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Bahrain GP is off – organisers say it’s official
Bahrain GP is off – organisers say it’s official
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Feb 2011   |  5:08 pm GMT  |  70 comments

The Bahrain Grand Prix due to take place on March 13th has been called off, according to race organisers. The Crown Prince of Bahrain telephoned F1 promoter Bernie Ecclestone this morning to tell him of the decision. The reason given was that the country needs to focus on its own internal issues at this time.

“At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain,” said the Crown Prince.After the events of the past week, our nation’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.”

It is not yet clear whether attempts will be made to reschedule the race for later this season, although the wording of the statement from Bahrain suggests that they expect it to be rescheduled, rather than cancelled. Fitting it into an already packed schedule that runs to the end of November will be difficult, without having three back to back races or extending the season into December.

Today’s decision follows a volley of intense media coverage of the situation with mounting criticism of the sport for not calling the event off. But for legal, insurance and commercial reasons the teams wanted to push the decision onto FOM and FOM needed to push it onto the Bahrainis to make the decision. This has now happened.

It is the first time in modern F1 that a race has had to be cancelled.

Williams chairman Adam Parr said, “It is obviously disappointing for everyone involved in the organisation of the event, but it is clear that to race in Bahrain at this time would be inappropriate given the current circumstances. It is always Williams’ intention to contribute positively to the countries we compete in and so we fully support the Crown Prince’s decision to cancel the test and forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix. We now look forward to a season debut in Melbourne and returning to Bahrain when it is right to do so.”

FOTA met to discuss what to do about rescheduling the fourth test session, scheduled to take place in Bahrain. It was decided that the teams will now reconvene here on March 8th for four more days of testing. This is not what Pirelli were hoping for. They badly wanted some hot weather running to evaluate their tyres which have come in for criticism for the way they behave in cold conditions.

It is not yet clear whether the teams will attempt to run again before the first race in Melbourne on March 27th. But pushing the test back to March 8th indicates that they will probably not hold an extra test in place of the Bahrain GP. One sticking point is tyre supply, with Pirelli committed to a certain test supply and the ones destined for the Bahrain test are already in transit.

Some teams are likely to want extra running. The dropping of the Bahrain race certainly will help McLaren and buy them some more time to fix the initial problems they have encountered with their new car.

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The Bahrain Grand Prix always delivered exciting and well organized races .. not me its the history of the F1 that says that and am sure those who attended it before agree with me.

yes we’ve been through tough times here in Bahrain recently .. but its all under control now .. note that both the FIA and our government wont accept hosting the race here if it wasnt safe or Bahrain wasnt capaple.

am a huge F1 fan writing this from Bahrain and we really want to have the race on our home land coz we waite for it with passion every year since 2004.

we have hope and we need ur beliefe <3


Dale re your comment,as a follower of F1 since the 60s and for those that say politics should not come into it,we used to have some great races in South Africa,funny but i don’t recall their armed forces opening fire on peacefull protesters. Can i remind you of Sharpeville 1960 when indeed their armed forces shot and killed dozens of peasefull protesters demonstrating about their awful living conditions. This was the start of their isolation from sporting events.


Magny-Cours produced pretty boring races, except for when it was wet (part of the 1997 grand prix and 1999). Don’t forget that Hermann Tilke also made the A1-Ring first raced on in the 1997 Austrian Grand Prix, and people actually want this track back in F1, despite the fact that it wasn’t technical enough, only had 7 turns, and was criticised by the drivers at the time for not being a skillful enough track.


The other problem is they’re hiring the same bloke (Tilke) to design every new track. Greater Noida and Austin are such tracks, while the FIA ignores real tracks such as Leeds (Barber Motorspots), Laguna Seca, Toele (Utah), Magny-Cours, or any of the real tracks that are challenging. I wonder why Leeds isn’t even considered — maybe it needs a pit complex, and it doesn’t have a grandstand (fans just pile the spectator mounds and camp out) but I would like to see how that track would be as an F1 track!


Was it a mistake for F1 to expand to the Middle East, James? They’ve produced largely lifeless races (Abu Dhabi last season was a poor race with little overtaking, Bahrain was just dull, but I understand last year, the drivers were getting used to driving on full tanks.)

Secondly, as regards to Melbourne, there is no way they can keep the grand prix with the $50M bill to the taxpayer. Then again, we’ve seen the future of the British Grand Prix threatened before, so is this something we’ve come to expect from the cut-throat, modern day F1?

