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Formula 1 teams criticise media for 'politicising' Bahrain Grand Prix

Sakhir paddockFormula 1 team bosses have hit out at the way the sport was turned into a political battleground over the Bahrain Grand Prix, on the back of the media storm that erupted around the event.

With the Sakhir race becoming into headline news, and various politicians stepping in to call for it to be cancelled, several team bosses say they are unhappy about the way the situation was portrayed outside the paddock.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier told AUTOSPORT: "I should not say it, but the media did not do for me what they should have done.

"There are various issues, which are up to the country to fix. But there are issues in every country, even in England, France and other European countries, and the over-dramatisation was definitely wrong.

"F1 is a sport and should be seen as a sport. We also know that it is very important for Bahrain to have this event, it is their biggest event of the year, and F1 should not be used as a political tool."

When asked if the negative coverage could be a turn-off for potential sponsors, Boullier said: "It is their choice, but politics is never good to mix with sport.

"We have enough inside our paddock. We don't need to bring what is going on outside in, and that is what the media did. The media brought the external politics inside the paddock and that is not good."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said his outfit did not spend much time worrying about how the event was being reported. But he feels that F1 should not have been forced into the political arena.

"It is difficult because you see an awful lot of enthusiasm for Formula 1 in towns and areas of the country," he said. "It is not right for Formula 1 to be dragged into a political debate. And of course it is deemed to be political if you race and it is deemed to be political if you don't.

"So our focus has been on coming here to do a job and getting it done and I am delighted to say that we have."

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley, who had to withdraw his team from practice two because of safety concerns from his staff about travelling at night, said that there were positives that came out of the weekend.

"I am probably quite surprised by it all, because I believe irrespective of the criticism and some of the issues we have had, it puts Bernie [Ecclestone] and Jean [Todt] in a very visionary position," he told AUTOSPORT. "They have delivered F1.

"For the Bahraini authorities - they have laid themselves bare to the world's media. If that is not transparency, what is?

"There have been issues, and all sorts of things that we could improve on for next year from an F1 point of view, but F1 should not be about looking back with regret. It should be quite proud of what it has done because the solution now for the politicians in Bahrain is there.

"They now need to get into a dialogue away from F1 and the fact that F1 was brave enough to go there, and the leadership was strong enough to do it, good for them."

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