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Thu 1 Sep 2011 03:00 PM

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Bahrain Grand Prix back on F1 race calendar

Gulf state has April 22 slot on 2012 racing calendar, Abu Dhabi takes Nov spot

Bahrain Grand Prix back on F1 race calendar
Bahrain has been given a slot of April 22 and paired with China
Bahrain Grand Prix back on F1 race calendar
Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1 commercial chief
Bahrain Grand Prix back on F1 race calendar

The Bahrain Grand Prix has been added to next year’s 20-race
Formula One calendar, in a show of confidence that civil unrest in the Gulf
state won’t stop the event a second time.

The new calendar, confirmed by unanimous decision following
a vote of the World Motor Sport Council members, sees Bahrain given a slot of
April 22 and paired with China.

Arab neighbour Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, will host its fourth
annual Formula One race at Yas Marina Circuit on Nov 4 and will be back-to-back
with India.

The Turkish Grand Prix has been axed from the calendar after
the race organisers failed to agree a new deal with F1 supremo Bernie
Ecclestone, bringing an end to Turkey’s seven-year run.

Bahrain’s season-opening race at Sakhir circuit was
postponed in March after widespread political unrest in the country and the deaths
of a number of pro-reform demonstrators.

Efforts were made to reschedule the race, but Bahrain was
eventually dropped from the 2011 calendar in June after protests from Formula
One teams and drivers.

Bahrain's motor racing circuit chief in June called F1 teams
"temperamental", saying he was disappointed at how they had turned
their backs on the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“I feel disappointed because it cannot go within three
months from one end of the spectrum 'Oh, you are my favourite destination' ...
to the other 'We don't want to go to Bahrain'," he said.

The 2012 season will start in Australia on March 18, to be
followed a week later by the Malaysian Grand Prix, and then a three-week gap to
the China and Bahrain double-header.

The schedule has a five-week summer break, with the tail end
of the season seeing back-to-back races in Belgium/Italy, Japan/Korea and
India/Abu Dhabi.

The United States Grand Prix, which will return to auto-
racing’s elite series for the first time since 2007, is scheduled Nov 18 at the
Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas. The season ends the following
week in Brazil.

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