• Bahrain unrest

FIA delays Bahrain GP decision until May

ESPNF1 Staff
March 9, 2011 « McLaren nose bubble sparks speculation | »
Protesters walk past a poster advertising the cancelled Bahrain Grand Prix last month © Getty Images

The FIA has given the Bahrain authorities until May 1 to decide if they will be able to stage a re-arranged grand prix this season.

The original race on March 13 was cancelled following widespread unrest in the country involving pro-democracy supporters.

Bernie Ecclestone said several times he favoured rescheduling the race for the end of the season, with it being possibly squeezed in between Abu Dhabi and the season finale in Brazil.

There had been speculation the FIA would make a final decision when it met in Paris, but a brief statement said merely that "the Bahrain Motor Federation to communicate by May 1 at the latest if the Bahrain Grand Prix can be organised in 2011".

"I am very happy that we have been given more time by the FIA to accomplish our national goals, so that we may hopefully stage our grand prix later this year," circuit boss Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa told the Gulf Daily News. "When things get better, we will do what we can to be back on the race calendar. While it is important for us to have our race, our complete concentration right now must be on a national dialogue."

While there is more calm in Bahrain after the authorities opened discussions with pro-democracy movements, the British Foreign Office is still advising against any but essential travel to the state.

Anti-government demonstrators continue to camp out in Manama's Pearl Square, where seven people died when security tried to clear the area. More than 500 people have been injured since protests began in mid-February.