Force India driver German Nico Hulkenberg yesterday said it was “not right” that members of his team had been close to an exploding firebomb — but added he felt safe in Bahrain ahead of this weekend’s controversial Bahrain Grand Prix.
A 4x4 hire car without branding, carrying four Force India mechanics, was in traffic that was caught up accidentally in a clash between protesters and police on the motorway from the circuit at Sakhir back to the capital Manama on Wednesday night. The four were frightened by the incident, but nobody was injured.
Two unrelated team members are to now return home after voicing their concerns on safety grounds. It is understood one of them has a key role as he works on radio transmissions, without which the team will struggle to function.
It has meant there is an uneasy air within Force India as this is the first incident to directly affect a team. Hulkenberg, 24, said he lamented the incident, but added that F1 was only in the Gulf state to deliver a sporting event, a race, and not to cause problems. He told reporters at the circuit: “It is obviously not right that that sort of stuff happens.
“We are here to race. The F1 business is about entertainment, and these sorts of things should not really be happening to us. Whether it is right or not, I don’t really know. It’s difficult to say. I am not a politician, I am a Formula 1 driver.
“But it should not really be happening should it? It is not good that we have to worry about it — but that is the way it is now so let’s see and hope that the rest of the weekend is good and calm.” Asked if he personally felt safe and secure, he said: “Yes, I feel okay, yeah.”