F1 opener called off due to protest

The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix has been called off due to civil unrest in the Gulf kingdom.

Bernie Ecclestone, the president and chief executive of Formula One, said the race was postponed to avoid potential trouble during the event.

Due to the anti-government protests in the country, six people lost their lives last week, while many hundreds were injured.

The crown prince, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Ecclestone and FIA thought it was right to call off the race after human rights activists said they would target the international sports event to further their cause.

Ecclestone told BBC Sport: "I'm a little bit disappointed that it has now been postponed, but if you look at the way that part of the world is at the moment, it is the only thing anyone could do.

"The crown prince and I discussed the whole thing and did what we thought was right for everybody. We were happy to go along with more or less what he had in mind. It would have been no good us saying 'No, we're going to be there whether you like it or not'.

"The crown prince thought it was the correct thing to do, and that would be on safety obviously.

"Can you imagine if everybody had been there and suddenly there had been a little bit of an uprising again? It would have been bad for everyone."

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