- Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain GP boss hits out at 'temperamental' teams
The chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit Zayed Alzayani has criticised the Formula One teams for being "very temperamental" in their support of his country's event.
The 2011 race was cancelled after civil unrest in the country meant it could not be held at the start of the season and then Formula One could not agree on a suitable date for it to be rescheduled. The teams were against extending the calendar to fit the race back in and eventually the organisers called it off despite the FIA approving a new date.
"It was a unanimous vote of all the 26 World Council members," Al-Zayani told the Evening Standard. "Bernie [Ecclestone] voted for it. On the June 8, I met him here in London. He said, 'There is resistance from the teams but if you want I'll push for it. We'll get it sorted.' He even gave us the option of holding it on December 4. This was never about Bernie losing money by not having a race in Bahrain."
Alzayani said he had been disappointed by the teams' attitude towards the 2011 event.
"They have been very temperamental," he says. "I feel disappointed because it cannot go within three months from one end of the spectrum, 'Oh, you are my favourite destination. We love it here. We feel like we are at home in Bahrain.' To the other, 'We don't want to go to Bahrain.' Yes, events have happened in between but you can't be so temperamental."
Although the teams and the FIA did not raise any moral objections about holding the 2011 race, Alzayani argued it was not fair to single out Bahrain's civil unrest as a reason to cancel the race.
"They're going to the US next year," he says. "What about Guantanamo? Isn't that human rights violation? As Bernie told me, 'If human rights was the criterion for F1 races, we would only have them in Belgium and Switzerland in the future'."
Mark Webber was the only driver to make an official statement in opposition of the race, which Alzayani believes was hypocritical.
"Doesn't Australia have issues with the Aborigines? I don't see Mark Webber talking about that. Why Mark Webber went against Bahrain I don't know. He's raced in Bahrain many times and he's always loved it. We've never had any criticism in the previous seven grands prix. We've always been getting high marks for our organisation, everyone involved at F1 loves it."
He also revealed that the date of the 2012 race is not yet confirmed: "I don't know when the race will be held next year. It's not our call."