Bahrain’s Crown Prince decides the race is off

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Bahrain, 2010

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Bahrain, 2010

The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix will not take place, according to the race organisers.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said: ??We felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest.

“Bahrain?s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together to remind the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.??

Bernie Ecclestone said: “It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country.

“The hospitality and warmth of the people of Bahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who has been at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify. We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon.”

With the Bahrain Grand Prix not happening the Australian Grand Prix on 25th-27th March will be the first race of the season.

It remains to be seen whether the race will be postponed until a later date or cancelled entirely.

Williams chairman Adam Parr said: “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.”

Renault team principal Eric Boullier added: “The recent situation in Bahrain has been very difficult for the country. We feel the decision taken by the Crown Prince is wise and we fully support it.

“The Bahrain Grand Prix has always been welcomed with enthusiasm from the Bahraini people, and we?re looking forward to going back there when they have healed their country. We will now amend our logistics accordingly and will get ready for Australia.”

The chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit Zayed Alzayani said he hopes F1 can return to the circuit soon:

“Bahrain?s Grand Prix is a time of celebration and hosting the race is a source of great pride for Bahrain and Bahrainis

“It is a showcase to the world and we look forward to welcoming the teams and drivers and everyone involved in Formula One back to Bahrain in the very near future.

??I hope that F1 and our friends around the world will understand our decision at this difficult time.??

The FIA also issued a statement on the race which it referred as being “postponed”:

“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.

“This decision is the outcome of the close co-operation between the FIA, Formula One Management, the Bahrain Motor Federation and the Bahrain International Circuit.”

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Image ?? Team Lotus

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121 comments on Bahrain’s Crown Prince decides the race is off

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  1. Can anyone let me know how they get on with getting refunds on flights, hotels, the F1 tickets themselves, etc… I saw this on the F1 ticket site:

    Terms and conditions
    Cancellations and Changes: This Activity cannot be changed or cancelled. No refunds, credits, exchanges, or cancellations of this Activity are allowed. Refunds will not be issued for unused or partially used attractions or services.

    • Dipak T said on 21st February 2011, 16:17

      Typical Bernie.

      • Really?

      • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st February 2011, 16:29

        It’s also not really typical Bernie. Its standard terms and conditions for sporting events.

        • Bigbadderboom said on 23rd February 2011, 12:30

          UPDATE 23/2 Bernie has not charged Bahrain for a GP they are not hosting. He is quoted as being determined to reschedule this year, but FOM will foot the $40 million or so bill if they cannot hold event this year. So then not really “Just about the money” as many speculated!!

    • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st February 2011, 16:20

      Hi Mark,

      I don’t know the contract details, but this wouldn’t fall under normal terms and conditions. If you bought it as part of a pre-paid package (i.e. it was reliant on the grand prix going ahead) then you may have a force majeure clause in the contract or something similar.

      If you booked flights/hotels separately to the F1 tickets though, in which case you’ll probably have to call them up to ask. I’d imagine you may find that difficult though, especially with the loss of profit from the hotels etc. You’ll defo be able to get the F1 ticket price back though.

      • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st February 2011, 16:21

        *as the part you have quoted refers to you cancelling, not the event itself being cancelled.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 16:28

        On the other hand, the flights and hotel tickets might be easily be cancelled based on the travel advice as it currently stands.

        The US has the negative advice (only essential travel) in place for reviewing only on the 18th of March. That would make it impossible to go there for a GP.

        • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st February 2011, 16:33

          yep thats also true. It really depends on the contract to be honest. The UK also has put out a travel warning. I’m not sure that alone is enough to warrant the contract being cancelled/refunded though. It is a warning after all.

          It’s more likely to help with the flights than the hotels i’d say.

          • Given that going would probably invalidate your insurance, the UK message should be enough (it’s not due for review for a month either). It should be sufficient for flights and for anything done as part of a package.

            I’m not sure if tickets can be refunded, but ask away – even if you can’t get a refund, you’ll likely be able to get the same ticket for the re-arranged event (which is likely to be in several months’ time).

      • I just spoke with the customer service people for the F1 tickets and they said everyone is getting their money back and they’d ring me in a few days to confirm.

        I booked my hotel through booking.com and got to cancel it for free. Now all I need to do is get the money for my flight back from Turkish Airlines (wish me luck) and then pick another grand prix to go to this year :)

        • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 21st February 2011, 19:10

          Did you pay on a credit card? If so and if you have no look with the airline, then going through your credit card company might be easier.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 20:11

          Consider going to Turkey. A very decent track, not to expensive and you could try to get Turkish Airlines to just transfer your flight to there!

          Not sure about where to sit though, I heard the runoff makes it hard to get close to the track.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 16:21

      I’ll be on the lookout for information on that.
      First thing is, they might postpone it. If you have a package deal, that might be moved as a total.

