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Ecclestone warns teams

NEWS STORY
11/04/2012

Thinly veiled threats are clearly the order of the day right now, as Bernie Ecclestone warns teams that missing Bahrain would mean teams have breached their contract with the sport.

After a frantic 24 hours in which some teams remained quiet and others (anonymously) admitted that they didn't want to go, the buck passed from the teams to the FIA to FOM and the Bahrain organizers accused the media of scaremongering, only to have Lotus issue a statement announcing that comments from the team used as a 'testimonial' regarding the event's safety were 'taken' from a confidential report and shouldn't have been used.

While there is talk of human rights, freedom of speech and just about everything else, the sport finally reverted to type, Mike Lawrence's mantra of 'follow the money' once again taking precedence.

In response to an article in the Guardian, whereby Ecclestone said that teams could not be forced to go to Bahrain - thereby appearing to open the door for some to opt out - he subsequently, to the same newspaper, reminded them that they have a contract to participate in every round of the world championship and to miss a round would put them in breach of that contract.

"We can't say: 'You've got to go'," he said, "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.'"

Meanwhile, the Independent claims that Ecclestone has personally contacted Dr Ala'a Shehabi, a writer and activist based in Bahrain, to enquire about the condition of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja who is on the 62nd day of his hunger strike.

"(Mr Ecclestone) said he was very concerned about what is going on," Shehabi told the newspaper. "He said the crown prince told him that Al-Khawaja was doing fine, but I said that I am hearing very different reports."

Dr Shehabi says that Ecclestone has proposed holding a press conference with opposition leaders in Bahrain, the F1 supremo claiming the event could be "an opportunity". Which is one way of describing it.

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