Wed, Apr 17, 2013 - Page 20 News List

F1 supremo willing to meet Bahraini opposition

MAKING A STAND:Former world champion Damon Hill has criticized the FIA for saying nothing to distance F1 from ‘things it would find distasteful and upsetting’

Reuters, MANAMA

little progress

The opposition and government resumed reconciliation talks in February for the first time since 2011, when protests were crushed and at least 35 people died, but little progress has been reported.

The opposition puts the death toll at more than 80.

“I wish they could sort things out,” Ecclestone said. “If there are any problems, which there are obviously — people are not making trouble if there are no problems — then they could get it sorted out.”

“I don’t think the people who are arguing about their position are bad people, and I don’t think they’re trying to hurt people to make their point,” he said.

“We’ve had all sorts of protesters — look at those complaining about Mrs Thatcher. This happens all the time. People use these things when there is an opportunity,” he said.

Ecclestone’s comments at least addressed a concern within Formula One that the sport’s leading figures risked making the situation in Bahrain worse by appearing uncaring and unaware of the social problems.

Britain’s 1996 world champion Damon Hill has criticized the governing FIA for saying nothing to distance the sport from “things it would find distasteful and upsetting.”

“I think the vast majority of the people in Formula One would like to say: ‘We don’t want to come here to make things worse for people. We would like you to enjoy Formula One, we think Formula One’s got lots of positive things to offer, but please don’t on our behalf round people up and brutalize them,’” Hill said.

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