Skip to main content

Schumacher: I feel safe in Bahrain

April 13, 2012 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael Schumacher says he feels safe going to Bahrain
  • Seven-time champion has friends in the gulf kingdom
  • Red Bull's Mark Webber says he wants to race in Bahrain
  • F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone meeting teams Friday

(CNN) -- Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has dismissed security fears ahead of next week's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The race is in doubt for the second straight year amid anti-government protests and civil unrest in the Gulf kingdom.

Seven policemen were injured Monday in a demonstration calling for the release of human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is on a hunger strike in protest at the life sentence he received for his alleged role in the ongoing troubles.

But Schumacher, who is in Shanghai ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, told CNN he had no concerns about competing in Bahrain.

Economic importance of Bahrain F1 race
Mexico's new F1 hero
Vettel on Bahrain F1 uncertainty

"I have good friends over there and I feel safe there," he said.

Schumacher's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg told CNN that he had confidence in the FIA, the world governing body of motorsport, to make the right decision.

"They are the best people to judge, we just have to trust the FIA," he said.

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone is due to meet the 12 F1 team principals in Shanghai Friday and FIA president Jean Todt when he arrives in China 24 hours later.

Ecclestone told gathered reporters that he believed the grand prix, the fourth round of this year's championship, would still go ahead.

"It's another race on the calendar, it's scheduled," said the 81-year-old. "The only people that can do anything about it is the National Sporting Authority in the country.

"They can ask for it to be withdrawn from the calendar. Unless it gets withdrawn by them, then we'll be there."

If we had a choice would we go? I want to race. That is what I would like to go there and do
Mark Webber

Red Bull's Mark Webber, who publicly opposed going to Bahrain last year, told his official press conference Thursday that he wanted to race, but it was a difficult decision.

"I have tried to watch the news to get the most balanced view that I can possibly get without getting too corrupted by false information," Webber told gathered reporters.

"It has been a little quieter, but this is Mark Webber sitting here -- I have as much information as anyone else.

"If we had a choice would we go? I want to race. That is what I would like to go there and do.

"But saying that you cannot ignore the fact that all of us, in the backs of our minds, want it to go down smoothly and don't want it to be involved in the unrest."

Meanwhile, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton has had a five-place grid penalty imposed for Sunday's race in Shanghai due to a change of gearbox.

Hamilton, who has started on pole for the opening two races of the season, finishing third each time, will now occupy the third row at best due to the penalty.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)
The Williams team welcomes the biggest rule changes to Formula One cars for a generation.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1916 GMT (0316 HKT)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Formula One is taking another step in its techno evolution this season, which could be more unpredictable than it has been for a long time.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 2255 GMT (0655 HKT)
Susie Wolff
Despite being a sport well into its seventh decade, only two women have ever driven in Formula 1 but Susie Wolff hopes to become the third.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin watches the men's cross-country 4 x 10km relay event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on February 16, 2014. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL/ MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV (Photo credit should read MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Formula One racing director Bernie Ecclestone talk during a ceremony of signing of an agreement to bring Formula One racing to Sochi for a Grand Prix Russia to be held in 2014, the same year the Black Sea resort hosts the Winter Olympics in Sochi on October 14, 2010. Putin, whose backing was crucial in Sochi winning the right to host the Games, is due in the city on Thursday to sign an agreement for work to begin on the construction of a new 200 million dollar circuit. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Vilified by the the international community for his government's attitude on gay rights, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found an ally.
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 1217 GMT (2017 HKT)
CNN's Rosie Tomkins speaks to Caterham F1 owner Tony Fernandes on the team's driver line-up for 2014.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is bidding for a fifth consecutive drivers' championship in 2014.
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
ADVERTISEMENT