Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Bahrain, 2010

Bahrain’s Crown Prince decides the race is off

2011 Bahrain Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. Do we have any news as to what’s happening in the GP2 Asia series? I’m suspecting that it’ll be cancelled as well, which seems to make a bit of a farce out of the whole competition…

    1. it was cancelled last week

  2. A shame but a sensible decision.

  3. I think this was the only sensible option. If the situation in Bahrain stabilises the race could be rearranged for the end of the season if they are prepared to pay Ecclestone enough money, although I wouldn’t be surprised there will be no 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix.

  4. for everyone who booked a flight…. It is most of the time better to pay maybe $100 extra to reschedule your flight for a later vacation, because cancel the flight would result in a bigger money loss, unless you purchassed a fully refundable ticket. Use it for another race. And you wouldn’t lose too much money.

  5. I thank you all in supporting the Bahraini people. I understand what people there are going through.

    I’m Egyptian, and I spent the last month in continuous protests against the government, until we finally got rid of our dictator, and we’re now heading towards a new democratic and liberated era.

    Although I’m a hardcore F1 fan, but I’d rather see the race at Bahrain gets called off and people there wins they’re liberty and freedom in return.

    1. Congratulations on your new future. I hope you are able to realize the dreams you have for your people and your country. You deserve it!

      Maybe in five years there will be an Egyptian Grand Prix at Luxor?

      1. Thank you ManjuBoy! A Grand Prix at Luxor? I’d love that! Or a grand prix at the Pyramids maybe?? Imagine! :)

        1. Congratulations to getting things moving. Keep up and learn from mistakes made in the past!

          I did see your people are being supportive of neighbour Libya as well. They need all help they can get.
          Maybe get your army to bomb a few airfields so they stop bombing their own people would be great, but I understand your military not being to happy to act like that in a foreign country.

    2. Congratulations on your victory. I had to watch my country’s revolution from abroad 20 years ago and when I was watching events in Egypt unfold now, there was more than a little part of me that wanted to be there too. All the best to you.

  6. Good, time to bring back the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch?
    Lousy weather but saw James Hunt win there in 1976…

  7. I love how all the teams say they agree or “fully support” the king’s decision as if their opinions actually mattered or their support was necessary. (especially Williams lol)

    I suppose now Ferrari will go their usual route and declare that they don’t support the king’s decision.

  8. @I always thought a non points optional pre-season race was a darned good idea…

  9. I believe this is the right decision in the present circunstances. But I will miss it anyway. I do like the Bahrain GP a lot and I remember pretty good races there (well, a wet Bahrain race would be tops. Unlikely, though).

    I would have Bahrain instead of Silverstone or Valencia anyday, really.

  10. A sensible call, and I think that this will obviously mean the first race of the season will take place a bit later is a rather trivial concern under the circumstances.

  11. As much as I will have to cope with the shakes and a fiery rage for a further two weeks due to my formula one craving not being satisfied, there are much bigger things at stake here.

    My thoughts are with everybody in Bahrain.

  12. Sensible decision (Whoever made it) Cold turkey for an extra couple of weeks, but I’m sure Keith will keep us occupied for the additional 2 weeks. I hope the people of Bahrain get the future they deserve.
    Away from the politics, rights and wrongs (and not wishing to sound unsensitive to the people of Bahrain) will this play into Mclarens hand, I’m sure Lewis and Jenson will appreciate the extra time even if in the simulator. They certainly look like the need it after the Barcelona tests.

  13. The right decision. And, if I may say without being there, encouraging wording from the prince’s statement – for international consumption though it may be. Only good thoughts to the good people of Bahrain.

  14. A friend and I bought tickets, flights and booked a hotel in Manama for the Bahrain GP at the end of 2010. I’ve been looking forward to it hugely, so was extremely anxious when the unrest began and it emerged that the race might be threatened. I’m sure there will be a lot of people who were in a similar situation – checking the news every day for the last week or so to see how the situation developed.

    Cancelling the race is probably the right decision. The start of a new F1 season should have a celebratory atmosphere, which, with all the security and tension, wouldn’t have been present in Bahrain. Any kind of radical behaviour from protesters, justified or not, would have been a disaster for the sport and the safety of the teams, fans and circuit staff is paramount. The situation is more severe than anyone in the UK knows, and they clearly need time to talk and to bring about change.

    That said, from a purely personal viewpoint, I’m totally gutted that we won’t be going.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      21st February 2011, 21:17

      Ouch. Huge sympathy.

      1. Take the money you get back from Bahrain and go to Abu Dhabi or Spa ;)

  15. Well, if you can’t trust Ecclestone to make the hard decision that’s right for the people of Bahrain when they’re trying to pressure an autocratic leader for change, you can at least trust the autocratic leader to do it… How’s that for irony?

    Honestly, I think that if the positions had been reversed, Ecclestone would be sending in the bombers and the Crown Prince would have canceled two weeks ago. I’d have a beer with the royal family before I would Bernie and his circle.

    Not that the royal family would have beer, but you know what I’m saying.

    1. especially not, seeing as they are muslims and do not drink.

      1. Delete: “do not drink”.

        Insert: ‘should’ not drink.

  16. I hope the tension in Bahrain calms down to the point this race can be held toward the end of the season. Not a good track for a final race or race toward the end of the season (I know people say its a boring track, but theres much worse). In the end though its more F1, and less of a wait for the next season to start!

  17. Ha! And people simply assumed that they’d hold the race regardless of the situation in the country.

    1. That was when they were assuming Bernie would make the call. Turns out that the prince has either some honor or some sense left in him – both things that were ruled out long, long ago as far as Ecclestone is concerned.

    2. Are you for real PM?

      1. Go back and read some of the comments in the article about Bernie deferring the decision to the Crown Prince. A lot of people thought that the Prince would hold the race regardless. Even the protestors claimed that the Prince was only willing to negotiate because he wanted the race to go ahead.

  18. Well we knew that it was a matter of when rather then if the cancellation will come.I feel sorry for that but similarly that’s the best outcome that the come from it.Three things they can do if they want the race back,
    1. Have it after the Chinese GP as there is a huge gap then to the Turkish GP.
    2. Have the race during the summer break (if at that time it isn’t too hot in Bahrain)
    3. Have it at the tail end of the season.

  19. I guess this means Jules Bianchi wins the GP2 Asia series!

  20. Yasser Mansour
    22nd February 2011, 5:00

    it seems these days whoever wants something protests and he’ll get it , guess I’ll protest against cancelling the GP, I was planning to go :(.

    it’s really a shame , I know people there , they say it’s only that pearl roundabout that is causing some problems .. I wished they would wait another 4 days and I’m sure every thing will be calm ,, I think it already is

    1. Is that you Crown Prince? Everything may have calmed down, but would certainly not be safe and problems resolved…

      I think it is innappropriate to say the least to imagine holding a GP where those who would have ordered the response given the to protestors would be schmoosing with the VIPs.

      I’ve read Laks post, and what is certain is that while some of the reporting of events may be somewhat questionable, there are bigger issues for Bahrain to sort out in the short term.

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