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GP Week : Issue 148
With less than two weeks to go before the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix, and last week’s death of a photographer at a protest rally, the FIA is under increasing pressure to call off the event. But despite an increase in voices decrying the ethics of holding a race in a country in political turmoil, Formula One’s governing body is continuing to take the advice of the local government, which is keen to promote the grand prix as an event of national unification and reconciliation. “The FIA is constantly monitoring and evaluating the situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain,” a spokesman told Reuters. “We are in daily touch with the highest authorities, the main European embassies and of course the local promoters at BIC as well as the international promoter. The FIA is the guarantor of the safety at the race event and relies, as it does in every other country, on the local authorities to guarantee security.” Despite their confidence, the pressure is on to cancel the race, with both Damon Hill and British Labour MP Richard Burden adding their names to the list of those publicly opposed to the Bahrain Grand Prix. “What we must put above all else is what will be the penalty in terms of human cost if the race goes ahead,” Hill said last week. “It would be a bad state of affairs, and bad for Formula One, to be seen to be enforcing martial law in order to hold the race. That is not what this sport should be about. Looking at it today you'd have to say that [the race] could be creating more problems than it's solving.” Burden aired his views in a column for the Huffington Post. “No doubt the Bahrain authorities will move heaven and earth to minimise any risks to the teams taking part,” the F1 fan and former government motorsport advisor wrote. “But the long term damage to the reputation of F1 and motorsport in general could be considerable. “In hindsight, the FIA should not have scheduled the 2012 race so early in the season. It was always going to be too early to know how far things had moved on in Bahrain since last year. F1 can't turn the clock back but, with three weeks to go before the race, it can still rethink. It should do so.” It is not just public figures in the West who are opposed to the race, scheduled to take place at the Bahrain International Circuit on 22 April. “We don't want Formula One in our country,” protester Ali Mohammed told the Hindustan Times during a recent rally against the Bahrain Grand Prix. “They are killing us every day with tear gas. They have no respect for human rights or democracy. Why would we keep silent? No one will enjoy the F1 in Bahrain with cries for freedom from the inside and outside of the race.” FIA MONITORING AS PRESSURE MOUNTS EDITOR: Adam Hay-Nicholls email@example.com ASSISTANT EDITORS: Naoise Holohan, Kate Walker F1 ANALYST: Peter Windsor MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott firstname.lastname@example.org RALLY EDITOR: Martin Holmes email@example.com PRODUCTION ARTIST: Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY: Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Emily Davenport PUBLISHER: Chris Lambden email@example.com PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton email@example.com n Gaye Grinsted (WRC/MotoGP) firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: +44 (0) 207 254 8796 Mob: +44 (0) 7921 283 070 n Adam Hay-Nicholls email@example.com n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) firstname.lastname@example.org .com WEEK 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS