Most F1 drivers continue to avoid making any comments on the situation in Bahrain, despite reality hitting home in the paddock after members of the Force India team were caught up in an incident last night.
Having talked to the people directly involved Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Paul Di Resta expressed some reservations, but the big names continue to follow a politically correct path and avoid any controversy.
While for obvious reasons no one expects them to get involved in a political or human rights debate, most declined to offer even a simple comment on the safety of their own team members being of concern.
“I think generally being in the paddock surely there is no problem,” said Sebastian Vettel. “Being outside of the paddock, maybe there is a risk, but there’s a risk everywhere we go. If you imagine when we go to Brazil, it’s not the place you want to be, as well, depending on the area you are. It’s not a big problem and I’m happy once we start testing tomorrow then we worry about the stuff that really matters – tyre temperatures, cars…”
To make it clear Vettel did offer a grin and was trying to lighten the mood with the latter remark.
Asked if he would go home if a petrol bomb landed near his car, Vettel said: “I don’t know, it never happened to me, I hope it doesn’t happen to me in the future.
“I haven’t seen anyone throwing bombs. I don’t know, I don’t think it’s that bad. A lot of hype, that’s why I think it’s good we start our job here, which is the sport, and nothing else.”
He was also asked about those who oppose the race: “I haven’t met them, maybe it’s because I only arrived this morning, but I haven’t seen much of what people are talking about.”
Meanwhile Jenson Button said: “I’m not going to get into the details of it. You’re here interviewing me as a driver. Exactly what I’m going to talk about is motor racing. That’s the important thing at the moment. The outside issues, I’m not going to talk about, because it’s not what I’m here to do.”
Asked by this blog about talking to him as a human being, he said: “No but you’re not are you? You’re sat here with a tape recorder in front of me. If I wasn’t racing in F1, would you have that in front of me? You might have but I wouldn’t be able to answer any questions…”
Pressed on the fact that his mechanics were here to work for the drivers and were potentially at risk, he said: “That’s wrong in itself, we’re here to work together as a team, they’re not here just to work for us.”
Meanwhile asked about the Force India incident, Fernando Alonso admitted that he didn’t know any details, but said the sport takes its lead from the FIA.
“I don’t have all the information now to have the right answer for sure,” said Alonso. “There is nothing new to say from me, to be honest. We are here because the decision made by people who had all the information in their hands, the FIA etc, so we are following their instructions. If we are here it’s because everyone thinks we safe to be here, so no problem. But obviously we need all the information about this incident, etc.”
Michael Schumacher refused point blank to make any comment: “If you don’t mind I don’t really want to get involved. I’d just like to say I don’t want to mix the sport with political things. I’m here for the sport.”