Formula 1 News

Webber at odds with Bahrain decision

The Aussie Red Bull driver believes the reason for reinstating the Bahrain GP are deeply flawed.
Sunday, June 5, 2011

LONDON, June 4, 2011 (AFP) - Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber said Saturday he was deeply uncomfortable with the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix into the 2011 world championship calendar and forecast the
decision could yet founder.

Although Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has defended the highly controversial decision to reinstate the race - originally postponed from its original season-opening date in March following political turmoil and civil unrest in the Gulf state - Webber is far from convinced the event should go ahead.

"My opinion is unchanged since I was first asked about this in late February. Even though a decision has been made, I'll be highly surprised if the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead this year," Webber said on his website.

"In my personal opinion, the sport should have taken a much firmer stance earlier this year rather than constantly delaying its decision in hope of being able to re-schedule it in 2011.

"It would have sent a very clear message about F1's position on something as fundamental as human rights and how it deals with moral issues."

"It's obvious that the parties involved have struggled to reach a decision but sadly I feel that they still haven't made the right one."

"Like it or not, F1 and sport in general isn't above having a social responsibility and conscience. I hope F1 is able to return to Bahrain eventually but now isn't the right time."

"As a competitor I do not feel at all comfortable going there to compete in an event when, despite reassurances to the contrary, it seems inevitable that it will cause more tension for the people of that country.

"I don't understand why my sport wishes to place itself in a position to be a catalyst for that."

Formula One's ruling body the FIA gave the green light for the race to be reinstated into the calendar for October 30 after a visit by a delegation to assess conditions in Bahrain this week.

The October 30 slot was originally reserved for the inaugural Indian GP which has been shifted to a season-closing date on December 11.

Several teams have expressed unhappiness at the decision but Ecclestone insists that the FIA fact-finding mission had allayed his fears.

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