F1 to decide next week on prix

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said he will decide next

week whether the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead, amid reports Friday

that teams were set to debate whether to boycott the race over the

violent unrest in the country.

F1 teams were expected to meet in the next 24 hours with the

ongoing trouble in the Bahraini capital Manama casting doubt over

the viability of the season-opening race.

At least three people were reportedly killed and hundreds

injured when police stormed a camp of demonstrators Wednesday

night.

The new wave of violence, which followed two deaths earlier in

the week, led to the cancellation of this weekend’s GP2 Asia Series

event at the circuit in Sakhir, situated less than 12.5 miles

southwest of Manama.

F1 preseason testing is set to take place at the circuit from

March 3 to 6 ahead of the season-opening race from March 11 to 13,

but those dates now also have question marks over them.

“It’s not good, is it? We’ll have to keep our eye on things and

make a decision quickly,” said Ecclestone, who confirmed he made

contact with Crown Prince Salman ibn Hamad ibn Isa al Khalifa on

Thursday.

“He doesn’t know any more than you or I, but they’re monitoring

exactly what is going on. Next week we will make a decision on what

we are going to do,” he said.

The decision on whether the race can go ahead rests with

Ecclestone, the president of motor racing’s governing body the FIA,

Jean Todt, race organizers in Bahrain and the prince.

Todt earlier called for cool heads, but the new developments,

including the calling off of the GP2 Asia race, complicated the

situation.

“As you can imagine we are monitoring events extremely closely

— every five minutes,” an FIA spokesman said. “The president

is looking at the matter closely, and when there is something to

announce we will let everybody know.”

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