Skid mark: Bahrain is off the F1 calendar
FIA confirms Bahrain Grand Prix is off for this year while inaugural Indian race is confirmed for October 30
June 16, 2011 2:33 by Reuters
Formula One’s governing body formally struck the Bahrain Grand Prix off the 2011 calendar on Wednesday and restored India’s inaugural race to its original Oct. 30 date.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that a fax vote of its World Motor Sport Council had been unanimous in ratifying the calendar after recent controversy over attempts to reinstate Bahrain.
“The inaugural Indian Grand Prix will take place on October 30th…and the season will conclude in Brazil on November 27th, 2011,” the FIA said.
Bahrain was no longer listed.
The decision left the Formula One championship with 12 remaining races, after seven to date, and made sure the teams who had opposed any extension of the calendar into December, were listened to.
The latest FIA vote was little more than a formality after Bahrain had announced last week that it accepted the race could not go ahead and would no longer be seeking to host it.
Bahrain was originally scheduled as the March 13 season-opener but the race at Sakhir circuit had to be postponed due to bloody civil unrest in the Gulf kingdom.
Formula One’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA gave the Bahraini authorities months to decide whether to seek reinstatement of the race, postponing the deadline to the start of June.
The decision this month to restore the race to the calendar, with Bahrain taking India’s slot and the New Delhi race shifted to Dec. 11, was also announced as unanimous but proved highly controversial.
While welcomed by the Bahrain authorities, that move was opposed by teams on logistical grounds.
The reinstatement also angered human rights campaigners, with one online petition against the race going ahead claiming more than 460,000 signatures.
Bahrain lifted emergency law only this month after crushing anti-government protests and tensions remain high.
The race remains on the FIA’s provisional 2012 calendar as the March 11 season-opener, although one of the 21 races is expected to be dropped. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)