Bahrain un-reinstated. Again.
The Bahrain Grand Prix will once again be removed from the 2011 championship after the FIA responded to teams’ concerns.
Jean Todt, in an open letter to the Formula One Teams’ Association, revealed that he has requested Bernie Ecclestone to resubmit his revision to the 2011 race calendar.
‘I hope a solution satisfactory for everyone can be promptly reached,’ said Todt in the letter.
‘The FIA has at heart the smooth running of the championship and the interests of the teams, and is always prepared to address any issues, however difficult, in a constructive manner.’
He also insisted that the decision to reinstate Bahrain was within contractual boundaries, with both Ecclestone’s and Stefano Domenicali’s votes satisfying the need for unanimous agreement from the teams.
‘It was the representative of the Commercial Rights Holder (who also represents the Formula One Constructors) who proposed the changes to the calendar, [and] the delegate of the F1 commission, in which all the Teams are represented, approved the decision that you are now challenging,’ he said.
The Concorde Agreement, which supersedes the International Sporting Code, would also have allowed for the change of dates.
Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed R Alzayani later said the he accepted the decision.
‘Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the Grand Prix progress on October 30th in-line with the World Motor Sport Council’s decision, it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision,’ said Alzayani in a press release.
‘Bahrain has absolutely no desire to see a race which would further extends the calendar season detract from the enjoyment of F1 for either drivers, teams or supporters. We want our role in Formula One to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been, therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season.
‘We look forward to welcoming teams, their drivers and supporters back to Bahrain next year.’
The inaugural running of the Indian Grand Prix, which had been provisionally moved to 11 December, will now return to its original date on 30 October.
The reversal comes after almost a week of intense media and public backlash upon the FIA’s decision to reinstate the race amidst civil unrest in the island nation.
Bahrain was originally relieved from hosting its season-opening round after protests erupted across the country, after which the state’s leaders declared a state of emergency.
The state of emergency was lifted last week, before FIA vice president Carlos Gracia visited on a ‘fact finding’ mission to assess if the country was again fit to host the race.
The vice president, who – according to former FIA chief Max Mosley – cannot speak Arabic nor English, returned a report that was heavily criticised for failing to look beyond the opinions of those supportive of the Bahraini Monarchy.
During the week Bernie Ecclestone apparently changed his mind on the matter, encouraging the teams to rally against the FIA, despite Ecclestone originally speaking in support for the body’s findings.
It remains to be seen whether Bahrain will be able to return to Formula One in 2012.
Read FOTA’s letter to the FIA.
Read the FIA’s response to FOTA.
Read the press release from the Bahrain International Circuit.