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Thu 9 Jun 2011 10:16 AM

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Scheduling woes biggest barrier to Bahrain Grand Prix

F1 teams object to calendar change, not because of fears over safety at race

Scheduling woes biggest barrier to Bahrain Grand Prix
(Getty Images)
Scheduling woes biggest barrier to Bahrain Grand Prix
Rubens Barrichello of Brazil and Brawn GP Rubens Barrichello, the chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (Getty Images)

The
inconvenience of rescheduling the Grand Prix calendar at short notice remains
the biggest stumbling block for Formula One teams and drivers opposed to racing
in Bahrain.

Rubens
Barrichello, the chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers Association, said drivers
were not opposed to racing in the Gulf kingdom as long as their safety was
guaranteed, but they were concerned about changes to the calendar.

The
Brazilian said he was "shocked" the sport's governing body FIA had
considered rescheduling the race after it was scrapped earlier this year
because of the bloody civil unrest.

"During
the season, there was talk we could have it after one or two races but as the
problem progressed I really thought there was no way for us to get back to
Bahrain," Barrichello said.

"So
it was a shock when I saw that we kind of accepted as Formula One to go back
there."

The
FIA announced last week that its world motor sport council had agreed Bahrain,
initially scheduled as the season-opener in March, would take India's place on
October 30.

The
change meant the inaugural New Delhi event would have to be pushed back to the
last race of the season in December.

But
the teams wrote to the FIA opposing any reschedules, and commercial supremo
Bernie Ecclestone said the changes could not go ahead without their support.

"The
logistics are quite tough for all the teams," Barrichello said.

"I
think we're in good hands. The teams have forwarded what they think to the FIA
and to Bernie and whatever the outcome is I'll be happy."

Adam
Parr, the chairman of the Williams team that Barrichello drives for, said it
was inconceivable that the calendar could be changed at short notice.

"It's
not about whether the [Bahrain] race goes ahead, it's about whether we change
the calendar at this stage of the season and that's what we've written about
it," Parr told Reuters.

"The
issue that we're concerned about is that fans, sponsors, teams, have made
logistic arrangements to be in India for a particular weekend, the 30th of
October, and we've been presented with a calendar where it's on December 11.

"How
do you say to people who have booked a two-week holiday in India to take in the
Grand Prix, 'sorry you'll be in India but we won't.'

"We've
explained out position...and there's nothing more to talk about. It's just too
late to change it."

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