Bahrain bosses respond to race doubts
The Bahrain International Circuit has launched a counter-offensive amidst continued reports that next weekend's race could be cancelled.
In particular, the BIC has provided a briefing from Lotus, sent to all Formula One team principals and dated April 5 following a visit to the troubled Gulf kingdom by two representatives, which said: "We came away from Bahrain feeling a lot more confident that everything is in hand."
BIC chairman Zayed Al Zayani has severely criticised what he sees as a vicious rumour mill surrounding the race due to take place at the Sakhir venue on April 22, saying: "This, combined with the scaremongering tactics of certain small extremist groups on social networking sites, has created huge misconceptions about the current situation."
The Lotus report read: "Yes there is a need to keep the circuit and the teams secure and they are doing this and they feel very comfortable about the arrangements.
"If there is going to be protestation then it will be confined to peaceful protests - you will maybe see some banners being waved and maybe some tyres on fire, but that is all they expect.
"To be honest if it wasn't for a few more police you wouldn't know any difference from the last year we were there."
Al Zayani added: "What has been happening is that armchair observers, who have not been sufficiently interested or committed to investigate the situation for themselves, have been driving this debate, at the expense of those neutral parties who have taken the trouble to investigate the situation at first hand...
"I therefore urge all stakeholders in the sport to listen to those with an informed, educated view of the situation and to form their views on the facts of the situation, as presented by neutral first-hand observers."
The BIC has also provided statements made recently from Iain Lindsay, the British ambassador to Bahrain, and John Yates, the former assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police.
Yates said: "People can be assured that if problems arise, then there will be a plan to deal with that," while Lindsay added that he has "little doubt the Bahraini authorities will do everything they can to ensure the Grand Prix goes off smoothly".