13 April 2012 10:44

PARIS - Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the confusion previously surrounding the Bahrain Grand Prix has today finally been alleviated.
The FIA broke their silence on the thorny issue of the April 22 race in the troubled Gulf kingdom by announcing the event will go ahead as scheduled.
A statement read: "Based on the current information the FIA has at this stage, it is satisfied that all the proper security measures are in place for the running of a Formula One World Championship event in Bahrain.
"Therefore, the FIA confirms that the 2012 Gulf Air F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain will go ahead as scheduled."
The definitive answer came ahead of a planned meeting today in the Shanghai paddock prior to this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix between F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the team principals.
That meeting lasted barely 10 minutes, and whilst the majority of the bosses or representatives declined to offer a view, Horner at least spoke on behalf of his team.
"We've had the statement, it's very clear," said Horner.
"They (the FIA) have obviously been in consultation with all the relevant parties and so we fully respect their position."
Asked, however, whether he was happy with the decision, Horner gave an indirect reply as he said: "The confusing thing has been the uncertainty.
"So I think for everybody here in the paddock now it's clear that there will be a race in Bahrain next week.
"The FIA have obviously done their research and come out with a clear statement that as a team entered into the championship we respect."
The main question now for the teams is one of safety.
Civil unrest has so far mostly been confined to the villages where groups have clashed with police who have been forced to combat petrol bombs with water cannons, tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.
However, last night an explosion rocked the capital of Manama, and although no-one was injured - just two cars damaged - it is the first serious incident to occur of late at the heart of the country.
"We take the security of all our employees very carefully, so inevitably as with other races sometimes extra precautions are taken," added Horner.
"We'll do our best to ensure that all our guys and girls are in a secure environment, but I don't doubt that for a moment."
It now remains to be seen what response there will be in Bahrain from the anti-government demonstrators who have long campaigned against the grand prix taking place.
Friday is the start of Bahrain's weekend, traditionally a day of prayers, and has become commonplace of late, the day when any major protest has occurred.
Further disruption is also expected tomorrow with a protest outside the British embassy in Manama.
A protest group known as the Coalition Youth of the Feb 14 Revolution - their name taken from last year's 'Day of Rage' that resulted in a number of deaths - have made clear their intentions for next week by vowing to do all they can to disrupt the event, insisting there will be 'three days of anger'.
That could escalate if a jailed rights activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been on hunger strike for two months, should die, with his condition unclear at present after being moved to a military hospital earlier this week.
Despite the FIA's stance, there is every prospect the race could yet be cancelled, as occurred in GP2 last year when that event was called off on the morning ahead of practice and qualifying.
Although Ecclestone claimed to be "200%" certain the race will go ahead, even he concedes there remains scope for a call off.
"There has been enough speculated and said. I think it was a good thing to put something (the statement) out," said Ecclestone.
"I suppose the right thing to do now is to stop speculating and wait and see, then we will deal with any matter when it arises.
"But everybody's happy. We haven't got any problems. It's only a problem being discussed by the media. They don't have any idea what's going on.
"There's nothing happening. I know people who live there and it's all very quiet and peaceful." (PA)