team. In contrast, he said he “wouldn’t have wanted to go into those streets when we had the problems in London” last year.
“Force India wanted people to write about them,” the 81-year-old charged.