Ecclestone unmoved by safety concerns in Bahrain as Force India pulls out of practice
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, April 20th 2012, 11:37 GMT|
Bernie Ecclestone remained unmoved about safety concerns in Bahrain on Friday - despite Force India's withdrawal from second free practice because of worries from its personnel about leaving the Sakhir track after dark.
Amid concerns in the paddock about the situation outside the circuit – with Sauber now also confirming that some of its personnel witnessed an incident involving masked protestors on Thursday night as they returned to Manama – Ecclestone said it was not in his power to cancel the race.
"I can't call this race off. It is nothing to do with us, the race," he told reporters in the Bahrain paddock.
"We are here, we have an agreement to be here and we are here. The national sporting authority in this country can ask the FIA if they want to call the race off."
Ecclestone said he did not understand why Force India was so worried about safety – and that he had personally offered to drive with the team from the circuit if they wanted reassurance.
"They have asked and been told they can have security if they want it," he said. "I don't know if people are targeting them for some reason, I don't know – I hope not because none of the other teams seem to have a problem.
"So maybe they have had a message and are being targeted for something – it may be nothing to do with being in this country, maybe it is something else."
A Brazilian journalist confirmed that he too had witnessed police firing tear gas at protestors on the main road between the circuit and Manama on Thursday evening.
Ecclestone also reckons the huge media coverage the safety situation at the Bahrain event was generating was the result of journalists stirring things up.
"You guys love it," he told journalists. "What we really need is an earthquake or something like that, so you can write about that now.
"I think you guys want a story and it is a good story. And if there isn't a story you make it up as usual. So nothing changes."