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'Defiant' Ecclestone says 'earthquake' needed to quell hype over Bahrain Grand Prix

Manama, Sat, 21 Apr 2012 ANI

Manama, Apr 21 (ANI): Formula 1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, has once again steered clear of the on-going protests against the Bahrain Grand Prix and insisted that the Sunday event will take place.

"I can't call this race off...what we really need is an earthquake," the Daily Mirror quoted Bernie, as saying.

The British Billionaire ignored calls from human rights groups to scrap the multi-million-pound race and sparked further angst amongst people by telling journalists that they should "go to Syria" if they wanted a good story.

"We've an agreement to be here and we're here. Go to Syria and write about those things there because it's more important than here," he claimed.

Protestors clashed with security near the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) even as Brits Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton joined other drivers in the practice sessions.

"It's a lot of nonsense. What we really need is an earthquake or something like that now so you can write about that," he declared, dismissing the media hype over the issue.

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman Al Khalifa said cancelling the Grand Prix would "empower extremists" and compared the violent unrest to the riots in British cities last summer. He however confessed that "100%" guarantee of safety of any drivers or staff was not possible.

The protests instigated Force India to pull out of the second practice session so that they could leave the track in daylight.

There were also fears of cyber-terrorism, after hackers hacked into the F1 website, which has left officials worried as it could alter the race timings.

Protesters reportedly hit a mini-bus with a petrol bomb, which was carrying 12 mechanics from the Sauber team yesterday.

Police officials were also forced to use tear gas and stun grenades to disperse around 700 protesters near the British embassy yesterday. (ANI)

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