Manama: As thousands of protesters thronged the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Force India team came close to withdrawing itself from the mega event scheduled for Sunday.
The team’s bosses reportedly fought a desperate battle with rattled, annoyed and worried crew, who were ready to return to Britain, claiming the ‘move was a compromise’. Earlier the Northamptonshire team sat out of the second practice run for the race, citing safety concerns after their brush with petrol bombers on Wednesday.
According to the Daily Mirror, the team’s refusal to take to the circuit resulted in a confrontation between F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone and Force India team boss Robert Fernley. Matters took a worse turn when the Force India cars opted to remain absent from TV coverage ¬linked to Ecclestone’s Formula 1 Management company.
Ecclestone denied there was some sort of ‘vendetta’ against the team, and rather claimed that the reason could have technical or the probably the whiskey brands advertised on the car’s body, which happen to be illegal as Bahrain prohibits the advertising of hard liquor being a dry country.
Following Ecclestone’s comments, McLaren removed the ad of Johnnie ¬Walker and Sauber ¬removed Tequila ¬sponsor Cuervo from its car. Reports said the state of Force India is ‘fragile and emotional’.