Formula 1 personnel have so far been untroubled by the myriad of protests and rallies that have taken place this week, even if there is an anti-F1 slant in some places. That was evident yesterday in the village of Al Dair where a 5,000-strong group of men, women and children staged a pro-democracy demonstration, but also voiced their opposition towards F1.
Where the sport is concerned, however, the emphasis is on safety, and it is apparent that on the roads to the Sakhir International Circuit there is an increased police presence with scores of vehicles. Whether it is enough to deter some protesters, in particular the more hardline Coalition of the Youth of the Feb 14 Revolution, remains to be seen.
Button, when asked whether he had any safety concerns this weekend, issued a firm: “No.”
He added: “I trust in the FIA that they know all the information – I don’t personally – so we have to trust in their decision. I don’t think they will ever want to put us at risk. They do a lot on safety for drivers, in terms of the circuits and the cars and what have you, and that’s a priority for them. So I believe in the FIA’s decision. If everything is straightforward and nothing happens, it’s not even going to be in the back of my mind at all.”
For all the teams and drivers it is now simply a case of getting through the weekend, placing as much emphasis as possible on the racing without getting distracted by events elsewhere in Bahrain. For Button, who has spent the last couple of days warm-weather training in Dubai after a chilly weekend in Shanghai, the heat of the Middle East is certainly welcome.
With temperatures expected to be over 30 degrees centigrade, Button added: “It’s a massive thing for us, for me especially. I don’t know why I can’t work tyres in cold conditions. It must be the way I drive. I’ve tried driving differently but it doesn’t work. Heat really helps me.”
Despite that, Button still managed to finish second in China behind maiden winner Nico Rosberg to trail McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton by two points in the drivers’ standings. His aberration aside in Malaysia, when he collided with the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan on a damp track, Button has been first and second in the other two races.
“The table makes for good reading at the moment,” said Button. “It’s not quite as good as Lewis, but we’re very close. Only two points between us. The thing we’ve got to take from the first three races, in terms of the performance of our car, is that we might not have been the quickest all the time, but we’ve been close to being the quickest and that is important.
“In our hearts we want to win every race, and that’s what we come racing for, but we have to be consistently fighting for victories.”