Posts Tagged ‘FIA’

Ecclestone and Todt have been at odds over race

Bahrain will not hold a Formula 1 race in 2011 after race organisers admitted defeat in face of the teams’ backlash at its reinstatement.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had already announced the race was now “not on” after a complaint from teams at the rescheduling of the event.

The World Motor Sport Council last Friday confirmed the event would be reinstated on the calendar for October 30 – replacing the Indian Grand Prix scheduled for that date – after it had been postponed in light of political unrest.

The backlash that has followed, though, has been considerable, with the teams in particular voicing their concerns for logistical and insurance reasons.

Zayed R Alzayani, chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, has now conceded defeat on the issue.

“Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the grand prix progress on October 30 in line with the World Motor Sport Council’s decision, it has been made clear this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision,” said Alzayani.

“Bahrain has absolutely no desire to see a race which would further extend the calendar detract from the enjoyment of F1 for either drivers, teams or
supporters.

“We want our role in Formula One to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been,” he said.

Bahrain is scheduled to host the season opener for next season, but at this early stage there are no guarantees.

But, Alzayani added: “We look forward to welcoming teams, their drivers and supporters back to Bahrain next year.

The decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix on October 30 and move the inaugural Indian race to December 11, sparked outrage amongst teams who said it was a logistical nightmare.

The teams wrote to the FIA on Wednesday, outlining their concerns.

In a letter from FIA president Jean Todt to the Formula One Teams’ Association, the Frenchman criticised Ecclestone.

Todt claims it was Ecclestone’s responsibility “to perform all necessary due diligence in order to secure his calendar proposal to the World Motor Sport Council”.

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal, believes the whole saga surrounding the troubled Bahrain Grand Prix has damaged the sport.

“I am a young, inexperienced team principal, but I am pushing hard to do my best to help build F1 for the future,” he said.

“But obviously it is never good when you expect such reactions (as has been the case this week) when they happen.

“F1 is a non-political sport. We cannot do whatever we want because there are issues like this and we need to be a bit more cautious.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, also feels the events of the last few days have been badly handled.

“It’s unfortunate the issues that are currently going on there,” said Horner.

“Nobody foresaw the problems that have happened, but sometimes these things do happen.”

The issue is set to come up again, with Bahrain pencilled in to host the opening race of the 2012 season following the release of that calendar.

As far as Boullier is concerned, it is “a question of when and not if” F1 returns.

“I have nothing against Bahrain,” he added.

When asked whether March could be too soon, Boullier said: “I don’t know to be honest. I am not a magician.

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Bahrain has been an F1 fixture since 2006

The organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix may be given more time to decide whether they are capable of holding a race in 2011.

Ecclestone had originally said a decision over whether the race could be rescheduled had to be made before May 1. That may now be extended.

“We need to wait a little bit. Things can change in a couple of weeks… so you don’t know,” he said in an interview with Reuters.

“All of a sudden everything might be peaceful in a month’s time and they are happy to run the event and so we are happy to be there.

“We need to wait a little bit to see exactly how progress is made. I suppose we’d be safe by early June or something like that,” he said.

But Ecclestone’s hope of a race at the Sakhir circuit may be dashed by the FIA.

A spokesman for governing body said “As far as we’re concerned a decision is still due on Sunday.”

“Because it’s a weekend it may be Monday morning that we announce the decision, but we haven’t spoken to Mr Ecclestone about any delay.

“The decision will be a joint one between the FIA, Formula One Management and theBahrainauthorities.”

Bahrain was due to hold the season opener in March but had to postpone in the light of anti-government protests and the threat to security.

It is expected that any rescheduled race would take place on November 20 – the week after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The season ending Grand Prix inBrazilwould probably be pushed back a week and into December should this happen.

The announcement comes on the day that four pro-democracy protesters were sentenced to death following the killing of two police officers.

Last week the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa, turned down an invitation to the royal wedding in light of public protest.