Mercedes vice-president of motorsport Norbert Haug has claimed that the proposal to restore the cancelled Bahrain Grand Prix to the 2011 F1 schedule is going to be near impossible for logistical reasons.
The German, speaking as the debate of rescheduling the race rumbled on, pointed to the already packed calendar - which was due to the biggest ever compiled for F1 - as the biggest stumbling block for restoring the season-opener, with few gaps that presented viable opportunities for adding a race. The three-week break during August is understood to be off limits, with teams shutting their factories down and giving staff a well-earned rest, leaving just the weekends between existing dates as the only real option.
Should the powers that be still decide to pursue reinstatement, such a weekend would need to fall conveniently close to a race in a similar region, which realistically only leaves one of the weekends either side of Abu Dhabi at the end of the season. That, however, would create the scenario of three races in either three or four weekends just as the teams are gearing up for the championship showdown. Although the Brazilian GP, which closes the campaign, could be moved back a week or two - taking the season into December - Haug still believes that trying to accommodate a rescheduled Bahrain race is impossible.
"Finding the right gap in the firmly subscribed calendar is going to be a very difficult task," he told Germany's SID
news agency, "I don't think it's feasible. One must think first and foremost about the staff."
Red Bull rival Christian Horner agreed that finding the right slot would be difficult, but appeared more hopeful that, should the Bahraini authorities request a return, the race could be found a temporary home.
"It will certainly be a challenge to accommodate," he told the BBC
, "but nothing is ever impossible. It's a very busy calendar this year. Already now, at the end of November, we'll have finished 19 races."
Instead of starting in Bahrain on 13 March, the F1 teams will now head to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix at the end of the month, and Horner admitted that it was the right decision to pull out of the season-opener.
"Obviously, the country's got bigger issues than an F1 race at the moment, so it was only right and appropriate to postpone," he noted, "It's not down to the teams to decide which races we go to or not, and ultimately we trusted in Bernie [Ecclestone]'s judgement.
"It's a great circuit, and a great country to race in, and we've always been made to feel very welcome there so, hopefully, we'll be back there with F1 cars before long."
Of course, the entire situation depends on the successful resolution of the current civil unrest, which flared up again on Monday morning [28 February] with further protests against the royal family. Although there have been casualties, the figure is nowhere near as severe as that in Libya, which is also suffering similar unrest, and the rulers have said that they are prepared to enter talks with the opposition with the aim of solving the crisis.