Bahrain GP: Force India, Sauber insist no concerns about safety

Force India has no concerns about returning to Bahrain this year even though a van carrying its personnel was caught up in a petrol bomb incident last year

The Silverstone-based squad opted to sit out Friday afternoon practice in 2012 to allow its personnel to return to the hotel before dark but participated in the rest of the event.

Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley does not expect there to be any significant problems this year even though he accepted that there was the potential for minor incidents.

"There are bound to be incidents, but ours was just one of those unfortunately things last year and it just got blown out of all proportion," Fernley told AUTOSPORT.

"I can't see any issues this year.

"There will be something, but it will be relatively minor I would think and hopefully not with Force India."

The Sauber team was also caught up in an incident last year, with personnel returning from the track on the Thursday night before the race encountering masked protesters.

But Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn insists that she has no concerns about the safety of racing in Bahrain.

"Our position is exactly as it was last year; it's the responsibility of the FIA, our regulator, and the commercial rights holder to decide if they deem the conditions right for us to go and race there, " Kaltenborn told AUTOSPORT.

"Last year, we saw that maybe one should question the media coverage that was done before [the race] as there was no situation where you really felt it was wrong to go there.

"So we are going there with a very different perspective."

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has poured cold water on concerns about the race, which went ahead in 2012 but was cancelled a year earlier.

He has taken a conciliatory stance towards protesters, saying that he would be willing to meet with opposition leadership in Bahrain.

"I'm happy to talk to anybody about this, as I did before," he is quoted as saying by Reuters.

"We don't want to see trouble. We don't want to see people arguing and fighting about things we don't understand, because we really don't understand...some people feel it's our fault there are problems."

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