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Damon Hill believes the time is now right for Formula 1 to make a Bahrain return. In 2011, the 1996 World Champion was strongly against racing in the Arab nation as political unrest ruled proceedings, although he is confident that the situation has now been rectified to an acceptable level.
“I do not like seeing people shot and brutalised,” Hill, former President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) and now a Sky television pundit, told The Times. “I was frustrated last year that Formula 1 did not raise its voice against what was happening - but a lot has changed there since then.
“It is clear that the situation in Bahrain is better understood and I don't think anyone would want to go back to Bahrain if there was suffering, just because of a Grand Prix. I listened to a lot of people there, including eye-witnesses. I believe they are making change for the better.
“There is no question they have issues, but every country has issues; we had riots here in the UK not so long ago. This time, Formula 1 can go to Bahrain with a clear conscience and not just as a tool for some sort of cover-up.”
Last year, the season-opening race was put back by a fortnight as the Bahrain event was postponed and eventually cancelled. Sakhir is now scheduled to return on 22 April as Round 4 of the World Championship trail.
Also on Wednesday:
Hill: Hamilton must keep eye on the job
|2012 Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix|
|26 Apr '12||Ricciardo not yet refreshed after disappointment|
|25 Apr '12||Di Resta hails Force India’s best performance|
|25 Apr '12||Interview with Force India’s Paul di Resta|
|23 Apr '12||No doubts about Grand Prix, says Bahrain boss|
|23 Apr '12||F1 video: Rosberg - 'Stewards said tough but okay'|
|4 Jan||Hill sees world title potential in son Josh|
|22 Oct '12||Photos: Hill drives Red Bull at Barcelona|
|22 Oct '12||Hill drives 2010 Red Bull in Barcelona|
|17 Oct '12||Hill to drive Red Bull F1 car in Barcelona|
|1 Oct '12||Hamilton had to leave McLaren, says Hill|
|19 May||Hamilton: We must keep focusing on races|
|19 May||Video of the Day: LEGO Ferrari Formula 1 car|
|18 May||Rosberg hopes to capitalise on one-lap pace|
|18 May||Video of the Day: A closer look at braking|
|17 May||Video: Caterham's Spanish GP review|
|More Damon Hill photos|