Is F1 exaggerating bringing the GP2 Series two weekends in a row in Bahrain?

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Besides the F1 formula one Grand Prix scheduled for this weekend, Bahrain’s motorsport fans will also be able to enjoy twice the GP2 Series this month at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, the Bahrian News Agency said in a report published last week.

The GP2 series 2012 will be racing in Bahrain this coming weekend and next weekend (April 28th and 29th). The GP2 is a form of open wheel motor racing designed to make racing affordable for the teams and to make it the perfect training ground for life in Formula One. It will be the only time this season that the GP2 Series will be racing at the same track twice.

Despite the controversies over the F1 Bahrain Grand prix, Bernie Eclesstone, president and CEO of Formula One Management, announced last week that the race will not be cancelled claiming that the situation in Bahrain is calm.

Last week, John Yates, who was sent to Bahrain to reform security forces, said in a letter addressed to International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt that "Along with my family, I feel completely safe. Indeed, safer [in Bahrain] than I have often felt in London," a statement that contradicts the reality on the ground, where clashes between police forces and protesters happen almost every day.

On Friday, police fired tear gas at thousands of mourners who gathered for the funeral of citizen journalist Ahmed Ismael who died last month after receiving a bullet in the upper right thigh whilst filming the crackdown of security forces on a demonstration. According to the opposition a 15-year-old mourner was shot while attending the funeral.

Al-Wefaq society, the main opposition group in Bahrain, has planned a whole week of demonstrations starting today to protest against Eclesstone's decision.

Last year's events led to the cancellation of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix which reportedly cost the country $500 million. Thus explaining the regime's determination to go ahead with the race. Speaking at the official ticket launch, Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, the chief executive of the Bahrain International Circuit, said "The economic impact of the grand prix runs into the millions of dollars and it ties us to the world in that we – this small island of Bahrain – are part of a very unique group and really become a world player with this race."

Majority Shi'ites, who complain of political and economic marginalisation, led a protest movement that erupted in February last year after revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, only to be crushed in mid-March when the government imposed martial law and brought in Saudi and United Arab Emirates troops. More than a year after the beginning of the uprising, the opposition continue their struggle against the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family, which has ruled the Shi'ite-majority country for more than two centuries.

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