Concerns about the movement of F1 freight between races at the end of the 2011 season could ultimately put paid to plans to re-accommodate the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix.
That is the whisper coming out of Monaco after an emergency meeting between FOM president Bernie Ecclestone and team representatives to discuss the possibility of moving the inaugural Indian Grand Prix to the end of the year and handing Bahrain the October slot originally intended for the sport's newest arrival. The deadline for any decision regarding the reinstatement of Bahrain - which continues to attract support and opposition in equal measure following its unrest-inspired cancellation in March - is this coming Friday [3 June], but the weekend's meeting in Monaco may have effectively ended negotiations.
Both Bernie Ecclestone [see story here
] and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali have spoken publically of the possibility of moving the Indian race to December - a move which would also allow extra time for construction work to be completed at the Buddh International Circuit - but team bosses are understood to have raised concerns about the plans.
“The problem is the date,” Ecclestone told Britain's Daily Telegraph
newspaper, confirming that extending the season would be an unpopular move, “The trouble with the teams is that it's difficult with all their people, so they're going to speak to all their people and find out what the general feeling is for the group.”
The original suggestion of moving India to 4 December has already been scotched by the near impossibility of getting the F1 infrastructure from Interlagos to New Delhi in just a matter of days, but Domenicali confirmed in Monaco that staging the season finale a week later remains one option on the table. The FIA's end of year meeting, as well as the annual F1 awards ceremony, are already due to take place in Delhi, albeit a week before the proposed race date.
“What we discussed yesterday was related to the possibility of a calendar that will be presented to the WMSC on Friday [3 June] that will shift the last date not to the first week of December, but the second week," Domenicali told speedtv.com
, "This is quite a tricky calendar, I might say. We need to sort out and see if the logistics of all of this can be sorted out.
"Ferrari wants to go to Bahrain for the future, for a long time. We feel Bahrain is a race where F1 has to go. We need to work together with them to see if for the benefit of being there for a really long, long time it's good to do a choice for this year, or wait and see."
Vijay Mallya has confirmed that the Buddh circuit will be ready whenever F1 decides to visit, be it October or December, and insists that the talk about swapping dates does not reflect on the pace of work at the all-new venue [see story here
The Bahrain race remains the subject of much debate, however, because the uprising against the royal family and its insistence on governing the country as well as acting as heads of state continues amid claims of human rights abuses. Although the state of emergency is due to be lifted this week, reports of arrests, dismissals and beatings continue to surface.
“Allegations are exaggerated or unfounded to gain international sympathy,” government spokesman Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Mubarak al-Khalifa countered in conversation with the Daily Telegraph
, “They should issue a complaint to the authorities.”