Bathgate’s Paul di Resta heads into the controversial Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend admitting there’s “an edge” to the race following a firebomb incident, writes JIM McGILL.
The 26-year-old Scot’s comments came after two of his Sahara Force India team flew back to Britain.
Their decision follows an incident on Wednesday evening in which a Molotov cocktail exploded close to a car in which four team mechanics were being driven from the track.
Though none of the four were injured, the scare was enough to trigger a decision by two other members of the team to leave the insecurity of the Gulf State.
And Di Resta admitted there was now “an edge.”
“The team, like many others, has taken steps on security,” Di Resta, who scored points in the opening two grands prix, said yesterday. “Clearly something has happened and there has been an issue, and we’ve all said we’d take direction from the FIA because they said it is safe. We need to see how things develop. Is it safe? It’s a difficult one, isn’t it? I’m sure it’s affecting everybody at the moment, the actions that have happened.
“I’ve not spoken to everybody within the team, but there is some concern and some people have felt it a bit more than others.
“As for me, I’m pretty neutral. It’s how I’ve felt for the last couple of weeks, although there is an edge to things at the moment.
“It’s early into the weekend, and everybody is here. At the end of the day if there is a race on then I want to be racing.” In the wake of the firebomb incident, Di Resta’s shaken team-mate Nico Hulkenberg said: “It’s obviously not right that sort of stuff happens,”
Wednesday evening’s incident happened when four of the team’s mechanics were driving from the circuit to their hotel. As a clash between protesters and police erupted on the main motorway heading in to the capital, Manama, the mechanics’ unmarked hire car was caught in the disturbance. After being forced to stop, a Molotov cocktail exploded near their car. Fortunately no one was injured. The incident is the latest in the civil unrest which forced the cancellation of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix and continues to threaten this year’s race.
However, Bahrain officials were quick to state the F1 mechanics were not specifically targeted, a point Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani highlighted. “It was an isolated incident,” he said. “The protesters were not targeting the cars, they just happened to be there. Nobody was injured.”