- Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain agrees to call off race
The organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix have abandoned their plans to host a Formula One race in 2011 after pressure from the teams in recent days.
Last Friday the FIA World Motor Sport Council agreed to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix on October 30 in place of India that in turn was set to be rescheduled for December. However, earlier this week the teams wrote to the FIA, Formula One Management and the Bahrain organisers saying they were not willing to extend the calendar and would not agree to the date changes.
On Wednesday Bernie Ecclestone admitted the race was "not on" and late on Thursday Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani released a statement confirming that the event was indeed off.
"Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the grand prix progress on October 30th in-line with the World Motor Sport Council's decision, it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision," he said. "Bahrain has always sought to play a positive role in the continued development of Formula One, from pioneering F1 racing in the Middle East, to helping other countries in facilitating their own races in new territories, as well as providing our own unique experience and universal welcome to grand prix supporters."
As a result India will be reinstated in its October 30 position with the Bahrain Grand Prix set to return as the 2012 season opener.
"Bahrain has absolutely no desire to see a race which would further extend the calendar season [and] detract from the enjoyment of F1 for either drivers, teams or supporters," added Alzayani. "We want our role in Formula One to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been, therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season.
"We look forward to welcoming teams, their drivers and supporters back to Bahrain next year and would like to extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters, including staff, volunteers, sponsors, private businesses and the general public, for whom I know this year's decision will be a disappointment.
"We would also especially like to thank the FIA, FOM, The Bahrain Motor Federation and the teams for all support and understanding they have extended to us at this time."
The next step is for the FIA to make the cancellation official, although a spokesperson said the governing body had yet to recieve a revised calendar from Ecclestone and FOM.
"In the light of the statement by the Bahrain International Circuit, we are now waiting for the commercial rights holder [Ecclestone] to suggest a new calendar to the World Motor Sport Council," the spokesperson told Reuters.