Bahrain F1 future secure - Bernie
NO SUCH THING AS BAD PUBLICITY: Despite ongoing protests Bernie Ecclestone remains optimistic about the future of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
MANAMA, Bahrain - The Bahrain Grand Prix has a solid future, says Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone at a race that anti-government protesters wanted cancelled.
Asked whether the race would stay on the calendar, he said: "Absolutely. Forever. No problem."
The race at the Sakhir circuit passed without incident and was won for Red Bull by Germany's 2011 World champion Sebastian Vettel.
BAHRAIN GP SUCCESS
The 2011 Grand Prix was cancelled after a bloody crackdown on an anti-government uprising and the 2012 drew widespread condemnation from abroad and provoked rage among local opponents.
Asked whether the events of the past week, with the death of a protester and TV images broadcast worldwide of petrol bombs and teargas, would have any impact on the growth of motorsport in the Middle East, Ecclestone was equally upbeat.
Ecclestone said: "I think it's good because people talk about things, you know. You know what they say - there is no such thing as bad publicity. It's growing all the time and other places are interested. It will grow here, for sure."
Bahrain joined the F1 calendar in 2004, Abu Dhabi in 2009. Bahrain also owns 50% of the McLaren Group, parent of the British-based Formula 1 team.