Bernie Ecclestone has insisted that F1 is still preparing to return to Bahrain this season and says that the competing teams aren't concerned about safety issues in the Gulf State.
The 2011 running of the race was cancelled due to political unrest, with further protests having called into question whether or not the sport should return this season.
Despite that, Bahrain was named on the calendar by the FIA and – despite some trouble being reported on the first anniversary of the uprising – Ecclestone said he saw no reason why the race wouldn't go ahead as planned.
“The only message I got was that there were some kids in trouble with the police,” he told the Daily Telegraph
. “We are planning to go. I've always said that if there was going to be any drama it would be on the Day of Rage. They would have to do something then. People there seem confident that a race two months away will be alright.
“The teams are not the slightest bit concerned. They seem happy that things will go ahead without problems. Last year was a more clear-cut decision not to go but things have changed a lot since then.”
Ecclestone's comments come after the UK-Bahrain All-Party Parliamentary Group wrote an open letter to suggest that it wouldn't be beneficial for the race to be cancelled for a second season.
"Bahrain has been conveniently lumped together with other nations and labelled part of the 'Arab Spring'," the letter, published in a number of national newspapers, read. "Yet the response of the government of Bahrain has been notably different. Bahrain invited independent human rights lawyers, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), to investigate and has started to implement its recommendations.
"In addition to elections that have led to a four-fold increase in women elected to parliament, Bahrain has also asked John Timoney, the former New York police chief, and John Yates, the former assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, to overhaul policing, Sir Daniel Bethlehem, the FCO's former principal legal adviser, to review judicial processes, and opened detention facilities for inspection by the Red Crescent.
"Those who want Bahrain to continue on the path of genuine reform will do the cause no service by cancelling the Grand Prix this year. Indeed, surely the presence of thousands of Western visitors and journalists in the run-up to and during the event will act as an additional incentive to the authorities in Bahrain to show the international community its sincerity in the cause of reform and that their support for Bahrain is well placed?"