Formula 1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone (centre) poses with Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa (left) and FIA President Jean Todt before the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Sakhir circuit in Manama.

Manama - The Bahrain Grand Prix has a solid future and all publicity is good, Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone said on Sunday at a race that anti-government protesters had wanted cancelled.

Asked whether the race would stay on the calendar, the 81-year-old Briton told Reuters: “Absolutely. Forever. No problem.”

The race at the Sakhir circuit passed without incident and was won for Red Bull by Germany's world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Last year's Grand Prix was cancelled after a bloody crackdown on an anti-government uprising and Sunday's drew widespread condemnation from abroad and provoked rage among local opponents.

Asked whether the events of the past week, with the death of a protester and television images broadcast worldwide of fiery petrol bombs and teargas, would have any impact on the growth of motorsport in the Middle East, Ecclestone was equally upbeat.

“I think it's good because people talk about things, you know. You know what they say - there is no such thing as bad publicity,” he said.

“It's growing all the time, and other places are interested. I think it will grow here for sure,” added Ecclestone, who owns the commercial rights to Formula 1. - Reuters