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Ecclestone to decide on Bahrain next week

LONDON, February 18 – Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone said Thursday he will decide whether or not to cancel next month's Bahrain Grand Prix after the weekend following days of violent unrest in the kingdom.

The GP2 Series race scheduled to take place in Bahrain this week has already been cancelled after pro-democracy protests that have led to deadly clashes with police, organisers said Thursday.

With Formula One due to launch its season in Manama on March 13, Ecclestone has raised the prospect of the event being scrapped.

Earlier this week, rights groups in Bahrain reportedly threatened to target the race for protest action.

Ecclestone confirmed Thursday he had spoken to Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa over prospects for the race.

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"It’s not good is it?" he told Britain’s Press Association. "We’ll have to keep our eye on things and make a decision quickly.

"I spoke to the Crown Prince this morning. He doesn’t know any more than you or I, but they’re monitoring exactly what is going on.

"Next week we will make a decision on what we are going to do."

Prior to the Grand Prix, the Formula One circus is due to to roll into Bahrain for a final testing session to run from March 3-6.

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Earlier this week, Ecclestone acknowledged the prospect that Bahrain event could be disrupted by protesters.

"The danger is obvious, isn’t it?" Ecclestone said

"If these people wanted to make a fuss and get worldwide recognition it would be bloody easy, wouldn’t it?

"You start making a problem on the start grid in Bahrain and it would get worldwide coverage."

Three people were killed and nearly 200 injured after Bahrain police cracked down on pro-democracy protesters early Thursday.

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The unrest in the small Gulf island state is part of a wave of protests that have rippled across North Africa and the Middle East since the revolt that ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January.


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