Red Bull driver Mark Webber has expressed his disappointment at the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix on the 2011 Formula 1 calendar, and says he "does not feel comfortable" with the prospect of racing in the country in October.
The FIA announced yesterday that the race – postponed from March due to the political situation in the Gulf state – would take place on Oct. 30, with the inaugural Indian GP moved to the season finale slot in a new December date to make space for it. But Webber is still skeptical about whether the Sakhir race will even go ahead.
"My opinion is unchanged since I was first asked about this in late February," he said. "Even though a decision has been made, I'll be highly surprised if the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead this year."
On the eve of the FIA's meeting, Webber had expressed his concern on his Twitter feed, writing: "When people in a country are being hurt, the issues are bigger than sport. Let's hope the right decision is made." He has now reasserted this position, saying returning to Bahrain this year did not reflect well on the sport's morals.
"In my personal opinion, the sport should have taken a much firmer stance earlier this year rather than constantly delaying its decision in hope of being able to reschedule it in 2011," Webber said. "It would have sent a very clear message about F1's position on something as fundamental as human rights and how it deals with moral issues.
"It's obvious that the parties involved have struggled to reach a decision but, sadly, I feel that they still haven't made the right one. Like it or not, F1 and sport in general isn't above having a social responsibility and conscience. I hope F1 is able to return to Bahrain eventually but now isn't the right time."
The Australian added that he fears F1's presence in the country will only exacerbate the political tensions.
"As a competitor I do not feel at all comfortable going there to compete in an event when, despite reassurances to the contrary, it seems inevitable that it will cause more tension for the people of that country," he said. "I don't understand why my sport wishes to place itself in a position to be a catalyst for that."