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Crown Prince confident Bahrain GP will go ahead in 2012

NEWS STORY
12/11/2011

During a visit to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa told reporters that he is confident his country's 2012 race will go ahead.

With little media coverage in recent months, Bahrain remains on the 2012 calendar recently agreed by the Formula 1 Commission. However, the lack of media coverage doesn't mean that all is well, leading to claims that the race might still be cancelled.

Visiting the paddock in Yas Marina today, the Crown Prince was keen to state that all is well and that he is confident the race will go ahead.

"It is looking good," he said. "As a force for moderation, sport is a great unifier.

"There are certainly things that happened in our country that nobody is proud of," he continued, "but we have an important report coming out on Nov. 23 and that will really give us a narrative on the truth that we can accept and move on. The race is seen as the prime symbol of moderation in the country. Anyone with a moderate agenda, a global agenda, knows that race is what ties Bahrain to the world.

"Extremists on either side might disagree," he added, "but the majority of people, especially those that love their country and want it to be part of the world, support it and they will have my support for that.

"This sport has a great following," he continued. "You saw our marshals in India and the pride with which they carried themselves. I would be very sad to let them down, the Bahraini fans and the Gulf fans for not doing all that we can to make our race a great success."

Later this month the United Nations is due to issue a report following its investigation into events that took place earlier this year, at the height of the so-called Arab Spring, which led to what many regard as a bloody and brutal crack down. The sport embarrassingly dithered despite growing criticism finally cancelling the race for logistical reasons.

The Crown Prince is confident that the report will give the country a clean bill of health, essentially giving the green light for the race.

"The report is a milestone," he said. "After that there will be implementation of its recommendations and we will move on. That is the way of the world. The race is a symbol of our national unity. Sports are a great unifier. Yesterday we had a soccer game and everyone was cheering for the same flag. That is what we want to do. We want to bring back to the forefront our spirit of nationalism which is there and is strong. This race is part of our passion."

Though the report has yet to be published, three-time world champion Jackie Stewart yesterday claimed that it will give the thumbs up for the 2012 event , the Scot, a keen ambassador for the event, having made no secret of his frustration that this year's race was cancelled.

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