Motorsport's governing body, the FIA, and Formula One Management (FOM) have issued a joint statement confirming that the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead as planned – and can be a force for good in the Gulf state.
The race has been the focus for protests ever since the Arab Spring uprising swept across the region in 2011 and, while there has been little threat of a repeat of the cancellation that wiped it from the schedule that year, it continues to face questions about its viability.
As well as sections of the local population, who believe that the grand prix represents all that is bad about the ruling Sunni government, others continue to call for the event to be scrapped, including an all-party group of UK politicians who, this week, added their voice to the arguments opposing F1's trip to Sakhir.
While FIA president Jean Todt has remained typically quiet on the situation, Bernie Ecclestone has frequently voiced his belief that the race should go ahead, and the FIA and FOM have now issued a statement claiming that there is no reason to reconsider Bahrain's place on the calendar.
“The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile and Formula One Management wish to jointly confirm their belief that the Bahrain GP should go ahead this weekend, following assurances from the local promoter and the authorities that security, their responsibility, will be guaranteed for all participants,” the two parties claimed in a joint statement issued during the opening free practice session.
“The FIA and FOM also strongly believe that sport can often be a force for good and that the staging of the Grand Prix in Bahrain will come some way in helping soothe some of the issues which have been raised in the media.
“The President of the FIA Jean Todt, and Bernie Ecclestone, F1's Commercial Rights Holder, are united in expressing their support for the Bahrain GP and the national organiser, and wish that all concerned respect the desire of the teams, drivers and all those involved in the staging of the event to do the best job possible over the weekend.”