Bahrain Grand Prix reinstated on 2011 F1 calendar

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Start, Bahrain Grand Prix, 2010

Start, Bahrain Grand Prix, 2010

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has reinstated the Bahrain Grand Prix to the 2011 F1 calendar.

The race will be held on the weekend of the 28-30th October when the Indian Grand Prix was originally slated to take place.

That race is now expected to take place at the end of the season, though it remains to be seen exactly when.

The earliest date it could occupy is December 2nd-4th, one week after the Brazilian Grand Prix. However, F1 teams have expressed reservations about extending the season.

According to an FIA statement:

Following a fact-finding mission undertaken at the request of FIA President Jean Todt, FIA Vice President Carlos Gracia visited Bahrain on 31 May 2011 to assess the situation in the country.

Meetings were conducted with the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Bahrain Motor Federation and Bahrain International Circuit, as well as other national and international organisations including Mr. Tariq Al Saffar at the National Institute of Human Rights. It should be noted that the recent announcement by the King of Bahrain has established a political dialogue and reconciliation process.

After considering all the factors and taking into consideration all stakeholders? concerns, the WMSC unanimously agreed to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix in the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship.

This decision reflects the spirit of reconciliation in Bahrain, which is evident from the strong support the race receives from the Government and all major parties in Bahrain, including the largest opposition group, all of whom endorse the Formula One Grand Prix and motor sport in the country.

The WMSC feels that reinstating the Grand Prix is a means of helping to unite people as the country looks to move forward, and also recognises the commitment made by the Formula One teams, their employees and families, and personnel associated with the Championship including the local team of volunteers who are so vital to the event.

The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on 30 October, replacing the Indian Grand Prix, which will now become the final round of the 2011 Championship, combined with the FIA Annual General Assembly and Prize-Giving Gala.

The race organisers issued the following statement:

The head of the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) today welcomed the decision of the FIA (Federation Internationale de L?Automobile) World Motor Sport Council to reintroduce the Bahrain Grand Prix to the 2011 calendar.

The decision, announced by the FIA after the Council?s meeting in Barcelona, follows a FIA delegation visit to Bahrain to assess the situation in country this week.

Zayed R. Alzayani, Chairman of the BIC, said: “This is welcome news for all of Bahrain. As a country we have faced a difficult time, but stability has returned; with businesses operating close to normal, the State of National Safety lifted and countries removing travel restrictions.

“Collectively, we are in the process of addressing issues of national and international concern, and learning lessons from the recent past. By the time the Grand Prix arrives we will be able to remind the world about Bahrain at its best.

“The Bahrain Grand Prix has always been a source of national pride and it is an event than transcends politics. Not only does it receive strong support from the Government, but also from all major parties in Bahrain, including our largest opposition group, Al Wefaq, who yesterday endorsed both the BIC and motor racing in Bahrain.

“Importantly, it will also offer a significant boost to the economy. The Grand Prix attracts 100,000 visitors, supports 3,000 jobs and generates around $500m of economic benefit. Its positive effect will be felt throughout the country.

“On behalf of Bahrain, I would like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, Jean Todt and the FIA and the rest of the motorsport community for the support and understanding they have extended to us this year.”

Bahrain is a pioneer of motorsport in the region and the rescheduled Grand Prix will be the 8th hosted by the Kingdom since its inaugural race in 2004.

The confirmation the race will take place restores the calendar to its original 20-race length, the largest it has ever been.

Update: A muted reaction from Red Bull to the news:

“Red Bull Racing has acknowledged the FIA World Motor Sport Council?s decision to go ahead with the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix.

“We will go through the correct channels and discuss this decision within the appropriate forum with the other F1 teams and our fellow FOTA members.”

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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472 comments on Bahrain Grand Prix reinstated on 2011 F1 calendar

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  1. Homer said on 3rd June 2011, 14:30

    *groan*

    • pSynrg said on 3rd June 2011, 16:35

      Couldn’t have said it better Homer.

      This will be the first race in decades I will miss on purpose.

    • LAK said on 4th June 2011, 0:48

      To all those disagreeing, haven’t you thought what the people of Bahrain want? Aren’t you supporting us after all? Haven’t you thought that they might want to move on and reunite? We are tired of what we went through, we are tired of the West thinking that Bahrainis who are pro-govt did not suffer, and it was only the protesters that did. We were forced into this crisis, the protesters did not take our consent, we were thrown into the midst of chaos and anarchy with no choice. We woke up one day seeing our lovely peaceful island disrupted and torn because of ideologies that are not part of the Bahraini psyche. Nobody took our opinion, and when they did, we agreed with their demands, but simply did not agree with their abusive ways of going about them. We say no to sectarianism, we say no to illegal chaotic protesting, and say yes to reforms, dialogue, and justice.

