Ferrari looks set to lose out the most financially from the eleventh-hour cancellation of the F1 2011 curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix, as the sport's teams count the cost of the political turmoil that is sweeping the desert kingdom.
In the wake of fevered speculation about whether the race would or would not be able to go ahead against the backdrop of volatile and occasionally violent protests in Bahrain, a week-and-a-half ago the grand prix was officially canned – or postponed, subject to a suitable calendar slot being found later on in the season – following prolonged discussions between F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone and Bahrain's Crown Prince.
Whilst the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive has waived the estimated $40 million licensing fee Bahrain would have paid for the honour of hosting the opening round on the F1 2011 schedule [see separate story – click here
], it seems others will not be so lucky.
It is understood that there are penalty clauses in the contracts the sport's teams have with their sponsors in the event of missing a race – whatever the cause – and the industry's trade guide Formula Money
predicts a total loss of some $40 million from the cancellation, with Ferrari paying the heaviest price of all at around $11 million due to the Scuderia's
greater sponsorship income.