FIA ask Ecclestone to confirm Bahrain Grand Prix is off

Formula One's governing body asked commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone to confirm the cancellation of the...

A Grand Prix race car. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Formula One's governing body asked commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone to confirm the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

The Bahrain circuit organisers said in a statement on Thursday that they accepted the race, postponed in March due to bloody civil unrest, could not be held this year after teams opposed a rescheduling.

"In the light of the statement by the Bahrain International Circuit, we are now waiting for the commercial rights holder to suggest a new calendar to the World Motor Sport Council," an International Automobile Federation (FIA) spokesman said.

Ecclestone, attending the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal while FIA president Jean Todt will be at the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race this weekend, has already said a fax vote could be arranged quickly.

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

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 should see the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi, whose circuit has yet to be approved, revert to its original October 30 date from Dec 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.

"Whilst we support the idea of racing in Bahrain, a country that has always hosted us with enthusiasm and warmth, once the security conditions have been fully re-established, we feel that there are fundamental issues linked to the logistics of reintroducing such a race as proposed that have to be considered," FOTA said in a letter to the FIA on Tuesday.

"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."

"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.