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F1 NEWS 

FIA urged to drop the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix amid continued unrest

Bahrain GPThe FIA has been urged by a group of British politicians to reconsider its decision to let the Bahrain Grand Prix go ahead, in the wake of fresh troubles in the Gulf state.

While Formula 1 chiefs are unmoved about the ongoing situation in Bahrain, the topic returned to the news agenda on Thursday when reports emerged of a British man having his fingers chopped off after being attacked in Karranah, which is near Manama.

With matters being far from calm in Bahrain, members of the House of Lords have written on open letter to The Times newspaper to make clear their views on the situation.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, Lord Alton, Lord Avebury, Baroness Falkner of Margravine, Lord Hylton, Caroline Lucas and Lord Boswell all backed the call for the FIA to think again about letting the Bahrain GP go ahead.

"Sir, We note with concern the decision by Formula 1 to go ahead with the race in Bahrain scheduled for April," they wrote in The Times.

"The continued political crisis in Bahrain is a troubling source of instability in the Gulf region, and the lack of any move towards political reconciliation concerns those who wish to see Bahrain move in the direction of greater democratic accountability."

After explaining that they had hoped the outcome of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) would have helped calm the situation, they said that in fact the opposite had happened.

"Two months on we see an entrenchment of the positions of both sides which risks letting more extreme voices dictate the progress of the conflict," added the letter. "Given the current dire situation, with daily street protests and the deaths of more civilians, we do not believe that the time is right for Formula 1 to return to Bahrain."

They added: "Bahrain is a major trading hub and financial centre in the Middle East but this brings greater responsibility. Human rights and economic stability go hand in hand and the government of Bahrain must do more to persuade international events and corporations that Bahrain is a stable place to do business.

"Until it takes concerted measures to reform the electoral, penal and judicial processes, international observers as well as ordinary Bahrainis can have little confidence that Bahrain is on the path to reform and political stability. We urge the FIA to reconsider its decision to continue with the race."

The FIA and F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone have so far appeared unmoved by the situation in Bahrain.

Last month, Ecclestone suggested that the troubles in Bahrain were nothing to be concerned about.

"Everyone talks a lot about this part of the world, but Bahrain is the country in the region where there are the fewest problems," said Ecclestone in an interview with the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

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