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Bahrain 'as safe as Silverstone'

28 March 2012

The head of Bahrain's national motorsport federation has vowed that there will be no unrest at this year's grand prix, despite the country still being gripped by the tension that saw the 2011 edition called off altogether.

With speculation continuing to suggest that the 2012 race, scheduled for the second half of April, could still be called off, Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifa has moved to declare that the grand prix would not be affected by the sort of violent clashes that saw Bahrain vault to the top of news bulletins around the world last year.

"We've never had any violence towards foreigners," he pointed out to PA Sport, "All I can guarantee you is you will be as safe as at any other grand prix."

While F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone continues to claim that the grand prix will go ahead - indeed, he took the liberty of suggesting how potential insurgents could disrupt the race, as if to tell them that the ideas had already been combatted - the Sheikh insisted that no extra security would be drafted in to cover the event.

"Yes, the events of [the Day of Rage on] 14 February last year inflamed matters, but we've never had an issue with F1, which has been visiting our country since 2004.

"Any death is unfortunate or regrettable but, no, I'm not worried at all. Of course, there are no guarantees in this world, but you could be anywhere, even Silverstone. It will be life as normal.

"We've never had any violence towards foreigners simply because they are foreigners or in F1. There is no violence towards guests of the country, and I don't think there will be any disruption or danger to anybody coming into Bahrain.

"Anybody who has been there before, will see there is no difference now."

The Sheikh repeated the 2012 event's mantra that F1 can help reunite the kingdom, and admitted that he could not wait for the event to return to begin the process as soon as possible.


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