      It’s easy to judge sitting in the other side of the world basing your judgement on what you see and read, but were you here to experience it? Live it? Be terrorized by it? And yet we are still pushing for unity and reconciliation after feeling that people who have committed the brutal crimes or murdering, injuring and conspiring against their own country. We know the difference between protesting and a war, and we were closer to war than simple protesting.

      Now every one has calmed down thank God. The opposition have calmed down and agreed to join dialogue, and they also agree that we need to rebuild what we have damaged help the economy. They have lent their support to the Bahrain GP! So if they people of Bahrain and the opposition all agree on wanting F1 back – why are people outside of Bahrain making this hard on us?

      We are trying to unite here people! It is already hard as it is, stop making it harder, and for once just wish us well!
      If the GP happens successfully it will be proof that Bahrain has overcome this difficult period, let us have that success story. Let Bahrain work out it’s own problems, Let us be

      • Mike said on 4th June 2011, 7:19

        I truly sympathize with True F1 Fanatics in Bahrain….

        But when you saw “We” you mean “You” and when you say “Bahrain” you tend to talk about the “Pro-government supporters.”

        The Bahrain government is trying to shut out all indications that it is still committing severe human rights abuses. Fortunately, enough trickles through that the reality can’t be hidden.

      • bobo said on 4th June 2011, 13:04

        “Let us be”

        The whole world knows that Bahrain has arrested, interrogated and abused schoolgirls and that it has also set out on a revenge campaign against medical professionals who treated protesters. So it is using fear and terror to subjugate its unhappy population (who have no representation). That has a name and when the circus F1 lands in Bahrain it will be legitimising Bahrain’s use of terror to repress its people.

      • hohum said on 4th June 2011, 13:31

        LAK please keep us updated on all the reforms as they take place (in practice not theory). Bahrain is far from the worst dictatorship (or absolute Monarchy) but arresting,torturing,beating and shooting the disadvantaged because they complain is not considered civilised, even the Americans have stopped doing it, and we don’t want to be complicit in it.

      • Mike-e said on 6th June 2011, 3:01

        @LAK

        The reason is not only all of the above, but more importantly, the circuit is rubbish and the races are boring.

        Id rather see a race around the M25 in rush hour.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 5th June 2011, 17:29

      Nothing I can say apart from: Wrong decision.

  2. I believe this is the right decision. You can’t not go to make a statement, or for that matter go to make a statement. You can only go to stage a race if it’s deemed safe to do so, and it looks like that’s what we’ll have. Pleased. Perhaps now we can focus on the racing and nothing else!!

    • MVEilenstein said on 3rd June 2011, 14:33

      Pleased? Pleased that the government can now continue its human rights abuses against the opposition? Please that a quarter of the staff at the Bahrain Ineternational Circuit were fired, arrested, and beaten?

      Pleased?

    • Rob said on 3rd June 2011, 14:33

      It is impossible to not make a statement in this situation, going or not going will make one whether you want to or not. I believe this is the wrong statement.

      • Hallard said on 3rd June 2011, 17:34

        Spot on.

      • jake said on 3rd June 2011, 21:53

        One of the reasons I find this decision so rediculous is that, if they hadn’t gone, it woulkdn’t have even of had to be making a statement. It would have been easy to say no we’re not going because we can’t fit it in, no statement made or anything. But instead they go to extreme lengths, doing anything they can to make the race happen. That is one hell of a statement!

        • MattW said on 4th June 2011, 6:54

          Exactly right Jake. Just say “Bahrain’s spot was earlier in the year, everything else is locked in, sorry”, done and dusted.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:35

      Well, yeah. Bahrain officials have deemed it safe.

      But will it be safe? And at wat cost in further oppression.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:50

      So you’re saying that if there’s a place safe to race, no matter what the country is doing in terms of human rights and everything, you should go ahead and hold the race?

      That’s just lame. F1 came to Argentina when the social situation was at its worst. We had the Dirty War and the Grand Prix at the same time… but that’s alright, because it was “SAFE” to held the race.

      • Rob said on 3rd June 2011, 14:56

        this.

      • vjanik said on 3rd June 2011, 15:01

        my first grand prix was the 1986 Hungarian GP. eventhough our country (Czech Republic) was invaded by the red army and remained there until 1989 when communism fell in Prague. i was still happy that F1 decided to hold the race. Despite the fact that people were oppressed, imprisioned and despite political situation. the average F1 fan behind the iron curtain was happy that they could see a live F1 race.

        you should first ask the local people if they want the race to happen before deciding for them. the fact that they are mistreated and misreoresented in the government does not mean they dont want the race to happen. its easy for you to take the politically correct view on it though.

