The chairman of the Formula One Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA), Pedro de la Rosa, on Thursday said he had no concerns over safety at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 41-year-old Spaniard, who drives for the Hispania team and is respected as one of the senior veterans of the F1 circus after 87 races since 1999, told reporters that he had complete faith in the ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA).
De la Rosa spoke at the Sakhir circuit where the controversial event begins with practice sessions on Friday ahead of Sunday’s race. He said he had not noticed much difference in the on-the-ground security arrangements compared to his previous visits to the Gulf state.
Like the 2009 drivers world champion Briton Jenson Button, the Spaniard underlined that the âdrivers’ union’ had complete faith in the FIA’s decision-making process.
He said: “It’s not a concern. Our view is that we don’t know about the situation here in Bahrain well enough to have a strong opinion about it and we rely on the people who have done all of the research, which is the FIA.
“We haven’t looked into any more details. We trust that people that have done it. That’s the best that you can do — and stay away from the controversy. We are sportsmen and we have to perform at the track full-stop.”
Several drivers have talked about the possibility of making extra security arrangements, but de la Rosa said he is not treating Bahrain this year any differently to any previous running of the event.
He said: “I am following the same process and the same travel arrangements as any other Bahrain Grand Prix that I’ve been involved in. I haven’t seen any differences so far.
“Maybe there is a little bit more security at the entrances of hotels, but I haven’t seen anything different.”
Asked about an incident on Wednesday night when four Force India mechanics, in a car, were caught up in a clash between protesters and the police, and a firebomb was thrown and exploded close to their vehicle, de la Rosa said he was not aware this had happened.
He said: “I don’t know about it. Of course, it’s not a safe situation if that happens, but I don’t know enough about it to say anything.”