JUNE 3, 2011
FIA gives Bahrain October 30 slot
The FIA has voted in favour of reinstating the Bahrain Grand Prix, which will now take place on October 30, the date initially slated for the inaugural Indian GP.
The decision appears to fly in the face of the wishes of the F1 teams. In Monaco, Ross Brawn, asked about plans to replace India with Bahrain and potentially extend the season until December 11, said: "It's getting too much. Our guys have been working since the beginning of January and we're asking them to work into the middle of December and then start again in January. Personally, I think it's unacceptable and I've told Bernie that. If we continue doing that we'll run into problems."
Following the meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Barcelona today, however, Bahrain is back on the calendar and the date of the Indian GP is not clear although, logistically, December 11 is likely to be favoured over December 4.
An FIA statement said: "Following a fact-finding mission undertaken at the request of FIA President Jean Todt, FIA Vice President Carlos Gracia visited Bahrain on 31 May 2011 to assess the situation in the country.
"Meetings were conducted with the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Bahrain Motor Federation and Bahrain International Circuit, as well as other national and international organisations including Mr. Tariq Al Saffar at the National Institute of Human Rights. It should be noted that the recent announcement by the King of Bahrain has established a political dialogue and reconciliation process.
"After considering all the factors and taking into consideration all stakeholders' concerns, the WMSC unanimously agreed to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix in the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship.
"This decision reflects the spirit of reconciliation in Bahrain, which is evident from the strong support the race receives from the Government and all major parties in Bahrain, including the largest opposition group, all of whom endorse the Formula One Grand Prix and motor sport in the country.
"The WMSC feels that reinstating the Grand Prix is a means of helping to unite people as the country looks to move forward, and also recognises the commitment made by the Formula One teams, their employees and families, and personnel associated with the championship including the local team of volunteers who are so vital to the event."
Zayed R. Alzayani, chairman of Bahrain International Circuit added. "As a country we have faced a difficult time, but stability has returned; with businesses operating close to normal, the State of National Safety lifted and countries removing travel restrictions.
"Collectively, we are in the process of addressing issues of national and international concern, and learning lessons from the recent past. By the time the Grand Prix arrives we will be able to remind the world about Bahrain at its best.
"The Bahrain Grand Prix has always been a source of national pride and it is an event than transcends politics. Not only does it receive strong support from the Government, but also from all major parties in Bahrain, including our largest opposition group, Al Wefaq, who yesterday endorsed both the BIC and motor-racing in Bahrain."
It is understood that F1's teams are to discuss the matter internally within FOTA (the Formula One Teams Association).