Bernie Ecclestone hopes Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead but still watching political situation

Bernie Ecclestone says he still hopes there are no obstacles to next year's Bahrain Grand Prix going ahead - but has left the door open to calling the race off if there is clear evidence of atrocities taking place in the nation

Bernie Ecclestone hopes Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead but still watching political situation

The Gulf event was first postponed, then cancelled, this season due to the political situation in Bahrain during the spring. This week the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved a 2012 calendar featuring Sakhir as round four on 22 April, but there have been concerns over continuing unrest in the country.

"We have been assured that this is not what's happening," Ecclestone told the Guardian when asked about reports that doctors who had treated injured demonstrators were being jailed. "In fact they had a report made, allegedly independent. What did the report say? Yes, there were instances or whatever, but...

"I wanted to go out there. I was happy to go. I'd like to go into the prison or the hospital or whatever and ask: 'What actually happened?'"

Ecclestone added: "I have asked. They said, 'No problem.' The danger is you go out there and they pick you up in a limousine and take you to the best hotel and take you to dinner and then put you back on the aeroplane."

He said he tried to avoid judgements about F1's host nations, but cited the world championship's departure from South Africa in the 1980s as an example of F1 acknowledging political realities.

"It's not easy. But wherever I go, the minute you get off the plane, the minute you go into somebody's country, you've got to respect exactly what their way of life is - their religion, their laws or whatever," said Ecclestone.

"It's not correct to go moving into somebody's country and try to change them. Don't go. If you know something's wrong, stay away.

"We pulled out of South Africa years ago because of apartheid. I witnessed things that had happened there which upset me. I thought: 'That ain't the way to go on.'

"I hope we go to Bahrain and there's no trouble - the race goes on, the public are happy and there are no dramas. That's what I hope."

Asked what he would if presented with 'incontrovertible evidence' of government wrongdoing in Bahrain, Ecclestone replied: "We'd have to give it some serious thought then. But we've been to Argentina when there's been big dramas. There's been dramas in Brazil. Bad things happen there.

"I think you can look anywhere now and it's not all good. You can't really hold England up as being all good, can you? There have been some terrible atrocities that we committed."

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