The Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix, postponed in February due to political unrest in the country, has been added back to the 2011 calendar and will take place on October 30 in place of the Indian Grand Prix, organizers said on Friday. Joined AFP.
“This is very good news for Bahrain as we have gone through a very difficult period as a country and stability has returned,” Zayed R. Alzayani, head of the Bahrain International Circuit, said in a statement on Friday.
Interviewed by AFP by telephone, he then stated that the new dates for the event were October 28th to 30th, with the first free practice sessions taking place on Friday (28th) and the race on Sunday (30th).
The decision, taken “unanimously” during a World Automobile Council, a decision-making body of the international federation, in Barcelona on Friday, results in the postponement of the Indian race “which will be the final round of the championship”. The FIA announced this in a press release without further details.
The expected date of December 11th has already caused great dissatisfaction among the teams. Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn described it as “completely unacceptable” as it forced his employees to complete the 2011 and 2012 seasons without vacation.
The Bahrain GP, originally scheduled for March 13, was canceled at the end of February due to popular demonstrations against the ruling power.
At the height of the movement, seven people were killed and dozens more injured by Bahraini security forces. In the end, according to the opposition, hundreds of opponents who, like the Tunisians and Egyptian demonstrators, were demanding political and social reforms were arrested.
The Kingdom of Bahrain then gave up organizing its national GP, which was due to open the Formula 1 season on March 13 at the Sakhir circuit, and focused on “building a new national dialogue”.
The dispute visibly impacted the FIA, whose decision it said “reflects the strong spirit of reconciliation,” as one of its vice presidents noted during a trip to Bahrain on May 31 where he met the authorities and the government Representative of an NGO.
The state of emergency was lifted on Wednesday in the small Gulf monarchy, but a regional response force that helped quell protesters will remain stationed “until their presence is no longer necessary,” the Gulf monarchy's commander-in-chief said. Bahrain's armed forces said on Wednesday Thursday with.
Formula 1's big financial backer Bernie Ecclestone has been very active behind the scenes in ensuring that the Bahrain GP was added back to the calendar, despite the image problem this poses for the discipline.
“The Bahrain GP has always been a source of national pride that transcends politics. (The event) receives strong support not only from the government, but also from the main Bahraini parties, including Al Wafaq, our largest opposition group,” the organizer emphasizes.
“This will also give our economy a significant boost. The GP attracts 100,000 visitors, creates 3,000 jobs and generates a profit of around $500 million. The positive impact will be felt across the country,” they continue.
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