The chairman of the Bahrain Grand Prix has hit out at 'scaremongering tactics' that have led to questions being raised about whether the race should take place this season.
The race was cancelled last season due to political unrest, with continued issues in the Gulf State leading to calls for F1 put the race – which is scheduled for 22 April – on hold once again.
In a lengthy statement issued by the Sakhir circuit, which incorporated numerous messages of support from various parties, Zayad Al Zayani blamed 'armchair observers' for much of the current alarm and said people needed to form their own opinions rather than listen to those who aren't aware of the situation.
“What has been happening is that armchair observers – who have not been sufficiently interested or committed to investigate the situation for themselves – have been driving this debate, at the expense of those neutral parties who have taken the trouble to investigate the situation at first hand,” Al Zayani said. “This, combined with the scaremongering tactics of certain small extremist groups on social networking sites, has created huge misconceptions about the current situation.
"We have welcomed a number of people to Bahrain over the last few weeks, who have all been able to find out for themselves that the Kingdom is ready to host Formula 1 next month. I therefore urge all stakeholders in the sport to listen to those with an informed, educated view of the situation and to form their views on the facts of the situation, as presented by neutral first-hand observers."
The statement also quoted a report from Lotus, which was issued to all F1 team principals on 5 April after two team representatives visited the country to see for themselves what the current situation is.
"Yes there is a need to keep the circuit and the teams secure and they are doing this and they feel very comfortable about the arrangements,” the extract read. “If there is going to be protestation then it will be confined to peaceful protests - you will maybe see some banners being waved and maybe some tyres on fire but that is all that they expect.
"We came away from Bahrain feeling a lot more confident that everything is in hand and to be honest if it wasn't for a few more police you wouldn't know any difference from the last year we were there."
The Bahrain statement came after Bernie Ecclestone said it was down to teams to decide if they wanted to race in Bahrain [See separate story HERE
, although the Formula One Teams Association has since insisted that teams don't have the power to cancel the race, with such a decision being down to the FIA.
“There's been some media speculation recently to the effect that the teams may seek to cancel this year's Bahrain Grand Prix,” FOTA secretary general Oliver Weingarten said. “That wouldn't be possible. Teams are unable to cancel Grands Prix.
“We race in an international series called the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and it is therefore for the FIA to offer the Teams guidance on these issues.”