Fears grow for Bahrain season opener after protester deaths

F1 CHIEF Bernie Ecclestone admits civil unrest in Bahrain may force him to scrap the first grand prix of the season, which is due to take place there next month.

Safety fears are growing after a handful of protesters died in clashes with police early yesterday, and Ecclestone is set to make a decision within days.

“It’s not good, is it?” he said. “We’ll have to keep our eye on things and make a decision quickly. I spoke to the Crown Prince this morning. 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.”

Teams are due to ship their cars to Bahrain next week for the final pre-season test on 3-6 March. The race itself is on 13 March and teams are expected to discuss their concerns when they meet in Barcelona today.

This weekend’s GP2 event in Bahrain has been cancelled and Virgin Racing team boss John Booth said: “It’s obviously very disturbing and there is concern.”