Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is optimistic that the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead in March despite bloody riots in the country.

He said: “I spoke to our people that are there…They say it’s quiet, no big problems. Now, they’re there. I don’t know if I was there and you were there that we would say there are problems but that’s what our people have said,” he told BBC radio.

“I’m more hopeful today than I was yesterday.”

Ecclestone spoke before reports on Friday of more shots being fired in Bahrain capital Manama’s Pearl Square.

Four protesters were been killed and 231 injured when police forced activists from a makeshift camp in Manama on Thursday. Scores of people were arrested.

Ecclestone sidestepped questions about whether the sport should take place in a country that shoots people who are calling for democratic change.

“It seems as if people thought it was democratic a few weeks ago,” he said.

“We have never, ever, ever been involved in religion and politics. We don’t make decisions based on those things.

“I hope we don’t have to do anything and can carry on as normal.”