In an exclusive sit-down interview with CNN's Eunice Yoon, Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone says the decision to not cancel next weekend's F1 race in Bahrain has nothing to do with the country's unrest.
"I understand the problems in Bahrain have nothing to do with Formula One," said Ecclestone. "Quite the opposite - we have a lot of support. I mean, there are other issues in Bahrain, but nothing to do with us. We don't go into a country and interfere with the politics of the country anywhere wherever we go."
Ecclestone also said that sport and politics should not mix.
"I don't think sport should be involved in politics. When any sport goes into a country, they respect the laws of the country whatever they are."
Full transcript after the jump.
Eunice Yoon, CNN correspondent: Why did Formula One choose Bahrain as a Grand Prix venue?
Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One CEO: We agreed that it would be on the calendar last year sometime. Like all the world championship.
Yoon: Did any of the teams come to you with concerns about racing in Bahrain?
Ecclestone: Not at all. We had a normal meeting about other matters. And I just sort of asked ... Nobody seemed to have any concerns.
Yoon: What assurances did you get from Bahrain about safety and security?
Ecclestone: We haven’t asked anybody. We have an event in Bahrain that has been on the calendar since last October and the people that are the National Sporting Authority in that country are the only people that could change anything if they wanted to. They were the ones that applied for the date so if they didn’t want the race to take place they would apply for it to be removed.
Yoon: There’s been so much anger on the ground in Bahrain and the anti-government protests that have been directed towards the Grand Prix. Do you think that that’s fair?
Ecclestone: I understand the problems in Bahrain have nothing to do with Formula One. Quite the opposite - we have a lot of support. I mean, there are other issues in Bahrain, but nothing to do with us. We don't go into a country and interfere with the politics of the country anywhere wherever we go.
Yoon: Does sport have a responsibility to bear in a country’s politics?
Ecclestone: No, quite the opposite. I don't think sport should be involved in politics. When any sport goes into a country, they respect the laws of the country.
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