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Sat 29 Sep 2012 09:49 AM

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Bahrain retains place on 2013 F1 calendar

Gulf kingdom set to host Formula One race on April 21 next year; Abu Dhabi event on Nov 3

Bahrain retains place on 2013 F1 calendar
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone

Bahrain has retained its place on the Formula One calendar for 2013 despite widespread protests in the run up to this year's race.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said Bahrain, which saw violence between police and anti-government protesters in the days prior to the race, would be the fourth round of the 20-race championship on April 21.

Protesters threatened “days of rage” in April, but organisers ignored calls to cancel the race for a second year running.

The Gulf kingdom has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests led by its Shi'ite Muslim majority erupted last year and were put down by the Sunni rulers.

The 2011 Bahrain grand prix was postponed and then cancelled because of the unrest.

The Gulf region's second grand prix in Abu Dhabi will be held on November 3 next year, the FIA said.

The FIA also said that New Jersey has been pencilled in for June 16 next year, subject to confirmation.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had raised doubts about New Jersey, a race with the New York city skyline as a backdrop, when he said this week that organisers had not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract that had now lapsed.

Spain, gripped by the Euro zone debt crisis, will have only one race instead of two, with a grand prix in Barcelona on May 12.

The season will start in Australia on March 17 and end in Brazil on November 24.

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