Motor racing-F1 extends Bahrain deadline to June 3
Bahrain given more time to decide on race rescheduling; Original FIA deadline was May 1
May 3, 2011 3:22 by Reuters
Bahrain has been given an extension to June 3 to decide whether the country’s postponed Formula One Grand Prix can be rescheduled this year.
“This decision was taken after consultation with the relevant Bahraini authorities and Formula One Management, the international promoter,” the International Automobile Federation (FIA) governing body said in a statement on Monday.
The FIA said last month it had asked Bahrain “to communicate by May 1st at the latest” whether it could reschedule the race, postponed after violent anti-government protests in the Gulf kingdom left at least 29 dead.
The March 13 race would have been the season-opener but Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said it could be slotted into the calendar in October or November if circumstances permit.
Ecclestone told Reuters last Thursday he was prepared to give Bahrain more time, suggesting an early June deadline would be acceptable.
“We need to wait a little bit to see exactly how progress is made,” the 80-year-old said. “I suppose we’d be safe by early June or something like that.
“Things can change in a couple of weeks … so you don’t know. All of a sudden everything might be peaceful in a month’s time and they are happy to run the event and so we are happy to be there.”
In a move likely to increase sectarian tensions, a Bahrain military court sentenced four men to death last week over the killing of two military policemen. Three other defendants were handed life sentences.
The FIA said June 3 was the date of its World Motor Sport Council meeting in Barcelona, the week after the showcase Monaco Grand Prix and before the F1 circus moves to Canada.
By Alan Baldwin
(Editing by Tony Jimenez. To query or comment on this story email [email protected])