      Not too sure about it though.

      • Rachel said on 21st February 2011, 16:40

        If an event doesn’t go ahead because of unforeseeable events, then the contract is “frustrated” and any services not provided up until the date of the frustrating event should be refunded.

        Plus – if you bought tickets/flights etc. using your credit card (not debit card) and the cost exceed £100 (shouldn’t be hard!) then your card company have to pay up anyway.

    • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 21st February 2011, 19:12

      Given the current travel warnings in place regarding Bahrain, I don’t think whether the flights/hotel were booked as part of an F1 package should matter.

      People are being advised not to travel to Bahrain – that should make it very easy to get a refund.

    • kowalsky said on 21st February 2011, 19:30

      don’t worry, they’ll refund you. But next time think twice before booking in advance for a f1 event. I am sure that circuit in particular is never sold out, and you can buy the tickets at the track.

    • andrewh said on 23rd February 2011, 19:52

      Just cause F1 is off, does’nt mean we can’t go back to racing Camels. Omar’s Camel has a very secret Exhaust system that is very hard to get a good look at!

  2. This is best for the country

    But I’m disappointed as an F1 fan since there’s now 2 more weeks to go until the season opener….

    • Ned Flanders said on 21st February 2011, 16:20

      Let’s be honest, that is a very trivial problem compared to what they are having to deal with in Bahrain right now.

      But, I wonder if the replacement test will be hyped up somewhat into a special event to try and create some pre season excitement for us all? If Ferrari get their way, maybe they could make a bit of a mini testing championship out of it!

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 16:24

        Certainly having it in Spain will get a lot more viewers there than would have been the case in Bahrain (that is in Bahrain without the protests).

        Sure I am sad the race could not go through, but mainly because of the reason for that. And having Melbourne as the first race is not too bad.
        I loved getting up for the opening race, doing it for the second is a bit strange.

      • ajokay (@ajokay) said on 21st February 2011, 16:29

        I want a Non-Championship race at Portimao, or something.

      • Sush Meerkat said on 21st February 2011, 18:25

        But, I wonder if the replacement test will be hyped up somewhat into a special event to try and create some pre season excitement for us all?

        I’d like to pen this open letter to the F1 teams:

        “Dear F1 Team’s peeps and peepettes,

        Since the cancellation of the Bahrain GP, not only sad day for us as F1 fans but sad for the people of Bahrain in terms of their predicament, in light of events I propose a congregation held in honour of the Bahraini people at a track of FOTA’s choosing.

        This meeting would not effect the championship standings but would be to celebrate several things, The Hospitality of the Bahrain citizens, Robert Kubica’s recovery and for F1 fans to unite for them.

        We would be grateful if you could come to an agreement with a track for the weekend of March 12th, failing the acquisition of a circuit for the weekend, a night race could be held in my local Supermarket car park, it has really good tarmac.

        Regards
        The Collantine Club”

        What do you think?

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 21st February 2011, 16:24

      I agree. I think it’s for the best for lots of reasons. Just bad for the fanatics with withdrawl symptoms!

    • Pink Peril said on 21st February 2011, 23:55

      And the good news is that Melbourne is back to the season opener, where it rightly should be.

  3. matt88 (@matt88) said on 21st February 2011, 16:17

    honestly, this was the only acceptable solution… good for F1, Barhaini people have more important problems to care for.

  4. Ned Flanders said on 21st February 2011, 16:17

    For a while I was beginning to fear Ecclestone was crazy enough to keep the race on. That would have been an utter farce. I’m glad that some sort of common sense has finally prevailed

  5. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st February 2011, 16:17

    Bad news for the F1 fan, good news for Bahrain and for F1 in general.

    Here’s hoping that Bahrain can now sort out its political issues and for a safe/exciting (we can hope) grand prix later in the year!

  6. explosiva said on 21st February 2011, 16:19

    As much as I would like to, I will not make any geopolitical or Bernie commentary here.

    This is the best decision simply for the safety of everyone involved in what is a very fluid situation.

    Ok…I give in. Let’s get rid of this race at this sleep-inducing track!!!

    • “Ok…I give in. Let’s get rid of this race at this sleep-inducing track!!!”

      I’ve always liked the track (ignoring the Loop); it’s good some good gradient changes, a few really challenging corners and the races there haven’t been too bad. 2010 would have seemed a bit better too if the director actually showed the overtakes and not just Vettel at the front.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 16:30

        Fully agree. Another area for Bernie to work on now they have a bit more time.

        Actually catching the on track action would have made Bahrain a solid race instead of a snore fest.

