Ecclestone could send own inspector to Bahrain

By on Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jun.8 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone could send his own envoy to Bahrain as the 2011 race rescheduling saga becomes a political power struggle.

Some commentators have raised eyebrows this week as Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, appeared to be back in step with his old sparring partner Max Mosley in the wake of the FIA's controversial decision to slot Bahrain back into the 2011 calendar.

Ecclestone has admitted recently he is "at loggerheads" with Mosley's successor as FIA president Jean Todt, whose reign he has described as a "joke".

The events of the past days means Ecclestone is now also aligned with the F1 teams who have written in a letter their displeasure at the Bahrain rescheduling for late October and the extension of the calendar until December.

On the other side are Todt and the likes of Carlos Gracia, the FIA vice-president whose report - which after his recent visit to Bahrain was described in some quarters as a "whitewash" - has been leaked online.

Mosley this week described Gracia as a "very, very nice man who speaks no English and as far as I know, speaks no Arabic".

Gracia, speaking in Valencia on Tuesday, said he found Bahrain peaceful when he visited recently but acknowledged that demonstrations and protests have occurred since then.

"That is something that neither I nor anyone else could predict," he is quoted in the Spanish press.

"We do not want the grand prix held at all costs. Formula one in total is 2500 people and we would not put at risk the drivers, the mechanics, the sponsors, anyone," added Gracia.

Ecclestone told the Financial Times he might now send his own inspector to Bahrain.

"That is precisely what we should do," he said. "I wish I knew more. We've been told there are no problems. The FIA said everything is fine, that (Gracia) met people. So who do you believe?"

FOTA confirmed it wrote a letter to the FIA, and the latter has now confirmed it was received.

"We have received the letter and we are considering it," said a spokesman. "The FIA is a transparent governing body and we welcome all input in the matter."

And a spokesperson told the Telegraph the FIA is "checking the small print" of the regulations in the wake of the World Motor Sport Council's controversial decision late last week.

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