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Team bosses insist F1 'can't be political'

Team bosses speaking with the media after Friday's practice sessions at Bahrain International Circuit insisted it would be wrong for F1 to become involved in Bahraini politics.
"We're here to go motor racing," opened Martin Whitmarsh at the start of the post-practice press conference in Bahrain on Friday. "That's our number one priority."

The McLaren team principal and his fellow team bosses were uniformly firm in their view that it would be wrong for F1 to become involved in local or international politics, and that it was important that Sunday's Grand Prix race go ahead as normal.

"I don't think that going into what's happened over the last millennia or the politics around the world is something that most of us here are equipped to comment on," he insisted.

"I think there is a lot of support for the race from all parts of society here, so I think that's positive," Whitmarsh continued. "Often the majority aren't heard on these occasions but I think there's a fair amount of support - you can feel it here. I understand they've sold out the grandstand so presumably that's a tangible sign of support."

"F1 is a sport at the end of the day and it's wrong for it to be used politically," insisted Red Bull's Christian Horner. "We're here to race ... For us, it's about trying to extract the maximum from this weekend as a sporting team in a sporting championship."

"From a political point of view," added Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, "the only thing I can is that there are a lot of things going on and we really hope that all the dialogue that has started within the different parts will do the best thing in the shortest time possible for everyone. This is really the hope that we have, as sportsmen and as a man of the world."

When pressed by journalists as to whether F1's presence in Bahrain was acting as a trigger for unrest and police oppression, the team managers refused to be drawn further.

"I don't think we're going to comment on that," said Whitmarsh. "We are here to take part in a race. I think we've made our position clear."

When the questions kept on coming, it was Domenicali's turn to put his foot down: "Let's focus on our jobs and try, on our side, to speak about the sport. This is really our task, to be honest. "I don't think it's correct for us to go into a political discussion on what is happening."

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Zz - Unregistered

April 20, 2012 6:59 PM

Journalists who have been refused entry include Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent at Sky News, who is being forced to file coverage from Dubai. "Govt refuses to explain why I can't come in," Ramsay said on Twitter. "Govt welcomes f1 but not independent journalists who actually understand the complexity of this issue." What complexity Stuart? Haven't you read the Bahraini Minstry of Information press releases? The country is uniF1ed and fully behind the Crown Prince in supporting his multi-billion pound Scalectrix set. Simples! So there's nothing 'political' to report.

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