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Hulkenberg wary of racing in Bahrain

Nico Hulkenberg breaks ranks and debates whether the Bahrain Grand Prix should go ahead.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg has admitted that he is not entirely comfortable with the thought of racing in Bahrain this weekend, particularly after some of his team-mates were caught up in anti-government protests earlier in the week.

Speaking after news broke of the firebomb that landed next to the team's hire car, Hulkenberg expressed an opinion a lot of his rivals had steadfastly been avoiding - namely that perhaps there shouldn't be a grand prix this weekend. The race was only given the official sanction of the sport's governing body ahead of last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, following weeks of speculation that it may follow the 2011 event and end up being cancelled as a result of ethical and security concerns amid ongoing anti-government and pro-democracy protests. While teams have privately expressed concerns, few of the drivers - Mark Webber has been noticeably vocal in both 2011 and 2012 - have felt the need to speak out in opposition to it.

"We shouldn't have been put in this position," Hulkenberg, who maintained that he personally felt safe, insisted to BBC Sport, "It is obviously not right that that sort of stuff happens. We are here to race. The F1 business is about entertainment and these sort of things should not really be happening to us.

"Whether it is right or not I don't really know. It's difficult to say. I am not a politician, I am an F1 driver, but it should not really be happening should it? It is not good that we have to worry about it. That is the way it is now and let's see and hope that the rest of the weekend is good and calm."

Team-mate Paul di Resta confirmed that he was happy to follow whatever decision the team took, despite admitting that Wednesday's incident had made him feel 'uncomfortable', while other drivers insisted that they were not going to get drawn into the debate over whether the event should go ahead.

"Outside the paddock, there is a risk, but I think there is a risk everywhere we go," reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel claimed, "In Brazil, it is not really the place you want to be depending on the area you are. But I haven't seen anyone throwing bombs, so [perhaps] there is a lot of hype."

While Hulkenberg, di Resta and Vettel joined their rivals in opening practice on Friday morning at BIC, Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley admitted that the Silverstopne-based squad may curtail its involvement in FP2 in order to avoid a repeat of Wednesday's incident. He insisted, however, that he was not opposed to F1 coming to Bahrain.

"With all due respect, I don't think the FIA or the Bahraini authorities ever said safety was 100 per cent guaranteed," he told journalists, "We all knew there was a slight risk in coming here, and that risk is worthwhile if it puts the platform in place for debate, to be able to get Bahrain into a healthy position."



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Chop Chop - Unregistered

April 20, 2012 1:43 PM

Nico Hulkenberg is absolutely right. FIA shouldn't put teams' member and drivers in such as situation. I think FIA President Jean Todt is less sensitive in moral obligation as President of FIA. Now safety of F1 teams' member and drivers are at risk. I couldn't understand why FIA decided to go Bahrain in first place even though everyone knows the demonstration will take place and Bahrain police force will be brutally crack down on opposition group. Going to Bahrain is morally and ethically wrong. For someone pleasure, other peoples have to suffer is not a ideal leisure sports for most of us. Also Formula One image will tarnish and suffer in Motor Sport World. We can't blame Bernie alone but I'll blame more on FAI President Jean Todt because he decided it. It's his poor judgment and he must take full responsible for that. FAI President Jean Todt must resign. I can't call resign for Bernie because he was representative of private own company.

Chop Chop - Unregistered

April 20, 2012 8:21 PM

Obviously, FAI president Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone decision to go ahead Bahrain GP was supporting Bahrain Royal family and Government because the wealth of Bahrain Royal family these peoples are very important in their high class social circuit. The reason of decision to go Bahrain was personal and business for both of Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone. Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone let down Formula One image and ethical standard. We are dumb as you think if you say both of you unaware and unexpected for current situation.



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