F1’s governing body has moved to end the uncertainty about next week’s Bahrain grand prix by insisting the race will definitely go ahead.
“The FIA confirms that the 2012 grand prix of Bahrain will go ahead as scheduled,” the Paris federation said at the end of a long media statement, explaining its decision.
Until now, whilst plenty of speculation has been circulating the Shanghai paddock, very little has been said on the record.
For example, in Thursday’s FIA press conference, a question about Bahrain was met with total silence by Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Narain Karthikeyan.
In fairness to Spaniard Alonso, he was later quoted by RMC Sport: “I think sport is not the biggest problem right now in Bahrain.
“I think that if we do not go, it will be accepted.”
Red Bull’s Mark Webber was another rare voice.
“We are all human,” he told reporters. “We all have morals, irrespective of whether we’re sportsmen.
“There’s no beating about the bush — it is sensitive out there.”
Indeed, with the decision now made to race, security in Bahrain will undoubtedly be tight — particularly after one anti-race group promised ‘three days of rage’.
“We have a bullet proof car (in Brazil),” Jenson Button noted, “we have a police escort too. In Bahrain it has never been necessary.”
German television presenter Kai Ebel admitted he would rather not go.
“I’m a sports reporter, I’m not Antonia Rados,” he told the Cologne Express newspaper, referring to his RTL colleague who is a well-known war reporter.
Marussia’s Timo Glock has also admitted he would rather skip Bahrain.
“A grand prix is the ideal thing for opponents of the regime to really get their message across,” he is quoted by Speed Week.