The Bahrain organisers have hit back against recent negative speculation about their race by compiling some positive quotes about the situation in the country – including a view from Lotus personnel who recently paid a visit.
A press release was issued tonight on behalf of BIC by London PR firm Dragon Associates.
It says that two Lotus personnel visited Bahrain and quoted a report they sent to team principals on April 5 as follows: “Yes there is a need to keep the circuit and the teams secure and they are doing this and they feel very comfortable about the arrangements. If there is going to be protestation then it will be confined to peaceful protests – you will maybe see some banners being waved and maybe some tyres on fire but that is all that they expect.
“We came away from Bahrain feeling a lot more confident that everything is in hand and to be honest if it wasn’t for a few more police you wouldn’t know any difference from the last year we were there.”
Exactly who told Lotus to expect only burning tyres and waved banners is not explained.
BIC also quote positive views from Ian Lindsay (British ambassador), Ben Wallace (Chair of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Iran) and Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni (Chairman of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry), all of whom say the race should go ahead.
One of the more intriguing quotes comes from John Yates, described as “a former assistant commissioner in the London Metropolitan Police Service who is an adviser to Bahrain’s Interior Ministry on policing.”
Yates says: “It is very much hoped that the policing will be low key and discreet. But if there are problems, they…must be able to escalate their response if need be. People can be assured that if problems arise, then there will be a plan to deal with that, as there would be with any public event in the world.”
BIC boss Zayed Al Zayani concludes by saying: “What has been happening is that armchair observers – who have not been sufficiently interested or committed to investigate the situation for themselves – have been driving this debate, at the expense of those neutral parties who have taken the trouble to investigate the situation at first hand. This, combined with the scaremongering tactics of certain small extremist groups on social networking sites, has created huge misconceptions about the current situation.”