Bahrain could oppose F1 race in Qatar
Bahrain has made clear it does not think the Middle East can accommodate another grand prix as Qatar sets its sights on race in the near future.
Bahrain has an agreement with Bernie Ecclestone whereby any new races in the region have to get its go-ahead before being added to the F1 calendar. The deal could stand in the way of Qatar as it pushes for a grand prix of its own alongside neighbouring states Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Bahrain's F1 CEO Sheikh Salman bin Isa al Khalifa said he does not think the growing fanbase in the Middle East is big enough to accommodate a third grand prix every year.
"The thing with Mr Ecclestone is how he values friendship. He appreciates the step we took - as we were the first people to take a chance [In the Middle East," al Khalifa told Autosport. "I think F1's culture is growing [in the Middle East], and we can see it slowly coming about. But my personal opinion of having another race - wherever it is - I don't think we are ready for that."
However, the FIA vice president in the Middle East, Nasser Khalifa al Attiyah of Qatar, believes competition between events is good for the region and underlined Qatar's ambitions to host an F1 race.
"It is good for the region if there is a competition between countries in the region," al Attiyah was quoted by Crash.net. "Everyone wants to prove that they have better races, this has helped all of the countries. I treat the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) market as an open market. There are no rules for this market, you can have ten flights between Qatar and Bahrain or the UAE each day, so this has helped a lot of people to move very easily.
"For sure we went with a different direction in the beginning, with motorcycle racing, to be special in this region but for sure we have no doubts that we are thinking about Formula One and other car races."