Ecclestone to remove Bahrain GP

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone moved to axe the Bahrain Grand Prix from the 2011 calendar Friday...

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Picture: Gallo Images/AFP

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone moved to axe the Bahrain Grand Prix from the 2011 calendar Friday after the Gulf kingdom accepted the controversial race could not go ahead.

Bahrain circuit organisers said in a statement that they accepted the race, postponed in March due to bloody civil unrest, had to be cancelled after teams opposed a rescheduling.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said they were waiting for the commercial rights holder to suggest a new calendar to their World Motor Sport Council and Ecclestone said that would be done quickly.

"We will be back to normal," the 80-year-old told at the Canadian Grand Prix. "We will put out a request to the World Motor Sport Council in the next few days. I sent something this morning, so it will be quick."

The process is a bureaucratic formality, with Bahrain technically remaining on the 2011 race calendar for October 30 until the 26 member council agrees to remove it.

FIA president Jean Todt had already asked Ecclestone, before the Bahrain circuit statement was issued, to re-examine the calendar approved by the motor sport council last Friday and if necessary submit a revised one.

The new calendar will see the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi, whose circuit has yet to be approved, revert to its original October 30 date from December 11.

The teams organisation FOTA, which represents 11 of the 12, had opposed the reinstatement of Bahrain on logistical and insurance grounds.

Without the unanimous written agreement of all the teams, there cannot be a change to the calendar published before the start of the season.

"As we have been planning around the 30th October as the date for the Indian Grand Prix, a change of this date would severely undermine our scheduled transport plans," FOTA said in a letter to Todt Tuesday.

"Similarly, our sponsors, international media and fans have organised travel and accommodation for the Indian Grand Prix and changing it now would cause an unacceptable degree of disruption and cost," FOTA added.

Asked whether the U-turn on Bahrain and the months of uncertainty about the race had damaged the sport's image, Ecclestone replied: "What was negative?

"The only thing there was that we were trying to help Bahrain, who have been helpful to F1, and we were trying to stay there as long as we could," added the 80-year-old.

"I hoped we could get it sorted. I don't know if there is peace there or not -- the FIA sent someone out to check and they said it would be all okay, but the teams had different information.

"They have the right to say they don't want to change the calendar."