Bahrain Grand Prix officially called off for 2011

Speedcafe.com

Friday 10th June, 2011 - 10:08am

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Sebastian Vettel during the 2010 Bahrain GP weekend

Sebastian Vettel during the 2010 Bahrain GP weekend

The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix will not go ahead, despite being reinstated by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council less than seven days ago.

The race, which was originally scheduled to open the season on March 13, has been the subject of intense debate this week – with widescale disagreement within the Formula One community over the political and logistical connotations of returning to Sakhir this season.

According to autosport.com, FIA president Jean Todt has bowed to pressure applied by the teams, which were particularly unhappy with the plan to finish the season as late as December 11.

With Todt having asked Formula One Management’s Bernie Eccelstone to resubmit a new calendar, Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani released a statement acknowledging that the race will not go ahead.

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

“Bahrain has always sought to play a positive role in the continued development of Formula 1, from pioneering F1 racing in the Middle East, to helping other countries in facilitating their own races in new territories, as well as providing our own unique experience and universal welcome to grand prix supporters.”

Bahrain is set to reclaim its place as the opening race of the championship next year, according to the draft 2012 calendar released last week.

“We look forward to welcoming teams, their drivers and supporters back to Bahrain next year and would like to extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters, including staff, volunteers, sponsors, private businesses and the general public, for whom I know this year’s decision will be a disappointment,” said Alzayani.

“We would also especially like to thank the FIA, FOM, the Bahrain Motor Federation and the teams for all support and understanding they have extended to us at this time.”

It is expected that the Indian Grand Prix, which was shuffled from October 30 to December 11 in order to fit Bahrain into the calendar, will now re-take its October slot.

The 2011 championship continues in Canada this weekend. Click below to view Speedcafe.com’s Montreal Race Guide

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