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APRIL 19, 2013

Alonso says F1 should not be political over Bahrain controversy

Fernando Alonso has played down the significance of this weekend's Bahrain grand prix, suggesting the sport should not be picking which of its host countries' controversies to weight into.

The Spaniard was asked in the island Kingdom on Thursday if formula one should be in Bahrain amid protests against the government.

"If we start to look into that," the Ferrari driver is quoted by El Pais newspaper, "then when we go to China we should be concerned about what happens in their factories.

"Or what about India, where it is said that children are exploited, or Spain where there is political corruption?" added Alonso.

Protesters around Bahrain were on Thursday burning tyres for makeshift roadblocks, and it is reported "huge" demonstrations are planned to coincide with Friday's practice sessions.

But an unnamed senior official of an F1 team told the Financial Times: "We are more stoic, more phlegmatic (than last year)."

An FIA spokesman added: "If there is some sort of unrest outside the circuit, it will be for the local authorities to handle."