No Bahrain GP in 2011, doubts arise about 2012

By on Friday, June 10, 2011

Jun.10 (GMM) Bahrain has accepted it will not host a grand prix in 2011.

The troubled island Kingdom's March season opener was called off but the World Motor Sport Council controversially agreed last week to extend the calendar to December and give Bahrain India's original October 30 race date.

That decision sparked moral outrage, the F1 teams decried logistical and insurance problems, while Bernie Ecclestone pointed out that the FIA rules prevent such late calendar tweaks.

The situation finally began to come to a head late on Thursday when FIA president Jean Todt told the F1 chief executive to propose a new solution.

"It has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision," confirmed Bahrain's circuit boss Zayed R Alzayani.

Citing the logistical issues rather than any moral ones, he said the Kingdom has "no desire" to "detract from the enjoyment of F1" by creating an arduous calendar.

"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."

FOTA vice-chairman Eric Boullier admitted on Thursday that the farcical on-off saga has damaged F1.

"We cannot do whatever we want because there are issues like this and we need to be a bit more cautious," said the Renault team boss.

Bahrain is now counting down to its 2012 season opener date, but Boullier is not sure that will happen either.

"I don't know to be honest. I am not a magician," he said.

Said German driver Force India: "As long as it's safe I'm happy to race."

"I think the question is just about the safety," agreed Russian driver Vitaly Petrov. "If it's still dangerous I think it's better not to go."

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