F1 chief Ecclestone to let Bahrain Crown Prince decide on Grand Prix

February 20th, 2011 - 8:57 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 20(ANI): Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has said that he will leave the decision on whether to hold next month’s Bahrain Grand Prix to the country’s Crown Prince, Salman ibn Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa.

The season-opening race is in doubt following the anti-government protests in the country.

Ecclestone said that the Crown Prince was best placed to make the call.

“He will decide whether it’s safe for us to be there. I’ve no idea. I’m not there, so I don’t know,” the BBC quoted Ecclestone, as saying.

“We won’t advise people to go unless it’s safe,” he added.

The 80 year-old further said that a decision on the March 13 race on Tuesday.

“Let’s hope it’ll be all right,” Ecclestone said.

Thousands of protesters are continuing to occupy a square in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, in an Egypt-style rebellion demanding political reform and greater freedom.

The opposition groups are not calling for the ruling Sunni monarchy to be ousted, but they want an end to its grip on key decisions and government posts.

Other demands, listed on a poster erected in the ‘Pearl Square’, included the release of all political prisoners, more jobs and housing, an elected Cabinet and the replacement of longtime Prime Minister, Sheik Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

Bahrain is one of the most politically volatile nations in the Middle East’s wealthiest corner despite having one of the few elected parliaments and some of the most robust civil society groups.

The nation’s majority Shiites - about 70 per cent of the population of some 500,000 - have long complained of discrimination and being blackballed from important state jobs. (ANI)

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