Red Bull driver Mark Webber says whether the Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead or not is a very low priority issue amid the political tension in the country.
Both the Sakhir race and the pre-event test scheduled to happen at the Bahrain venue on March 3-6 have been in doubt following the violent events in Manama this week, when there were fatalities and a large number of injuries when security forces dispersed protesters. The situation now appears calmer, with Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah ordering the military and police to withdraw, and beginning talks between the opposing factions. Formula 1 commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone says he will accept the Crown Prince's instruction on whether the race should go ahead or not, with a decision expected within two or three days.
Webber reckons that in light of other events in the country, whether the F1 race happens or not is "no big deal."
He said: "First of all I'm really, really sorry to hear what's happening out there. It's always been a good place for us to visit that part of the world, whether it's Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Bahrain, so I'm shocked and sad to see the news. But as always you don't really know the whole picture if you're not there. So let's see what happens. I'm sure the right decision will be made in terms of us.
"We know in terms of Formula 1 and priorities we're not high on the list, they've got other things that clearly should come first. Then if we can still go there and hold a sporting event in a few weeks then it would be great. But if we can't then it's not a big deal. We need to let them sort their things out and we'll go to Melbourne [to start the season] if that's the case."
Other drivers have also voiced concerns about Bahrain during the test weekend at Catalunya, with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi admitting the prospect of traveling to the troubled country unnerved him.
"Nobody knows, I'm not judging it. I hear there's a lot of machine guns around..." he said. "I'm scared. I mean, if I have to go, I have to go. It's my job. But do you want to go for a holiday there?"
Renault's Vitaly Petrov believes the political situation in Bahrain must be completely resolved before F1 can consider going to the country.
"At the moment I don't really know what to say, but for sure they must sort out this problem because I think no teams will [want to go] because they have fights and violence," he said. "It's also quite dangerous there and a lot of teams can lose a lot of things.
"I think it's most important to save the people there because now even GP2 was canceled because there was not enough medical people. Anyway, we can change to another country or cancel this event. I think the bosses know what to do."