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GP Week : Issue 150
Bernie Ecclestone: “I can’t call this race off. Nothing to do with us. We’ve an agreement to be here, and we’re here. The national sporting authority in this country can call the race off. You can ask the FIA if they can. ... “We came here because this race asked to be put on the calendar. We're happy and delighted it was. What happens in this country is nothing to do with us. This race has given the protesters an incredible platform for all you guys to talk to them. They say they talk about democracy, which is freedom of speech. They've had all the freedom in the world to talk.” Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa: “We are a real country with real issues and we hope you see us with all our complexities and all our shades. “I genuinely believe that this race is a force for good. It unites many people from many different religious backgrounds and sects. Cancelling the race would encourage the extremists. I think this race should continue because it is indeed a very big event for this country. It is important economically and socially. Political parties from across the whole spectrum, both conservative and opposition, have welcomed the race and as far as I understand it was a few politicians who made those comments and it doesn’t certainly represent the entire British political spectrum. “I absolutely can guarantee that any problems that may or may not happen are not directed at Formula One. And it goes to show that there are people that are out to cause chaos. You had these problems last year in your country and there’s a very big difference between protesting for political rights and rioting, and the attack that happened around Force India was aimed at the police and it was unprovoked and it was quite dangerous. But at no time was anyone from Formula One in danger. “Protests will happen. It is part of the political protest in any county. There is a very big difference between protesting and rioting. I am here to go racing.” Jean Todt: “We know protests can have a negative result. We are a governing body running sport, you can have lots of protests and there can be consequences, and I am not sure the protests would not have happened if the grand prix would not have happened. ... “It can be a lot of interpretation. I understand, in the UK, some opposition parties are against running the grand prix; if you take the comments of the actual prime minister he feels things are moving in the right direction. We as a governing body had no reasons not to have the grand prix happening in Bahrain. If we had a new vote today to the world council, I am convinced there is no new evidence that would make the decision [to hold the race] different.” Martin Whitmarsh: “We travel to Brazil, a whole variety of places. We're mindful of the security we have to take to some of the venues we go to, and we're not always as comfortable as we'd like to be, but we don't decide that. “Right now we haven't taken any special measures [for Bahrain], although we are always cautious and mindful of the safety of our team. ... At the moment there are clearly issues in Bahrain, but we don't believe there are individual threats to any of us that are part of the team. I think I used the word 'believe', but none of us know. None of us know what's going to happen as we try to get back into Shanghai tonight. The way my driver is driving it's more dangerous than driving round Brazil!” F1 STAKEHOLDERS OPINE ON BAHRAIN 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS