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GP Week : Issue 147
The signs are that, despite obvious reservations, the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead. At the Royal Automobile Club on London’s Pall Mall this week, some of the Formula One media were wined and dined by a Bahraini delegation charged with asserting that the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix would go off without a hitch. “There are disturbances [in Bahrain], and they are youths who need to be handled and led in a proper and right way,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifa, president of the Automobile Federation of Bahrain and that country’s representative on the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council. “They need to know if they have concerns, problems, there are proper channels and procedures that can deal with them. They will not achieve their goals by disrupting the lives of family, friends, neighbours, or anybody who comes to the country... “Yes, the events of February 14 last year (the Day of Rage) inflamed matters, but we've never had an issue with Formula One, which has been visiting our country since 2004. People keep asking me about Bahrain, and I appreciate their apprehension, but anybody who has been there before and comes now will see there is no difference. "It is why I'm hoping for the race to come as quickly as possible, just to let this [F1] community see and feel what is really going on in Bahrain. I know all eyes are on us, but for me I feel there is a buzz going on in the country to rally around Formula One. “So my message to Formula One is 'be part of unifying my country',” Al Khalifa concluded. “We've had our share of trouble, people have made mistakes, but it is time to reconcile, to move on and come out stronger and more united.” But despite the confidence so apparent on Pall Mall, the gossips are now whispering that the race will be called off at the last minute. According to reports in Germany, the teams all have plan-Bs for staff and freight alike in the event of a cancellation. The gossips have been saying as much for months. In Jerez, during the first week of pre-season testing, the story doing the rounds of the paddock was that the Bahrain Grand Prix had already been called off, and would be replaced by a race in Turkey one week after the proposed Sakhir event. Formal announcements were not made so that FOM, FIA, and Bahrain itself could all save face with a last-minute cancellation agreed upon by all parties. Or so the story went. One of the signs that the race is very much on came via Christian Sylt, one of Bernie Ecclestone’s favoured journalists. Sylt this week issued a press release relating to one of his business interests in which he asserted that the Bahrain Grand Prix is the most profitable event on the F1 calendar. As Sylt rarely publishes without Ecclestone’s direct influence, the timing of his press release was seen by many as official confirmation of the Bahrain race, irrespective of the charm offensive that was under way at the RAC ... BAHRAIN IS GO, GO, GO! ... ... despite rumours of last-minute cancellation EARLY BIRD TICKETS NOW ON SALE SINGAPORE MARINA BAY STREET CIRCUIT +65 6738 6738 PHONE BOOKING: www.singaporegp.sg ONLINE BOOKING: 212223 SEPTEMBER 2012 Scan this code for event details EARLY BIRD BUYERS STAND TO WIN EXCLUSIVE DRIVERS' AUTOGRAPH SESSION PASSES, ACCESS TO ARTIST MEET & GREET SESSIONS AND FAN ZONE WRISTBANDS ENJOY UP TO 30% SAVINGS! LIMITED COMBINATION PACKAGES AND GREAT SAVINGS WITH GROUP BOOKINGS OF 4 OR MORE TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE 3 DAYS OF NON-STOP RACE ACTION ALSO FEATURING AND MANY MORE GPWeek.pdf 1 3/16/12 3:40 PM 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS