Bahrain GP hopes suffer another blow
14 March, 2011
Mar.14 (PVM) Hopes that the Bahrain GP can be staged at a later stage in the year have suffered another blow as protests and violence engulfed the island kingdon and continue to capture headlines.
The Guardian reports that Saudi forces are preparing to intervene in neighbouring Bahrain, after a day of clashes [Sunday] between police and protesters who mounted the most serious challenge to the island’s royal family since demonstrations began a month ago.
The Bahrain GP was scheduled to kick start the 2011 Formula 1 World Championship season this past weekend. But civil unrest and related violence which erupted last month and has continued sporadically since then prompted the postponement of the race. The season opener will now be the Australian GP on 27 March in Melbourne.
Formula 1 relations with the Bahrain rulers has always been healthy and the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council gave Bahrain until 1 May to make a decision on whether they will host the race or not.
Crown prince, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, said in a televised statement that Bahrain had “witnessed tragic events” during a month of unprecedented political unrest and “the right to security and safety is above all else.” He added, “Any legitimate claims must not be made at the expanse of security and stability.”
As Ecclestone said, “If there is peace in Bahrain then we will be there, we will find a way.”
Prince Al Khalifa said when the race was cancelled, “At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain.”
With the continued violence and the reports that Saudi armed forces are poised to enter Bahrain, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the Grand Prix will go ahead later in the year.