At least three television broadcasters will not travel to next week’s controversial Bahrain grand prix.
Blick newspaper, as well as Bild and London’s Times, are reporting that the host broadcasters for Finland, Japan and Germany (Sky Deutschland) will not be sending personnel to the troubled island Kingdom. The broadcasters usually report directly from the twenty grand prix locations, but have pulled out of Bahrain due to security fears.
“Grands prix attract so much attention internationally that the possibility of problems is too high,” said a spokesman for Finland’s MTV3. “It is too bad because Kimi Raikkonen’s return has dramatically increased the interest in formula one. But we don’t want to go at the expense of safety.”
Former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi, however, played down the risks. The Swiss, who has lived in Bahrain with his uncle, is now Red Bull’s reserve driver.
“My uncle goes to work every day and takes his children to school,” he is quoted by RMC Sport. “The reality is not necessarily what you see on TV. We’ll see when we get there.”
In the wake of F1’s decision to plough ahead with next week’s race, media reports said violence returned to the streets of Bahrain on Friday.
“No F1, no F1 — they killed my son in cold blood,” one protester is quoted as having chanted on Friday.
The Associated Press, meanwhile, said protesters hurled firebombs at police, who returned fire with bird shot bellets.