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Bahrain International Circuit withdraws from round one of 2011 // The political situation in Bahrain sees the F1 race postponed

Published by Christine

Bahrain International Circuit withdraw from F1 opener
Bahrain International Circuit withdraw from F1 openerCredit: GP2 Series

After days of speculation, Bahrain International Circuit have confirmed their withdrawal from hosting the season opener for the 2011 F1 season. With political tensions in Bahrain growing, there was always a question mark over the ethics of running the event, and with fears that the circuit may be targeted, safety was of paramount concern.

Initial confirmation came via the Information Affairs Authority, Kingdom of Bahrain account on Twitter, which went on to note that the Crown Prince had informed Bernie Ecclestone by telephone.

Bahrain International Circuit announces Bahrain's withdrawal from first race in #F1 season.

IAA_Bahrain IAA_Bahrain

The official statement from the organisers followed, with HRH Prince Salman keen to express his gratitude towards Ecclestone.

Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain’s to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain’s Formula 1 race to a later date.

- Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

At the moment, it is unknown whether the race will be postponed, or cancelled altogether. There is also the matter of testing which was due to move on to Bahrain after finishing up in Barcelona today. Formula 1 teams are meeting this evening, and will likely decide what their next destination will be then.

The postponement of the event in Bahrain means that the Australia Grand Prix becomes the 2011 season opening race on 27 March.

Updated 17:50 - Formula 1 teams confirmed this evening that testing would be rescheduled for 8-11 March at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

It is obviously disappointing for everyone involved in the organisation of the event, but it is clear that to race in Bahrain at this time would be inappropriate given the current circumstances. It is always Williams’ intention to contribute positively to the countries we compete in and so we fully support the Crown Prince’s decision to cancel the test and forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix. We now look forward to a season debut in Melbourne and returning to Bahrain when it is right to do so.

- Adam Parr, Chairman of Williams F1

Updated 18:59 - After spending several days hiding under a rock, the sport's governing body managed to cobble together a coherent thought on the Bahrain GP.

The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile supports the decision of the Bahrain Motor Federation and the Bahrain International Circuit to postpone the scheduled first Grand Prix of the 2011 season due to be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain on March 11-13.

- FIA Press Release

The final words go to Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner, who sums up the situation nicely, "At the end of the day we’re a sport and we can always go back there, if not this year then in future years."