Bahrain Grand Prix gets the green light for October race
Race organisers hail "welcome news" after Grand Prix gets the go-ahead despite widespread opposition
The Bahrain Grand Prix has been rescheduled for 30 October following talks with organisers, the FIA has confirmed.
The season-opener -originally scheduled for 13 March -was postponed due to civil unrest, leaving the sport’s governing body to consider whether to cede to human rights campaigners by cancelling the race altogether.
But the World Motor Sport Council confirmed the decision to reschedule the race after a meeting in Barcelona on Friday.
“This is welcome news for all of Bahrain,” said Zayed R Alzayani, chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit.
“As a country we have faced a difficult time, but stability has returned, with businesses operating close to normal and countries removing travel restrictions.”
The season was scheduled to end with the Brazilian Grand Prix on 27 November, but the reorganised race at the Bahrain International Circuit will take the place of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, which will be put back until December.
A state of emergency in Bahrain was lifted on Wednesday, and the FIA decided that it is safe to host the race in the country despite opposition from teams and a number of drivers, including Red Bull’s Mark Webber.
Before the decision was made, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone stressed that the decision to go to Bahrain was not financially-motivated.
“[It is] nothing to do with money at all,” Ecclestone told Reuters.
“This has to do with whether people. I don’t know, to be honest, with this occasion whether people are concerned with their safety if they go or whether people are concerned with what has happened in the past.
“What has happened in that whole area, in all those countries, is not good in any way, so we will have to wait and see.”
Earlier on Friday, President of Bahrain’s information affairs authority Fawaz Al Khalifa caused a storm on social media website Twitter, after posting “Mabrook, Bahrain will host f1. Fia finalizing date now” before an official confirmation from either the circuit or the FIA.
The Formula One Teams’ Association, of which all teams except Hispania Racing are members, could still put the race in doubt should they mobilise against the FIA’s decision to stage the race. However, no statement has yet been released by the group.