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British MPs call for cessation of Bloody F1 in Bahrain

Bahrain Grand Prix: MPs want race cancelled because of unrest
16 April, 2013 – BCC Sport

A group of British MPs have called for the Bahrain Grand Prix to be cancelled amid unrest in the Gulf state.

A week of protests to coincide with this weekend’s race began last Friday, organised by the opposition to the ruling royal family.

In a letter to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain said: “We request you cancel the Grand Prix.

“It is likely to attract as much negative publicity as last year.”

The APPG has also written to broadcasters, teams, drivers and sponsors ahead of the Grand Prix.

The 2011 event was postponed and later cancelled after month-long pro-democracy protests were crushed and at least 35 people died.

Reaction of F1 teams

Ferrari: “It is up to the federation [the FIA] to give us any indications as to whether extra precautions need to be taken. So far, no [they haven’t].”

Red Bull: “The team will be vigilant and take sensible precautions, but otherwise we are approaching this race in the same way we do all races.”

McLaren: “The team will be staying very near the circuit, at a hotel that has very good security, and we feel that no extra security measures are therefore necessary for us.”

Williams: “We are adhering to our normal security measures in Bahrain and just using usual common sense, nothing more.”

Mercedes: “The safety of our employees is our highest priority and we will follow the guidance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) concerning travel to the region.”

Last year’s race went ahead once Ecclestone and governing body the FIA said they had been assured the kingdom was safe for F1 personnel.

There are similar concerns this time around and, in a letter signed by 20 MPs, the All-Party Group asked Ecclestone to call off the Grand Prix.

“Since April 2012, many more people including children have lost their lives and the whole country exists in fear and intimidation,” wrote Andy Slaughter, chairman of the Group.

“Last year’s race was held under conditions of martial law. Three hundred protesters were arrested, some spending months in jail.

“I think most democratic-minded people would be appalled if you allowed the Bahrain leg of the Formula 1 championship to go ahead amidst the most atrocious human rights violations.”

A report in the New York Times claimed that authorities in Bahrain were increasing security following a series of explosions in the country. …more

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