F1: Bahrain Grand Prix gets green light
THE Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead as planned on April 22, the FIA have confirmed.
The decision comes despite continuing unrest in the Gulf kingdom following anti-government protests which resulted in the deaths of a number of demonstrators last year. Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has continually stated he has no concerns regarding safety, despite apparent misgivings from teams and drivers.
The sport's governing body, the FIA, said in a statement: "Based on the current information the FIA has at this stage, it is satisfied that all the proper security measures are in place for the running of a Formula One World Championship event in Bahrain. Therefore, the FIA confirms that the 2012 Gulf Air F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain will go ahead as scheduled."
Last year's Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled in the wake of the anti-government protests, and some in the sport felt the same should happen this time around.
Ecclestone reiterated on Thursday morning his belief the event should go ahead, while Red Bull driver Mark Webber, who last year was the only driver to state the grand prix should be scrapped, said he wanted to race.
And the FIA said in their statement that, based on their security briefings, there was no reason to call the race off.
The statement continued: "We have endeavoured to assess the ongoing situation in Bahrain.
"President Jean Todt led a fact-finding mission to the Kingdom in November 2011, meeting a large number of decision-makers and opinion formers, including elected Shia members of parliament, the president of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, ambassadors from the European Union countries, the Crown Prince, the Interior Minister and many members of the business community.
"All expressed their wish for the Grand Prix to go ahead in 2012, and since then, the FIA has kept in close touch with all these stakeholders. Away from the public eye, the FIA has received regular security briefings from the most senior diplomatic officials based in the Kingdom as well as from other independent experts.
"The 2012 calendar, as presented by the CRH, was ratified by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in September 2011. Since then no request from the F1 Commission or the CRH has been made to the WMSC to either postpone or cancel the Bahrain Grand Prix."