Formula One may not (yet) be a direct target of anti-government protesters in Bahrain but that doesn’t mean that personnel from the 12 visiting teams are not entirely out of danger. This was brought home by an incident on Wednesday in the Gulf kingdom where a van carrying four members of the Sahara Force India team was delayed in traffic after a roadside bomb exploded in the capital Manama.
The team’s spokesman, Will Hings, told reporters via a conference call that none of the team members was hurt. However, reports from the Gulf kingdom state that two team members from the van had chosen to leave Bahrain and go back to Europe.
Also speaking on the conference call was Nico Hulkenberg, one of the team’s drivers. The German stated that while he considered it unfortunate that the country was going through such turmoil, his focus was on the race. “I’m not a politician, I’m a Formula 1 driver,” said Hulkenberg. “It is sad that the country is going through such problems but we are here to race and not get involved with anything else.”
A spokesman for the British-based team said one of officials who left was a team member, the other a radio contractor.
He said four team members, including the contractor, had been returning in their rental vehicle to their Manama hotel from the Sakhir circuit when a petrol bomb landed on the highway and burst into flames. The circuit issued a statement referring to “an isolated incident”. During this incident a Molotov Cocktail landed in the vicinity of their vehicle. After approximately two minutes, the route was cleared and the vehicle carried on its journey," it added.
Nico impressed by Indian rookies
Nico Hulkenberg also spoke about the team’s ‘One from a billion’, initiative to find and groom Indian drivers for F1. Hulkenberg was one of the judges of the talent search that was held in India throughout last year.
Arjun Maini, Tarun Reddy and Jehan Daruvala (14, 14 and 13-years-old, respectively) were the three drivers who were announced as the winners of the driver search during last year’s Indian Grand Prix and the three will make their debut in the British-based Super One karting championship. Started in 1983, the championship’s previous participants include Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Lewis Hamilton.
“What I saw of Tarun (Reddy) was very good,” said Hulkenberg. “He’s got good speed but ultimately it’s going to come down to who is the most serious.”