Bahrain bullish as first teams arrive for troubled Grand Prix

BAHRAIN Grand Prix chiefs have dismissed fears over this week’s race, insisting the troubled Gulf state has a long future ahead on the Formula One calendar.

Ongoing civil unrest, at times erupting into violent protests, has jeopardised the race, which was struck off last year’s schedule over safety concerns. But the first teams arrived yesterday without incident following Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix and circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani is bullish about the prospects of staging the event for many years to come.

“We’ve been in Formula One for seven years and we will be in it for much longer than that,” he said. “We wouldn’t take a decision on a gamble. We are committed to the Grand Prix and to its success.”

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone last week played down claims that teams were reluctant to visit Bahrain but admits the race’s future is in doubt.