Bahrain GP out from season 2011 Calendar

on .

( 0 Votes )

Bahrain organizers pulled the plug on this year's race, ending efforts to reschedule a controversial grand prix that had angered rights groups in the politically tense Gulf nation and teams who were against extending the season into December.

F1 governing body FIA sought to clear up the mess caused by its decision a week ago to reschedule Bahrain for Oct. 30 and bump the inaugural India GP from that date to December.

"In the light of the statement by the Bahrain International Circuit, the FIA is now waiting for the commercial rights holder (F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone) to propose a new calendar to the World Motor Sport Council," FIA said in a statement.

FIA initially said last week's vote was done in a "spirit of reconciliation," but it has turned out to be a public relations disaster.

Already under fire for putting profits ahead of human rights, FIA came off looking dangerously ill-informed about the events in the troubled island nation, and seemingly eager to please a well-heeled Gulf monarchy at the expense of racing teams who fear the calendar changes would create a logistical nightmare.

"The government has admitted the fact that Bahrain is not back to normal. It can't hide the fact that Bahrain is in a crisis," said Nabeel Rajab, a leading activist in the country and president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.

"They tried their level best but the international community didn't buy that," he added. "You can't have a race while a big proportion of your population is in jail and being systemically tortured."

At least 31 people have been killed since the protests began in February, inspired by revolts against autocratic leaders in Tunisia and Egypt. The protests in Bahrain took on a sectarian tone, with the majority Shiite protesters taking to the streets to demonstrate against the Sunni-led kingdom and alleged widespread discrimination.

The government ministers and organizers tried to convince FIA that conditions in the country had returned to normal but fell victim to events on the ground — shots fired at protesters last week, attacks on a religious procession on the weekend, and closed-door trials of doctors and nurses who treated anti-government demonstrators on Monday.

Bahrain GP organizers couldn't deny the ongoing political unrest which caused the race to be postponed from its original date in March, in the first place.

"It has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision," Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed R. Alzayani said in a statement.

"Bahrain has absolutely no desire to see a race which would further extend the calendar season 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, therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season."

Rescheduling the Bahrain GP was scorned virtually as soon as FIA voted unanimously to green light the race for October.

Human rights groups warned the race will be targeted by anti-government protesters, and the British government said that could lead to a tragedy.

The Formula One Teams Association, from which FIA needed approval to make any calendar changes, objected to them on Monday for logistical and insurance reasons, prompting FIA president Jean Todt to ask Ecclestone to revise the calendar again.

By Wednesday the race looked doomed after Ecclestone admitted he didn't have the teams' unanimous permission.

The Bahrain GP has been F1's most profitable race since 2004, when the Gulf kingdom became the first Arab country to stage a grand prix. Bahrain is set to open the 2012 season next March.

Add comment

Security code

F1 Statistics

23-25 November, 2012

Practice 1 : Result

Practice 2 : Result

Practice 3 : Result

Qualifying : Result

Race : Result

1 Sebastian Vettel 281
2 Fernando Alonso 278
3 Kimi Räikkönen 207
4 Lewis Hamilton 190
5 Jenson Button 188
6 Mark Webber 179
7 Felipe Massa 122
8 Romain Grosjean 96
9 Nico Rosberg 93
10 Sergio Perez 66
Full Table

1 Red Bull Racing - Renault 460
2 Ferrari 400
3 Mclaren - Mercedes 378
4 Lotus - Renault 303
5 Mercedes 142
6 Sauber - Ferrari 126
7 Force India - Mercedes 109
8 Williams - Renault 76
9 STR - Ferrari 26
10 Marussia-Cosworth 0
Full Table