Damon Hill thinks F1 is ready to return to Bahrain this season. With the island Kingdom in turmoil last year, the 1996 world champion urged the sport to cancel the 2011 race.
“You can’t just base your decision to hold a race in a country on that country’s ability to pay,” he said last June.
But the former Williams driver, now 51 and to be an expert pundit on British television this year, has changed his tune.
“I was frustrated last year that formula one did not raise its voice against what was happening. But a lot has changed there since then,” Hill told the Times newspaper.
The Daily Telegraph said Hill actually visited Bahrain recently along with FIA president Jean Todt.
“I listened to a lot of people there, including eyewitnesses,” he said. “I believe they are making change for the better. There is no question they have issues, but every country has issues – we had riots here in the UK not so long ago.
“This time, Formula One can go to Bahrain with a clear conscience and not just as a tool for some sort of cover-up.”
Last week, the Sakhir circuit announced that staff sacked during last year’s protests had been offered their jobs back.
“We are happy to see the Bahrain staff have been reinstated and are back to work,” Formula One Management said in a report on the sport’s official website.