Bahrain’s chamber of commerce and tourism chief has hit out at Bernie Ecclestone’s latest claim that the Bahrain Grand Prix will be unlikely to make a return to this year’s F1 calendar, despite the FIA World Motor Sport Council voting in favour of the move, a decision that has been widely panned across F1 circles.
After hosting FIA Vice President Carlos Gracia in an allegedly rose-tinted presentation that all is well in Bahrain, the government was delighted when the WMSC – which includes Ecclestone as a voting member – voted unanimously to reinstate the event on the F1 calendar in October.
But in the face of widespread criticism, Ecclestone has done a prompt about-face in the wake of the opposition to the race, as well as the sport’s own rules governing late amendments to the sport’s calendar.
Speaking with the Gulf Daily News, Nabeel Kanoo said: “It is a shameful decision and smacks of hypocrisy.
“There was no reason to consider cancelling it.”
In spite of continued allegations of violence and human rights abuses in the country, the F1 teams have been reluctant to enter into a political debate over the merits of going to Bahrain, and have stuck to an argument that an extension of the F1 calendar into December – to allow for the rescheduling of the Indian Grand Prix as it would relinquish its October slot for Bahrain – would be to onerous on their team members.