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Bahrain still hopeful of race rescheduling

Hopes remain high in the Middle East that the Bahrain GP can be rescheduled for later in the 2011 F1 season.
Despite fears that the F1 calendar could be too full to restage the cancelled Bahrain Grand Prix in 2011, it is understood that the beleaguered royal family are hopeful that a deal can be struck to run the race.

The outbreak of civil unrest in the island kingdom brought the inevitable decision to call off the opening round of the season, scheduled for 11-13 March, and, with 19 other races set to run as normal, there are few clear opportunities to slot the Sakhir event back onto the calendar. Nevertheless, quoted Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa, chairman of the country's economic development board, is keen to see the race run once the troubles are resolved.

"Losing the grand prix is nothing compared with a stable country and a strong economy, but Bahrain is still seeking the possibility of hosting the much-awaited race later this year," he told CNN, "We are hoping that [the protests] will subside and the race will continue at a later date."

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has decided to waive the $40m fee payable for staging the race unless it runs later in the year, but some of the sport's insiders remain sceptical that there is space on what would have been the biggest grand prix calendar ever. The only potential gap that could be filled is the traditional summer break - which is likely to face strong opposition from teams that will be hoping to rest their workforce during the mandatory factory shut-down period - leaving Bahrain to be shoe-horned into one of the free weekends either side of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of the season.

The royal family, which makes all vital decisions for the country, has faced calls for it to relinquish its hold on government, with protests in the capital Manama having already seen GP2 Asia competitors having to pack up and leave as the tanks rolled in. Unlike other countries facing similar problems, however, the rulers have said that they are open to talks with the opposition.

"We have gone through difficult and the country is recovering," Al Khalifa continued, "During the crisis, we haven't blocked the internet or the satellite channels. We allowed everything to be reported in total transparency."

Title sponsor Gulf Air has already vowed to refund tickets for flights to Bahrain for travellers who had hoped to attend the cancelled race, and regional travel manager Sunil de Souza has confirmed that bookings will be carried forward for any rescheduled event.

"We are hoping that [the protests] will subside and the race will continue at a later date," he told Arabian Business magazine, "We will carry [bookings] forward to a later date."




Related Pictures

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Bahrain International Circuit has added art to its run-off areas for 2009
Gulf Air Flypast, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, 13-15th, April, 2007
Sakhir Circuit, Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Sakhir, 13-15th, April, 2007
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20.07.2014- Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
20.07.201- Fabiana Flosi (BRA), wife of Bernie Ecclestone (GBR).
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Bernie Ecclestone
06.07.2014 - Sir Jackie Stewart (GBR), Prince Henry of Wales and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
06.07.2014 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management and Prince Henry of Wales
06.07.2014 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management and Prince Henry of Wales
04.07.2014 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
04.07.2014 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
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Marcus Garvey - Unregistered

February 28, 2011 1:22 PM

no one would miss it if we never went back there again. the tilke track is boring as hell and the races are a snooze fest. lets get another track on the calender for next year, one not designed by tilke.

f1listdotcom

February 28, 2011 9:01 AM
Last Edited 1242 days ago

I'm not an expert and I might be wrong, but I guess what matters is: the royal family in Bahrain is famous for exquisite hospitality and honesty when it comes to international display/relationships. I just hope that, from now on, the family/political system will show more interest and respect also for their own people(no matter what are the tribal or religious origins), allowing them better rights and work. I'd prefer to see those $40 million in favour of the people, instead of the race reschedule. Then if it's possible, it would be real cool to have the race as well.



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