• Bahrain rescheduling

Bahrain given June 3 extension

ESPNF1 Staff
May 2, 2011 « 'I'm far from being at my best' - Trulli | »

The FIA has given the organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix a further deadline until June 3 to decide whether it will be able to reschedule the race this season.

A statement released by the FIA said that after consultation with organisers and Formula One Management it had "granted the Bahrain Motor Federation and the Bahrain International Circuit an extension until June 3rd, date of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Barcelona."

There had been conflicting reports about when a decision will be taken, as the BBC reported that the FIA have said that they expect to be informed whether or not Bahrain can host a grand prix this year "within the next few hours". Following those quotes, however, the Press Association reported that an FIA spokeswoman had said that the governing body had no further knowledge of the situation.

The Bahrain Grand Prix was supposed to be this year's season opener but it was called off due to violent civil unrest on the streets of Manama. Organisers were expected to tell the FIA whether Bahrain, which is still in the midst of a three-month state of emergency, will be safe enough to hold a rescheduled event later this year.

In a statement on Saturday the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) said it wants to bring Formula One back to its country "in the very near future", but did not say whether that meant 2011.

On Saturday BIC chairman Zayed Rashid Alzayani released a statement saying conditions in the country are improving.

"We gratefully acknowledge the understanding of Formula One Management and the FIA in what have been difficult times," he said. "We also thank the continued support of the international motorsport community and Formula One fans around the world.

"Clearly our national priority is to find a resolution to the difficulties that the kingdom of Bahrain has experienced. The national situation has moved on in a positive manner, the situation is evolving all the time; our day-to-day life is gradually improving under the current State of National Safety.

"Bahrain's Grand Prix is a time of celebration and hosting the race is a source of great pride for Bahrain and Bahrainis. It is a showcase to the world and we look forward to welcoming the teams and drivers and everyone involved in Formula One back to Bahrain in the very near future."

Earlier last week Bernie Ecclestone called for the final decision on the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix to be delayed until "early June". In the BIC statement he added that he was confident F1 would return to Bahrain, but stopped short of saying whether it would be in 2011 or 2012.

"Bahrain's commitment to Formula One has been clear from the very outset," said Ecclestone. "While obviously the kingdom has had to put its national affairs first I have never been in any doubts that restoring the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has been of paramount importance. In eight years with my relationship with Bahrain I have always been confident that they will produce something special."