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Bahrain protests instigate Force India team to give second practice session a miss

Manama, Sat, 21 Apr 2012 ANI

Manama, Apr 21 (ANI): With the on-going violent protests near the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), Force India team decided to pull out of the second practice run, and head to their hotel before dark.

The decision came after four team mechanics narrowly missed being hit by petrol bombs during a clash between protesters and police on Wednesday in the city.

"We have to ensure the crew are comfortable," the BBC quoted the team boss Bob Fernley, as saying.

"I said if they were the slightest bit concerned, whatever time they would normally leave the circuit, I will be here and travel in their vehicle back to the hotel, without any escort or police," F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone said, clarifying that he had offered Force India a police escort from the track following the Wednesday incident.

In another incident, protesters hit a mini-bus with a petrol bomb which was carrying 12 mechanics from the Sauber team.

However, Sauber confirmed that nobody from the team was hurt and they did not regard it as an attack on their vehicle.

Ecclestone insisted it was "absolutely 100%" a right decision for Bahrain to go ahead with the GP, pointing to recent riots in Spain and crime in Brazil as examples that other countries too had problems.

When asked whether he felt Bahrain were blurring the boundaries between sport and politics by using a "UniF1ed" slogan to promote the grand prix, Ecclestone outlined that it was "not for us to decide how somebody wants to use the race."

"We're not here to give an opinion on how this country should be run, or any other country," he declared.

Fernley stressed that the Force India team fully supported the Bahrain Grand Prix but safety was the paramount issue. (ANI)


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