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Start your engines... Thumbs up from Bahrain GP boss

It’s going ahead and Zayed Al Zayani is confident Sunday’s Formula One race will run smoothly despite safety concerns.

Nico Rosberg during the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
Nico Rosberg during the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
Image: Andy Wong/AP/Press Association Images

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX boss Zayed Al Zayani is confident Sunday’s Formula One race will run smoothly despite safety concerns.

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone gave the race in Sakhir the go-ahead on Thursday after speculation it would be called off for the second straight year due to civil unrest. Staff members from several teams have started arriving in Bahrain, and race chief Al Zayani said on Monday their concerns would be eased when they landed.

“Some are still sceptical but I think seeing is believing and when they come down and see how things are they will feel different,” Al Zayani told Autosport. ”I just talked to (Red Bull team principal) Christian Horner and he has a team there already, and things are normal.

“They went out for dinner last night and everything is okay. Bernie (Ecclestone) said everything is fine. I have been around every team (in China) and I think people appreciate what we have tried to do, keeping them in touch with what the actual developments are.”

Last year’s race in Bahrain, scheduled for March, was postponed due to pro-democracy protests, with the race removed from the calendar in June.  Protests are ongoing in the Middle Eastern country, but Al Zayani insists the country is ready to host the race.

“This year we are 100% confident that we are good enough to host it. It was our choice last year and it is our choice this year,” he said.  ”But they (the critics) don’t seem to mention that – they say the race was cancelled, but cancelled by who? To me that is significant.

“We wouldn’t take a gamble. We know what the stakes are, and it is a calculated decision not an emotional decision.  There is a lot of support from the country because the grand prix is our largest event both economically and socially.”

Meanwhile, Horner’s Red Bull team will be looking for improvement after both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel missed out on the podium at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the race in Shanghai after his team’s controversial rear wing was declared legal, and Horner said a technical change was a possibility for Red Bull.

“I think there’s been a lot said and a lot of fuss about it (the wing). They’ve optimised and capitalised on it so inevitably now we’ll all pursue our own solutions,” Horner said. ”I think first of all, like any component, it has to earn a place on the car as a package.”

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