Ecclestone passes buck over Bahrain decision

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has stated that teams will have the final say over whether they compete in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ecclestone was speaking after learning of the latest outbreak of violence in the troubled Arab state which saw seven policemen injured in a bomb attack.

Last year’s Bahrain GP was initially postponed in the wake of anti-government protests that resulted in a number of deaths and was eventually cancelled.

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The 2012 event – race day is scheduled for April 22 – has been shrouded in controversy due to the continued clashes.

Ecclestone said there were commercial reasons why teams should take part but admitted he could not force individuals to participate.

“We’ve no way we can force people to go there,” he said. “We can’t say ‘you’ve got to go’ – although they would be in breach of their agreement with us if they didn’t go – but it doesn’t help.

“Commercially they have to go, but whether they decide to or not is up to them.

“I’ve had no one say anything other than ‘we’re going to be racing in Bahrain’.”

Although he was unaware of the details of the bomb blast which occurred in Eker, a Shi’ite village outside the capital Manama, he said, at this stage, the race was still on. “Yes. If the people in Bahrain are happy that they can run the event,” he said.

“We’re not involved in any of the politics in Bahrain, over who is right or wrong.

“When you go to somebody’s country, you have to respect exactly how they run their country and the laws of that country.

“The National Sporting Authority in that country are the people who can say ‘well, we think we’d prefer not to run the event’. The promoter can also say we don’t want it because there is too much risk.

“We’ve an agreement with the FIA that Bahrain is a round of the world championship, and we’ve a contract with the promoters, but I want to make clear it’s nothing to do with finance.”

Before Bahrain there is a race in China this weekend and Ecclestone said he would be seeking talks with FIA president Jean Todt.