F1 reaffirms Bahrain commitment- 16 Feb 2012 00:00:00
The International Motorsport Federation (FIA) and Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone have maintained that the sport is committed to returning to Bahrain this year - despite continued violence in the Gulf Kingdom a year on from the civil unrest.
The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix was eventually cancelled after months of controversy in early 2011.
The race was confirmed as one of 20 events on the 2012 F1 calendar by the FIA in December, but questions continue to be raised over whether it is appropriate to return to the country.
Tuesday saw a security clampdown in the capital of Manama for the first time since martial law was lifted in June, with armoured vehicles patrolling the city after youths threw petrol bombs at police, who returned fire with tear gas on protesters.
The 2012 Bahrain GP is currently scheduled for 22nd April, and the FIA remains confident it will take place.
An FIA spokesman told Reuters: ‘The FIA, like many in the diplomatic community in the kingdom, the main political opposition...believes the staging of a grand prix would be beneficial in bridging some of the difficulties Bahrain is experiencing.’
‘The FIA is not in a position to influence political matters in a sovereign country such as Bahrain and we can only wish for a long-term peaceful solution.’
The new Formula One season starts on 18th March in Melbourne, Australia.