Thirdly and sorry for the long post, where could the Bahrain Grand Prix be rescheduled to? I think it’s better to delay it until next year or even better, don’t let F1 return to Bahrain and go to some classic circuits like Buenos Aires.


Of course not, the sport has to reach new markets. I don’t agree that Bahrain is dull. Last year’s race was with the new loop, but previous editions I recall as being exciting, when I had to commentate on them! Lots of passing etc


So on to the next race which won’t be there much longer.

The Aussies reckon it costs the tax payer A$50M, and they don’t like the noise. So it is unlikely that Melbourne officials will stay in place too long if they keep the race going.

Bit like that olympic stadium scheduled to be demolished just after it’s finished, such forethought the designers had!


Why on earth was a tiny island that has zero motor sport heritage that rules it’s people as though they’re all but worthless ever given a Grand Prix in the first place?

To me this episode shows to the wider world all that’s rotten with the way F1 is currently ruled.

I note that not a single F1 reporter who relies on F1 for their living had the balls to really any what needed to be said, probably due to the fear of having any passes taken away by the dictators that run F1.

One F1 website that doesn’t re;y on FIA/FOM passes did speak out (Pitpass) so respect to them.

As a follower of F1 since the late 60’s and for those that say politics shouldn’t comer into it it was ever thus, we used to have some great races in South Africa, funny but I don’t recall their armed forces opening fire on peaceful protesters?!

Back to F1, I’d think of all the teams McLaren must be most pleased as to me it would appear they have not got it right AGAIN, time for an engineering change at McLaren as it’s just not good enough (F1 needs a strong McLaren to counter Ferrari)?

It’s no good having the fastest, most exciting ad racy driver if the car isn’t up to it, it they fail to get on a par they’ll end up loosing Hamilton for sure just like the did the greatest of them all, Senna – time for some tough decisions McLaren.


Did you forget about Sharpeville South Africa 1960?


Not a single soul has said a word about the FACT that this country’s dictatorship is SHOOTING its citizens for the crime of wanting democracy!

We are not concerned at all that we are doing business with such despicable [mod], its is not even questioned IF we should continue at all!

So we quietly wait while the prince shoots the remaining ‘trouble makers’ before we go back to continue our sport and profit…

And no one says a word!


Fair point, I wasn’t as scathing as I perhaps wanted to be earlier.

Please let’s not try to reschedule this race for later in the year. There are a multitude of reasons but probably the biggest is that this event was a vanity project for the super rich rulers, from the same family who have imported vigilantes to fire on their own population, in a desperate attempt to cling to power.

If some kind of new regime is brought in you would have to wonder if their top priority would be housing a few thousand rock stars who rose to fame in the 60’s, a spattering of uninterested supermodels and the few hundred actual fans who trudge out there for the snoozefest of the grand prix.

Hopefully the new/ rejigged regime would focus on more things that actually matter.

This year’s calendar is no worse of for skipping this GP, the corrupt regime in Bahrain now doesn’t have a little PR opportunity to suggest ‘everything is fine in the Pearl of the Gulf’.

Glad we are out now let us stay out.


Well said, it’s time F1 looked at itself, there is more to this world that just money 0 something Ecclestone doe not appear to even begin to understand!

F1 has in the past few days showed those outside of F1 what it really is.

I for one love F1 but the way it is currently run with so many of the current races being what they are and raced where they are just because they’ll pay crazy sums is just wrong.

Take Canada for example, what a great race they always give us and their supporters are as good as any yet it mattered not a jot when they couldn’t afford the obscene fees demanded and time will only tell whether or not Silverstone will remain viable during their contract.

Of all the drivers (just as in the Mosley affair) one driver stood head and shoulders above the others, so well done to Mark Webber, it’s people with a sense of what’s right we need at the helm of F1 (can you hear the FIA – not a word)?


Of course not. They have oil and money. Lots of money.


I think it’s better to move the final test to Australia than in Spain, a different circuit and temperature for teams to collect different data, and teams can have much more time to prepare for Australia GP.

I hope they don’t cancel Bahrain GP, instead move to before or after Abu Dhabi GP.


I like H’s idea and if we expand on it. Run the race on Saturday and use the finishing order of the Saturdays race for the Sunday race. I would make a great doubleheader and add something different to the season.


Tag need to reset their clock on the homepage


Wonder whether Bernie is asking Melbourne for more money now they’re the first race? :).


If Pirelli have their Toyota test car could they not just ship that & Pedro De La Rosa out somewhere hot to do hot weather running?


Honestly if Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are not in the calender I won’t miss it at all.

