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Bahrain no safety risk: Schumacher

Alastair Himmer | March 18, 2004 14:46 IST

Michael Schumacher said on Thursday he had no fears about security for next month's Bahrain Grand Prix following the recent bombings in Madrid.

The six-times world champion insisted the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix -- the first Formula One race to be held in the Middle East -- would not pose any added safety risks, despite the country being an ally of the United States.

The Gulf State is also the headquarters of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet.

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"I'm quite sure Bahrain will be one of the most safe places because safety measures will be very high," Schumacher told reporters ahead of Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

"It will be a very important event for the country, so they will take all the measures."

Schumacher, who won the season-opening race in Melbourne this month, said the threat of terrorism would not distract him from his quest to win a seventh world title.

"If you look in history how many times and where terrorist attacks have happened, it can be any time, any place," shrugged the 35-year-old German.

"If you stop to think about it, what can you do? You do whatever you feel you have to do and whatever you feel is the right thing to do."

More than 200 people were killed in series of explosions on rush-hour trains in Madrid on March 11.

Bahrain witnessed anti-U.S. protests against the American-led war in Iraq last year but there have been few attacks on Westerners. Bahrain opened its $150 million Sakhir circuit, which starts from an oasis of palm trees and runs into the desert outside the capital Manama, on Wednesday.

The island state, which has had to counter terrorist threats, will stage the third round of the 2004 season on April 4.

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