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

  1. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 21st February 2011, 18:39

    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.

  2. Bigbadderboom said on 21st February 2011, 19:17

    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.

  3. Maciek said on 21st February 2011, 19:34

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. YeaMon said on 21st February 2011, 20:48

    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!

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st February 2011, 21:44

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

    • 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.

    • Are you for real PM?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st February 2011, 22:12

        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.

  8. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 22nd February 2011, 1:57

    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.

  9. Kris H. said on 22nd February 2011, 2:22

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

  10. Yasser Mansour said on 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

    • Andy C said on 22nd February 2011, 9:13

      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.

  11. Alex Bkk said on 22nd February 2011, 12:42

    Well it sounds like a good thing to me… sorry for the F1fanatics that had tickets and travel plans for the race but I think that what happened had to happen.

    Off topic: I’ve read about the earthquake in Christchurch NZ, and I hope that any fanatics there and their families are safe tonight.

    Cheers, Alex

  12. It sucks for people who bought tickets, but lets not indulge in the surreal propaganda coming out of the goverment there that the race will be back on after about restoring unity, or something. The “tragedy” for Bahrain to overcome is the govement gunning down defenseless people in public and beating up journalists, etc. The events will be overcome either by the CP getting the boot—a la Tunisia, Libya, Egpyt—or his boot coming down yet harder on the people. In the first Scenario F1 wont return, because Bernie won’t get paid, in the second, F1 shouldn’t bother to return.

  13. no refund on the 2year old childs life killed yesterday morring while the us 5th fleet sit and watchin in port..F1 MUST NEVER GO BACK TO THE COUNTRY UNTILL THE CROWN PRINCE STEPS DOWN.OR HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE LIKES OF BAHRAINS CROWN PRINCE OF MURDER.

    CHINA IS ON THE BRINK TO.THERE LIFTING PEOPLE PORTESTING OFF THE STREETS LIKE THERES IS NO TOMORROW

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