Security ramped up in Bahrain as Grand Prix action gets underway

 

Formula One staff arrived at the Bahrain International Circuit today to increased security ahead of planned protests.

Prior to first practice for this weekend's troubled Bahrain Grand Prix, police vehicles littered the Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa Highway, one of the two main roads out of capital Manama to the track.

On a 32-kilometre stretch there were a total of 79, including cars, bikes and one armoured patrol vehicle.

On arrival at the entrance to the track everybody involved in F1 had their bags searched, walked through a metal detector and was subjected to a body scanner, all exceptionally rare for the sport.

At first glance it would appear there are more police on hand outside than fans inside given the sparse number of spectators in the main grandstand for the initial 90-minute session.

The police presence is essential, though, given a planned protest is scheduled to take place at 4pm local time (2pm BST) on the Zallaq Highway, two kilometres north of the circuit close to the University of Bahrain.

A protest group known as the Coalition of the Youth of the Feb 14 Revolution have promised 'three days of rage' across Bahrain, starting today, which is the start of the weekend.

The Coalition are calling on people in the closest villages to the circuit - Dar Kulaib, Shahrakan, Hamala, Karzakan, Malkiya, Sadad - to gather and march on the main highway that leads to the BIC.

In light of what happened to Force India personnel on Wednesday night when a car carrying four team members was caught up in a violent clash between police and protesters, it is understood no further incidents involving anybody from F1 occurred last night.

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley, who yesterday allowed two of his staff to return home after they cited safety concerns, was a relieved man.

"Everything is fine for us, we're all in good shape, the guys are happy, no issues," Fernley told Press Association Sport.

"There was absolutely nothing last night. We had a perfect trip back."

Fernley again insisted he had no qualms with the two who opted to return home. He added: "When you've personal issues you are not comfortable with, we have to respect that.

"We're a team. We're not a group of people telling people what to do. If they're uncomfortable we have to recognise that and support them.

"That applies to all the guys, but those that are here are here because that is where they want to be."

PA

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor