F1: Concern over Bahrain race
Published 25/01/2012 | 05:00
Just days after Bernie Ecclestone insisted he had no concerns about taking Formula One back to Bahrain, April's grand prix has been thrown into doubt by reports that the USA is moving American Embassy employees to safer locations in the island kingdom because of continuing political unrest.
The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix was initially postponed and then cancelled altogether after anti-government protests last spring led to at least 35 deaths, but Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, said over the weekend that he was confident this year's race would go ahead.
But with the anniversary of Bahrain's uprising approaching, the US State Department issued a statement on Monday claiming that frequent clashes in Manama have forced people to remain indoors and have disrupted travel.
The development will come as a blow to Bahrain's rulers, who have been desperately trying to alter the international image of the country in recent months.