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Wed 7 Dec 2011 06:15 PM

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F1 chiefs keep Bahrain on approved 2012 calendar

World Motor Sport Council says Bahrain will host race in April despite continuing concerns

F1 chiefs keep Bahrain on approved 2012 calendar
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone (Getty Images)
F1 chiefs keep Bahrain on approved 2012 calendar
Formula 1 chiefs on Wednesday gave their backing to Bahrains plans to return to the race calendar for 2012

Formula 1 chiefs on Wednesday gave their backing to Bahrain's plans to return to the race calendar for 2012, despite continuing concerns over unrest in the Gulf kingdom.

The World Motor Sport Council announced an unchanged calendar for 2012 at its meeting in India, which means Bahrain will host the F1 circuit on April 22.

The decision comes just days after a bomb exploded outside the British embassy in the capital city of Manama.

The race is the country's biggest and most prestigious sporting event and would have been the season-opener this year, but was first postponed and then cancelled after months of debate and a failed attempt to reinstate it.

Formula One teams said in October they were keeping a wary eye on the situation in Bahrain.

"Obviously it's worrying when you hear the type of news that's come out of Bahrain," said Christian Horner, principal of champions Red Bull, said.

Horner said there would be plenty of opportunity for the governing FIA and Ecclestone to assess the viability of the race before the end of the year.

"I think the right decision was made this year, I'm sure if there is a difficult decision to make again, I'm sure that decision won't be left so long next time," he added.

Renault team boss Eric Boullier added: "Bahrain is part of Formula One for many years, they have invested in Formula One and we like to go there and it's part of the show now. So we want to be back. But not at any price."

In September, the CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit said the Gulf kingdom will be ready to host a Formula One race next April.

Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said the race circuit was ready to host the race at any time of the year.

His comments come after the International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced that the race would be held in April rather than November next year.

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