Bahrain Grand Prix organisers have all but given up hope of the cancelled race making a return to this year’s F1 calendar, a decision that will no doubt be welcomed by many F1 fans and insiders.
The announcement paves the way for the Indian Grand Prix to take back its original October 30 slot on the calendar.
Hopefully, the announcement will be treated in the correct fashion within the Bahraini government, and that the authorities will use the time before the end of the year to instigate proper and much-needed reform. If it can achieve this, then the kingdom will quickly regain credibility and its place on the F1 calendar, which will be welcomed by all.
In the hours leading up this announcement, the FIA had asked Bernie Ecclestone to submit a revised calendar should it wish to do so. While FIA President Jean Todt made staged a quite reasonable defence in his letter of reply to the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA), there are still several parties who need to be held accountable for the decisions leading up to – and stemming from – the move to reinstate the Grand Prix at Sakhir.
The World Motor Sport Council failed to reject the proposal to reinstate the race put forward by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, as well as causing itself further strife by readily accepting a report from the FIA Vice-President that categorically failed to critically examine the situation in Bahrain.
Much of the media criticism has been directed Todt’s way, but Ecclestone and Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali – who is a voting member on the WMSC for F1 matters – both voted in approval of the race’s return this year.
“Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the grand prix progress on October 30th in-line with the World Motor Sport Council’s decision, it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision,” reads a statement from Zayed R Alzayani, the boss of the Bahrain International Circuit.
“Bahrain has always sought to play a positive role in the continued development of Formula 1, from pioneering F1 racing in the Middle East, to helping other countries in facilitating their own races in new territories, as well as providing our own unique experience and universal welcome to grand prix supporters.”
He added: “Bahrain has absolutely no desire to see a race which would further extend the calendar season [and] detract from the enjoyment of F1 for either drivers, teams or supporters. We want our role in Formula 1 to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been, therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season.
“We look forward to welcoming teams, their drivers and supporters back to Bahrain next year and would like to extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters, including staff, volunteers, sponsors, private businesses and the general public, for whom I know this year’s decision will be a disappointment.
“We would also especially like to thank the FIA, FOM, the Bahrain Motor Federation (BMF) and the teams for all support and understanding they have extended to us at this time.”