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Fri 10 Jun 2011 09:53 AM

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Bahrain officials accept cancellation of F1 race

Gulf state concede that Grand Prix cannot take place after F1 teams object to Oct rescheduling

Bahrain officials accept cancellation of F1 race
Bahrain officials accept cancellation of F1 race
Bahrain officials accept cancellation of F1 race

Bahrain Grand Prix organisers have accepted the cancellation of their postponed Formula One race after teams objected to it being rescheduled in October.

"Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the Grand Prix progress on October 30th ... it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision," circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani said in a statement.

"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," he added.

The race at the Sakhir circuit had originally been scheduled as the March season-opener but was postponed after bloody unrest and a crackdown on anti-government protesters in the Gulf kingdom.

After giving Bahrain months to decide whether they were in a position to hold the race, the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced last Friday that it would be rescheduled for October 30.

The inaugural Indian Grand Prix that had been scheduled for that date was moved to December 11, but will now revert to the original slot.

Last week's decision triggered outrage among human rights campaigners, with more than 455,000 people signing an online petition calling on champions Red Bull and others to boycott the Bahrain race.

With any change in the calendar requiring the unanimous written agreement of the teams, who wrote to the FIA and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone to express their opposition, cancellation looked inevitable.

The teams had said they were against any rescheduling on logistical grounds, with commitments already made for a race in Delhi on October 30, and did not want to race in December, calling the revised calendar 'unrealistic'.

The FIA blamed Ecclestone for the embarrassing state of confusion and asked him on Thursday to submit a revised calendar.

The acceptance by the Bahrain circuit, the first in the Middle East to host a grand prix, has effectively ended the argument.

"Bahrain has always sought to play a positive role in the continued development of Formula One," Alzayani said.

"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."

Bahrain has already been scheduled as next year's season-opener on March 11.

The decision meant the season will now have 19 races, rather than a record 20, and will end in Brazil on November 27.

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Richard 9 years ago

Why not have a Formula one race in Dubai this seems like the next step to me there must be an area where it could be held and the influx of people for the race and money coming in, i am sure that would be good for Dubai , there is all the hotels and good roads,
and people in Dubai love cars maybe there is a reason its is not held there but having been there many times it just seems like the place where it should be.

shakri 9 years ago

Abu Dhabi Yas Island Marina circuit will be a great choice. they already have one scheduled on Nov 14th, We can have the 20th
and fainal race on Dec 11th or the 18th.

Telcoguy 9 years ago

Given that the teams are the ones refusing to run on number of grounds, may I kindly suggest you recruit some of the drivers we have in SZR and take them to Bahrein?
I am sure other readers will be glad to identify ore potential substitutes too.
Seriously the teams, are refusing to run. You can not have a race.
This is an interesting development, I would not be surprised if we saw more of this, and not only on F1

Basel A-Shaban 9 years ago

I totally agree, we can have the race inside Emirates Hills, I guess we will have to remove all the speed bumps, but that' s OK, we can live with that.

Mohammed Al-Shawi 9 years ago

Although very disappointed that the race is off in Bahrain this year, but I truly believe that the Bahrain committee would need to check and find an alternative that is as important to the fans and the public and run a heavy worldwide campaign and marketing program.
After all it’s the image of the country that we all wish to maintain and improve on. We should not give in to bad rumors

Marijke 9 years ago

Richard, I think we have a F1 race going on daily on SZR, for free...

Jebel Ali Baba 9 years ago

Bahrain GP is history for a long time to come. Too many new tracks are waiting all around the World to host the F1 and the yearly schedule is full already... Bahrain had their chance but they messed it up.

Richard 9 years ago

This would put Dubai on the map even more, why is there no Formula one race in Dubai ? just seems crazy its not there, brings in people,money, interesting cars, views of Dubai.

BinAdam 9 years ago

I believe that the ‘real’ reason behind the move to cancel the Bahrain F1 is that the drivers were being squeezed with the extension of the F1 season and not for ‘other’ reasons mentioned. F1 is a business, and the drivers act like they have their own union which is acceptable. I for one would have wished for the F1 not to have been considered for Bahrain during 2011 from the very beginning as I always knew that it was doomed to fail and that would worsen the country’s reputation. Bahrain has more things on its mind and the F1 race (being the playground for the rich & famous by nature) would not help spur on the National Dialogue which was called for by Bahrain’s monarchy.

Jamie 9 years ago

Apparently (and I'm talking rumour here), when the idea for a race in the Arabian Gulf was first brought up both Dubai & Bahrain were in the running. When Bernie Ecclestone visited Dubai he was kept waiting a few hours and left in a foul temper promising that 'Dubai would never hold the race'. Since a race has now been given to Abu Dhabi I guess that is right; Dubai will never get the race whilst there is Yas Island only 45 minutes up the road.