Another story to break today is the growing energy behind trying to run the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix on October 30, with India moving to the last race of the season on December 4.
It’s fair to say that the teams feel uneasy about this for several reasons. First the moral question, with the obvious difficulties of walking into a highly political situation and endorsing an event which is a creation of the ruling regime. Some are more troubled by this than others.
There is a security issue for the teams and drivers, but they would be likely to be well protected. However there are many hundreds of other F1 insiders who stay in very modest accommodation in the city’s back streets and who would be far harder to protect.
The ruling regime would like to put the race on to show that they are back in control, but faced with a determined opposition, there surely would be a significant risk of that impression being undermined by protest and problems at a time when the world’s attention would be on the country with F1 in residence. So it could be counterproductive.
Representatives of the Grand Prix were in Turkey last week, reassuring teams and personnel that the situation is under control, despite media coverage to the contrary.
Insurance is also a problem, which will need to be carefully considered as, for example, the UK Foreign Office is still advising against non-essential travel to the country.
The teams are also concerned with the idea of a race taking place in December. Most of them have been flat out since January building the 2011 cars, then testing them then racing them over an already record-length race season. To run to December, which would compress the winter, puts quite a strain on them and their families.
The reason India would be pushed back is two fold: to give them a little more time to get the new circuit finished, (not that it’s appearing to be a drama at the moment, like Korea was last year) and also to tie Bahrain to the Abu Dhabi race from a logistical and travel point of view. The Young Guns test would take place after the Abu Dhabi race.
Will it happen? There are people pushing for it, of course, and some are suggesting it’s growing in likelihood. But getting the race a secure slot on the 2012 may be the real end game.
A decision by the FIA is due to be made by June 3rd.
Photo: Darren Heath