F1 teams rattled by Bahrain petrol bombs

Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:05am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Sauber revealed their Bahrain Grand Prix mechanics had witnessed masked protestors throwing petrol bombs and Force India pulled out of second practice for safety reasons on Friday after an earlier scare.

Swiss-based Sauber said in a statement that the mechanics had seen flames in the road after they left the Sakhir circuit in a minibus on Thursday night to return to their hotel in Manama.

"At 20:50 hrs the 12 mechanics being on that bus noticed fire on the medial strip of the highway. The traffic was slow, cars had their hazard flashers on," the Formula One team said.

"On the opposite lane there was no traffic. The team members saw a few masked people running from there over to their lane where a bottle was burning as well. The minibus moved to the very right side of the highway and went past the situation."

Four Force India team staff witnessed a similar fiery incident on the highway on Wednesday night.

During second practice, there was nobody on the Force India pit wall and a few mechanics were just working on the cars in the garages.

Force India's deputy principal Bob Fernley said his team would take part in Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race as scheduled.

Asked whether the decision to miss second practice was because the team wanted to make sure their staff were away from the track before nightfall, when more anti-government demonstrations are expected, Fernley said that was not entirely the case.   Continued...