F1 chiefs powerless to force teams to Bahrain

London: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone admitted today that he was unable to force teams to participate in this month`s Bahrain Grand Prix following a fresh outbreak of violence in the Gulf state.

Formula One teams are reportedly reluctant to race in Bahrain this season amid ongoing concerns over security in the country.

Last year`s event was postponed following violent anti-government protests before eventually being removed from the schedule altogether.

Now Ecclestone has confirmed that the fate of this year`s event on April 22 could be decided by the teams as authorities in Bahrain confirmed seven policeman were injured late on Monday in a bomb attack.

"We`ve no way we can force people to go there," Ecclestone said. "We can`t say, `You`ve got to go` – although they would be in breach of their agreement with us if they didn`t go, but it doesn`t help.

"Commercially, they have to go, but whether they decide to or not is up to them. I`ve had no-one say anything other than, `We`re going to be racing in Bahrain.`"

Ecclestone added that, as far as he was concerned, this year`s race was still on.

"Yes. If the people in Bahrain are happy that they can run the event," he said. "We`re not involved in any of the politics in Bahrain, over who is right or wrong.”

"When you go to somebody`s country you have to respect exactly how they run their country and laws of that country.”

"The National Sporting Authority in that country are the people who can say, `Well, we think we`d prefer not to run the event.`

"The promoter can also say, `We don`t want it because there is too much risk.`

"We`ve an agreement with (governing body) the FIA that Bahrain is a round of the world championship, and we`ve a contract with the promoters, but I want to make clear it`s nothing to do with finance."

Bureau Report