So follow the money does not work all the time.


It’s posted elsewhere that it can’t be run the weekend before or straight after the Indian race as new races have to be stand alone as people don’t know how easy it is to get stuff in transit.

Could they not extend the Friday practise sessions at auz or run on Thursday?


I’m just shocked that people were still /prepared/ to possibly race there with what has gone on recently (I know many people had stated that they would not attend, regardless). IMHO this decision should have been made already. I am far from being a political animal, but to be honest it sours my opinion of F1 in general that a race was still under consideration.

The irony is that from a fan perspective, I don’t see it being a big deal. I see Bahrain as an under-attended yawn-fest. The only exciting thing about it is that it’s the first chance we get to see the new cars – perhaps that’s why it’s the first on the calendar? Last season, after Bahrain, everyone was saying what a boring year of racing it was going to be (look at the JA archives) – and then what happened?

I’m happy to wait a fortnight for the first race – one that won’t feel like a “teaser”.


The idea of the cars racing around in the current climate over there would never have looked good for the sport. It would have led to more riots and members of the teams being targets for the protester’s rage and anger.

In a very busy year its tough to see it fitting in anywhere unless a date or two inregards to other races is changed or the teams give up their 3 week break in the summer. Perhaps simply racing twice at one event would be an option?


Can’t the BBC televise that sunday afternoon some testing action….. anything…… I jsut want to see some cars in action soon….


Yes, it’s odd that they’ve not played out any footage from Barcelona. They were here in force, with camera


Are they allowed to show testing live? It seems strange that the BBC wouldn’t, even if it was just on the Red Button. I think they showed MotoGP testing in November live on the Red Button.


Pain in Bahrain. I was almost looking forward to a bit of boredom there but instead we get one more Barcelona test with no TV coverage (at least here).

In any case, it would’ve been sort of funny to see how the tyres work in racing conditions and maybe get a massive pile-up at the first corner in Bahrain. No such luck, and the first official pile-up of 2011 will certainly come courtesy of Melbourne.

They could’ve tried Portimão for a change or Navarra, dunno, Barcelona seems like a cliché to me. The teams obviously have a vast amount of data from previous years and can make comparisons, etc., but for photographers it’ll be boring – the same pics as the last time.


If any one race had to be chopped from the calendar, I’m sure a lot of people would pick Bahrain!


Our Bernie who art not yet in heaven, sullied be thy name, thy kingdom nearly done, thy bidding WILL be done on race tracks and in business, give us this day more of your power crazed delirium, and forgive us for questioning you as we don’t forgive you for slowly destroying our sport. Lead us not into another “borehain” but an exciting historical australian season opener. For thine kingdom is crumbling your glory nonexistent and thank the real Lord you won’t be around forever and ever!


I really commend F1 for making a just decision. I was a bit sceptical when it came to Bernie saying its up to the Emirs. But business wise it would have been an unwise decision to carry on. The news coverage could have been awful.. “while people are being killed and tortured.. F1 – a world sport – makes flying start in Bahrain”.

So this brings us to a season starter with a big unknown: Pirelli’s in the heat.

It could be a surprising race! Bring it on!


It’s a good decision IMHO. Unfortunatelly, we need to wait longer for the first race, but for obvious safety reasons it’s good that the GP was cancelled. What’s even morw important, Bahrain has some more important issues to deal with now than an F1 race and it would be a bit “incensitive” to organise this, let’s call it, fancy and rich event when the country’s in such a turmoil.


Bahrain has been postponed. James, I’ve read the FiA press release, do you think that Jean Todt was working quietly behind the scenes with the Bahrain Motor Federation to call it off themselves, rather than forcing the FiA and FOM’s hand? Sheikh Abdullah Bin Isa Al-Khalifa is one of Todt’s supporters, so I wonder if the silence from the FiA actually meant that they were doing something. Todt never struck me as a man who waits for circumstances to get wrapped around his throat before he acted.

Getting the Bahrian GP shoehorned into the schedule somewhere is is going to be quite a job.


Yes once all the bodies are buried and the blood is washed off the streets I am sure the FIA will be only too happy to continue to race in Bahrain and they will find the space in the calendar.


I’m glad not least because it’s rather a dull event, won’t ever forget the disappointment last year after watching the most hyped new season for years start out something of a damp squib; only for two weeks later in Australia being entertained by a thrilling race!

I’d say I’m a fairly hardcore fan in terms of the amount of time I spend watching and reading about F1, but I struggled with last years Bahraini offering…

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