Formula One teams have put in place contingency plans in case the Bahrain Grand Prix is called off due to the violent unrest in the Gulf state, The Times newspaper said on Monday.
The race, scheduled for April 22, is under threat as concerns mount about human rights abuses and the fate of a protester on hunger strike for the last two months.
Hundreds of F1 engineers, mechanics and catering staff have been issued with two return tickets from Sunday’s grand prix in China: one for Bahrain and one for Europe and home in case the race was cancelled, The Times said, without quoting sources.
The Bahrain Grand Prix was called off in 2011 due to the unrest that gripped the Shiite-majority state after a mid-March crackdown on protests demanding democratic reforms that would challenge the power of the Sunni Al-Khalifa ruling dynasty.
According to an independent probe, 35 people were killed in the unrest between mid-February and mid-March 2011.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has insisted that a outbreak of fresh violence will not affect this year’s race.
But the crackdown on demonstrations has continued, prompting Shiite activists to demand the race be scrapped.