Had this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix not have been cancelled, the Williams team would have boycotted the race anyway, Williams chairman Adam Parr has revealed.
The announcement means that Williams is the first to have publically declared its opposition to the race .
“The decision was right by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and if for whatever conceivable reason that hadn’t been the decision, I don’t think we would have [gone to Bahrain],” Parr is quoted.
“Had the Bahrain Grand Prix gone ahead, I don’t think we, and in fact I suspect even all the teams, would have gone.”
Parr correctly echoed the concerns of many who felt that, if the Formula 1 show had visited the island kingdom, then it would be effectively giving its passive support for the current events in the country, or risk being used as a political football between the government and opposition supporters.
“It was quite apparent to everybody that we were simply going to make the situation there worse, because we would have been a focal point for demonstrations and unrest. There would have been all the media associated with us there, and therefore I think it would have just been incendiary,” Parr added.
But F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is still holding out hope of being able to reschedule the race to later in the year, having confirmed that he would only collect the event’s $40 million sanctioning fee if the race actually took place in 2010.
With the only feasible option to schedule the race being at the end of the year, the sport would face the challenging prospect of three consecutive ‘flyaway’ race weekends if the race was (logically) slotted between the Abu Dhabi and Brazilian Grands Prix.
“I think everyone is going to try really hard to put it back on the schedule, but I am not sure about it with the weather,” Parr continued. “Obviously that takes out the summer months, then it’s a bit hectic with all the flyaways we’ve got [at the end of the year].
“I’m sure everyone is going to try really hard to find a new date, assuming of course that everything has settled down. But I am not sure at the moment,” Parr added.
And despite the cancellation of the race, many of the teams will still need to recover costs associated with the event’s absence, such as the loss of income from sponsors who may activate some penalty clauses in their contracts with their respective team by dint of the race being cancelled.
It is believed that the total cost for losing the event will be upwards of $100 million.