Bahrain Crown Prince confirms race go-ahead

Bahrain Grand Prix
© PA Photos
Bahrain's Crown Prince insists that it is safe enough in the Gulf state to host a Formula 1 race, despite increasing political pressure for a late cancellation.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain has responded to claims that this weekend's Formula 1 race in the Gulf state should be cancelled.

Political pressure has increased after motorsport's biggest event travelled to the Middle East this week, spotlighting the state's regular protestations and human rights issues.

"I think cancelling the race just empowers extremists," the Crown Prince told reporters.

"For those of us who are trying to navigate a way out of this political problem, having the race allows us to build bridges across communities and get people working together.

"[The race] allows us to celebrate our nation as an idea that is positive, not one that is divisive."

Standing alongside the Crown Prince was F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and he confirmed that teams should feel safe travelling to and from the Bahrain International Circuit after both Force India and Sauber encountered incidents on the road back to their hotels this week.

However, Ecclestone also revealed that it was perhaps "a little bit silly" putting the race on, saying: "His Royal Highness was a little bit silly putting the race on, he's given the protestors an incredible platform to talk to all you guys (the reporters)."

Labour leader Ed Miliband this afternoon called upon David Cameron and the Government to oppose the race going ahead.

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