Berlin, Feb 17 (DPA) Fears over the Formula One (F1) season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, due to be held March 13, are mounting after a practise session for the weekend’s GP2 Asia Series race was called off Thursday.
Ongoing demonstrations in the Gulf state have resulted in several deaths and media reports said that at least three people were killed when police stormed a camp set up by protestors early Thursday.
A statement on the GP2 website said that organisers had decided to postpone the opening practise session as medical staff had been called away from the Bahrain International Circuit.
“The second round of the 2011 GP2 Asia Series was to open today with practice session starting at 11am local time.
“However, due to the current local events, the medical staff normally stationed at the circuit has been temporary called to the city’s hospitals in case of an emergency.
“For obvious safety reasons, the GP2 Series organisers have decided to postpone todays track activity until tomorrow.”
Qualifying and the first race, as well as a practise session will all be held Friday, while the second race will be held Saturday.
On Tuesday, organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix promised a safe race.
In a statement released late Tuesday, the organisers said that everything that could jeopardize the safety would be prevented and the safety of all visitors was of the highest priority.
The unrest led F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to state that he was concerned about the situation.
“The danger is obvious isn’t it? If these people wanted to make a fuss and get worldwide recognition it would be bloody easy, wouldn’t it,” Ecclestone asked in an interview.
“You start making a problem on the start grid in Bahrain and it would get worldwide coverage.”
He said he did not know if they race could be called off. “I have no idea. It is hard to establish exactly what is going on. We are watching events closely. We will rely on what they think the right thing to do is.”
Race organisers said they were monitoring the situation in consultation with officials and would – if necessary – react to further developments.
The sport’s controlling body FIA also downplayed concerns about the race. “FIA, together with the Bahrain motor association, is very optimistic that the situation will be solved peacefully.”