F1 teams Red Bull and Ferrari to let FIA rule on Bahrain Grand Prix

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Bahrain Grand Prix track
The Bahrain Grand Prix was last held in March 2010

The bosses of Formula 1 teams Red Bull and Ferrari say they will let the sport's governing body decide whether to race in Bahrain this year.

The event, cancelled in 2011, is the fourth race on this year's calendar on 22 April.

However, it remains in doubt because of continuing civil unrest.

"We enter a championship run by the FIA and we need to trust in their decision," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

"They have a closer overview than we do, I know they have been looking at it."

His opposite number at Ferrari, Stefano Domenicali, said his team would follow the recommendations of both the FIA and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, the commercial rights holder (CRH).

"There are a lot of rumours about the situation," said Domenicali. "We need to rely on the competent authorities.

"We have the international federations, we have the CRH, we have relations with the country and we cannot rely on different sources of information.

"We need to be very cool and realistic on that, so we need to rely on what the official authorities, who have this responsibility, will tell us."

BBC Sport understands efforts are being made behind the scenes to clarify the situation in Bahrain and that some stakeholders are uneasy about racing in the Gulf state.

The remarks by Horner and Domenicali came on the same day that the Bahrain Formula 1 track announced it had reinstated the staff members sacked in the wake of last year's civil unrest. The decision was made by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, a statement said.

The reinstatement of staff, which the BBC has been unable to independently verify, was one of the recommendations of an independent report into human rights abuses in the Gulf state that was published last year.

With questions still hanging over this year's race, Bahrain has been keen to show it is pursuing reform.

Many of the dismissed staff were from Bahrain's Shia minority, who have a longstanding resentment over discrimination in the country by the Sunni majority.

Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al-Khalifa, chief executive of the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), said: "The reinstatement of our BIC colleagues is part of an important initiative towards national reconciliation and unity for the kingdom as a whole.

"I now look forward to working with all BIC colleagues to ensure that we continue to provide world class track events, which every citizen of Bahrain can be proud to support."

The statement did not say whether all the employees, some of whom alleged that they had been tortured, had accepted their jobs back.

At least 35 people were killed in the protests last year.

Unrest has continued and some opposition parties are still refusing to take part in national reconciliation discussions ordered by King Hamad in the wake of a damning report by a panel of international human rights experts in November.

The report, commissioned by the king, documented numerous and systematic human rights abuses by the government against its citizens, including excessive use of force by police and torture in custody.

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