APRIL 19, 2013
Bahrain wants to host 2014 season opener
Organisers of the Bahrain grand prix would like the event to return to the top of F1's annual schedule.
The Sakhir circuit opened the sport's world championship in 2006 and again in 2010, and was scheduled to be the season opener in 2011 until that event was cancelled due to civil unrest.
Still controversial, Bahrain is back on the calendar and now pushing to return to the coveted opening spot, which is currently occupied by Melbourne.
"It's a good start to the season," circuit chairman Zeyed Alzayani told reporters on Saturday.
"It gives us the chance to have the teams here longer, there is more anticipation, more unknowns, how the cars will react to the new tyres, the regulations, the drivers are just back into their rhythm.
"We are talking about 2014 onwards but it's a bit early to talk about the calendar for 2014," he added. "We're open to suggestion."
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who on Saturday issued a joint statement with the FIA backing the decision to race in Bahrain this weekend amid controversy, admitted a change of scheduling for the race in future is possible.
"We could do, I suppose," the 82-year-old told Reuters. "We need to have a look at it."
Alzayani said one advantage of Bahrain being the first race is that teams could conduct pre-season testing at the circuit, in almost guaranteed dry weather, before returning for the start of the world championship shortly after.
"They can come to the last test and then leave most of their equipment here until race weekend," he said.
"This was the plan in 2011. So if we go after the first race, then we will go after a test as well but again that is not our decision."