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Force India shortens practice

4/20/2012 - Formula 1

SAKHIR, Bahrain -- Formula One team Force India said it will end its second practice session early at the Bahrain Grand Prix due to safety concerns.

Deputy team principal Robert Fernley says the decision was made following the first practice session and a day after two Force India team members left the Gulf nation in the wake of a team vehicle being briefly delayed because of a firebomb.

The announcement also comes amid reports that anti-government protests will start at 4 p.m. local time, about 30 minutes after practice ends.

The sport's governing body, the FIA, released a statement confirming Force India would miss the second practice after neither of its two drivers took the track. It said both drivers would miss the practice due to "logistical reasons" that will force the team to "run a rescheduled program for the rest of the weekend."

Force India driver Paul Di Resta was third fastest in the first session and Nico Hulkenberg was sixth.

The Bahrain Grand Prix was canceled last year due to anti-government protests and this year's race has been overshadowed by sometimes violent clashes. The ruling Sunni dynasty supports the race, but it is opposed by demonstrators who contend it rewards an abusive regime.