Formula One fanatics will have to wait an extra two weeks for the 2011 season to start as organizers of the Bahrain GP cancelled the race that was due to kick off the season on March 11. The first race will now be the Australian GP on March 27.
Recent unrest in the Gulf state raised some concerns and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone left it up to the Bahrain organisers to decide whether or not the race was to continue. The cancellation announcement was made on Monday after F1 teams decided that they would not be participating in a scheduled testing session due to take place at the Bahrain circuit next week.
In a statement about the matter, Bahrain’s crown price Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa said:
“At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain. Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain’s to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain’s Formula 1 race to a later date. I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Bernie Ecclestone for his support and understanding.”
Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, Zayed R Alzayani made it clear that the idea of a Bahrain race was not completely off the table, but only postponed for a while.
“Bahrain’s Grand Prix is a time of celebration and hosting the race is a source of great pride for Bahrain and Bahrainis. It is a showcase to the world and we look forward to welcoming the teams and drivers and everyone involved in Formula One back to Bahrain in the very near future,” said Alzayani.
Violent pro-democracy protests also prevented last weekend’s GP2 Series from taking place in the country.
Revised F1 calendar:
March 27: Australia (Melbourne)
April 10: Malaysia (Sepang)
April 17: China (Shanghai)
May 8: Turkey (Istanbul)
May 22: Spain (Barcelone)
May 29: Monaco
June 12: Canada (Montreal)
June 26: Europe (Valence)
July 10: Britain (Silverstone)
July 24: Germany (Nurburgring)
July 31: Hungary (Budapest)
August 28: Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
September 11: Italy (Monza)
September 25: Singapore
October 9: Japan (Suzuka)
October 16: South Korea (Yeongam)
October 30: India (New Dehli, to be confirmed)
November 13: Abu Dhabi
November 27: Brazil (Sao Paulo)