      • explosiva said on 21st February 2011, 16:34

        OOh, I have an idea. I hope FOM is reading this. Maybe they can, in the future, implement simultaneous broadcast of multiple camera feeds (maybe 2×2 on a big screen TV?). Then the viewer can decide to zoom in on the angle he likes. Or just follow his own favorite driver. It’ll be interactive TV.

        Well, real interactive TV would require drivers to respond to my tweets from inside the cockpit real-time, but I digress.

        • This would be possible today, but I’m sure it won’t happen before some time…

        • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 21st February 2011, 17:39

          Hmmm. I’ve never actually sat in front of an F1 race and thought, “You know what would make this better? If I was the director.” I like to concentrate on what’s happening rather than fiddling with 50 million controls trying to get the camera angle I want.

          Sometimes I would prefer it if the director focussed on something other than what he is showing (I’m looking at you, Fuji TV) but that’s very different to wanting to call the shots myself.

          Maybe there is a market for a paid-for subscription service with “interactive” features (even though there wasn’t last time Bernie tried it in the UK), but I would hope the free-to-air, centrally directed broadcast wouldn’t disappear.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2011, 18:02

            I’ve never actually sat in front of an F1 race and thought, “You know what would make this better? If I was the director.”

            I know what you mean.

            But on the other hand I have watched certain races and thought. “You know what would make this better? If a blind, inebriated monkey was the director.”

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 20:14

            LOL Keith. Crude but oh so true!

            Bernie take note

  7. Dipak T said on 21st February 2011, 16:21

    Common sense prevails, finally. Hopefully F1 will be back there before long, but only once the problems have been dealt with amicably.

    Anyway, looking forward to the season as it should be – starting down under and ending in style in Brazil!

  8. The right decision, though waiting another weeks is hard. Starting the season with the Austalian GP is the better option anyway; much better track/spectucal.

  9. So with Bahrain gone that opens up 2 weekends (the test and the race). You think we’ll see 2 extra tests or just 1 to make up for Bahrain’s missing one? If there’s only 1 test that leaves a 3 week gap to Australia.

    • Stefanauss said on 21st February 2011, 16:29

      I second that.
      With all the rules changes that are in place this year, it’d be very wise to allow 4 more days of test taking place in the week before or after Bahrain was supposed to.

  10. Interestingly, Steve Hood (of Codemasters) says that the cancellation might not change whether or not Bahrain will be in the F1 2011 game later this year (he tweeted that it’s not CM’s decision anyways).

  11. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st February 2011, 16:27

    A question.

    Would this be a decision made by Bernie or by Jean Todt?

    (of course, this is massibely simplified, but I’m interested)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2011, 16:29

      It’s notable that we haven’t heard a peep from the FIA about the whole thing.

      Ecclestone said they’d do what the Crown Prince said.

      • It’s notable that we haven’t heard a peep from the FIA about the whole thing.

        Mr Todt is asleep. ssshhhhhhhsss

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 16:36

        That figueres. Bernie left it to the CP to call it for moneys sake as well as keeping good relations going.
        And Todt would hardly want to be seen to fail a key supporter of his election.

      • F1.com isn’t updated yet either.

      • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 21st February 2011, 16:58

        I have noticed the lack of the FiA’s involvement, but I wasn’t sure if that was because they simply weren’t in control of the decision or because they are a sporting body and wish to distance themselves from any politics.

        Certainly though, this is different to anything under Mosley’s reign, so interesting nevertheless. I was just wondering who would have the final say, because its likely to be the FiA’s decision whether to race I would have thought, as Bernie only holds commercial rights. (I think)

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st February 2011, 20:18

          We just might get a press statement, say midweek, stating that in light of the recent developments, the FIA sees no other possibility than to accept the request of the BIC and lay the matter of cancelation of the race before the FWMC. This will be possibly adressed during the september FIA World Council meeting.
          Until then no further announcements will be made.
          or something along those lines.

      • I think JT did mumble something a week or so ago about “wait and see”, but otherwise, yes, the FIA have been very quiet.

        Quiet seems to be the FIA’s MO these days.

  12. xtophe (@xtophe) said on 21st February 2011, 16:28

    Let’s hope the Bahraini political system and the Bahraini citizens come out of this in a good way so they can genuinely strut their stuff next time around.

  13. Sevrige (@sevrige) said on 21st February 2011, 16:29

    A good decision to cancel the race. They should go back to testing at Jerez for another 4 day stint. The first three days could be testing and then the final day could be qualifying in the morning and a test gp in the afternoon.

  14. So empty grandstands next year? No one will book tickets for the 2012 GP now, since everyone will be worried about protests happening and the GP being canceled again.

    If the Crown Prince is nice, he’d offer all the ticketholders free tickets (and flight and accommodation?) for next year’s GP, but I guess he didn’t get to be ruler by being nice.

  15. Robbie said on 21st February 2011, 16:34

    That’s a relief.

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