        • SHM said on 3rd June 2011, 16:01

          I think they want the race.becoz as i live here,there was astand at every mall and they said that who ever wanted the race back had to come and sign on a paper or board.so far 15,000 have signed it and counting………

          • Mike said on 3rd June 2011, 17:33

            Was there a stand asking who did NOT want the race because it gives support to the government?

            Don’t forget, F1 is not going back because the fans want it, it is going back because the Bahrain government is paying for it.

      • That’s exactly what I’m saying, otherwise you’d quickly find there wouldn’t be many races on the calender at all. I don’t watch F1 to make political statements, I watch it because I love racing.

    • Dipak T said on 3rd June 2011, 15:08

      I disagree. Bahrain had a a date. It missed it.

      Now its safe, we can go back next year.

      Strip out all the politics, and thats what youre left with. Going back next year. Its only fair, that if you can host the race when scheduled, then you do. If you dont, tough luck, heres your race fee back, well see you next year.

      • Will said on 3rd June 2011, 16:43

        For all the political arguments, this is surely the best response.

        Imagine if Silverstone was cancelled due to a sever weather event. Would they force it back in later in the year when the sun came out again? I think not.

        • I suppose the closest analogue to that would be the 1985 Belgian GP at Spa, which was postponed after the track broke up and put on later in the year. But would the same happen today?

          It’s debatable whether civil unrest in the host country really falls into the same category, though.

  3. MVEilenstein said on 3rd June 2011, 14:31

    Shame on the FIA, shame on Bahrain.

    I will not watch this race in any manner at all.

    • Andy C said on 3rd June 2011, 15:45

      Completely agree. The teams/drivers should take a stand and refuse to race… I certainly won’t be watching this one.

    • Kutigz said on 3rd June 2011, 15:49

      First and foremost as an ardentF1 fanatic; i’m so elated the Bahrain GP has been restated!
      Secondly, i’m not in the business of worrying about other country’s internal affairs! Thats one damn reason while we’re (US)in this deficit – financing wars that are not sustainable and bringing home cuts that strain every tax payer!
      Thirdly, to all those that care otherwise; i respect your views and choices!
      JUST PUT YOUR TELLY’S OFF COME OCT 28th THROUGH 30th!!

    • David BR said on 3rd June 2011, 18:14

      +1

      Horrendous decision. People do realize Formula 1 isn’t ‘above’ politics in this case, right? Political repression of protesters, including circuit staff, has been used to ensure the race can go ahead and various people can make money. The idea that the race can anyway support the people of Bahrain is self-serving BS. Really disgusted by this.

  4. Rob said on 3rd June 2011, 14:31

    Let’s see what (if anything) the drivers have to say about it.

    • OukilF1 (@oukilf1) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:38

      they can do nothing about it

      Quote from Guardian :

      The Formula 1 teams are united in their opposition to the reinstatement of the Bahrain Grand Prix but concede that they would be legally obliged to attend should the World Motor Sport Council give the race the green light.

      • Tom said on 3rd June 2011, 14:40

        Notice it uses the word “teams” not “drivers”.

        • Bigbadderboom said on 3rd June 2011, 14:53

          I think the sponsors reaction will be more relevant, their images are everything and whilst I, as any sane human being, would always support any group of peoples basic human rights, i’m not sure that not racing there would do that. But the sponsors and their image protection, takes sensativity to new levels. As Mad Max has already said, we should wait to see how many are removed from livaries.

        • Prehaps all the drivers will get ill that week and be of sick.

      • Rob said on 3rd June 2011, 14:44

        I did literally mean I wondered what the drivers would ‘say’ about it, not do to stop it.

      • timi said on 3rd June 2011, 14:52

        If my memory serves me correctly.. the teams were under contract to race the 1985 South African GP, but that did’nt prevent Ligier and Renault for boycotting it (kudos to them).

        If Mclaren, Ferrari or Red Bull.. even Renault or Sauber were to boycott it, the punishment for breaching contract wouldn’t be too large (just my opinion, i have no idea of the specifics of the contracts). Maybe a large fine? Even so, I as a team principal would rather have a spine, and a moral compass, than take the easy way out and blame a contract..

        Ligier and Renault have done it before.. It can be done again

      • MattJ said on 3rd June 2011, 15:20

        That’s just rubbish though. If FOTA said we ain’t going that would be it.

        To all the teams I say Don’t Go.

        To everyone who thinks this is the wrong decision get on Twitter and Facebook and let the teams know you think it’s wrong.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:45

      Expect them to be generally “happy that things have improved and looking forward to the race” come the Canadian GP press conference.

      • bosyber said on 3rd June 2011, 14:51

        That was the one slight disappointment from Buemi’s The Flying Lap appearance for me, that he already said that.

        • Speed Damon said on 3rd June 2011, 15:00

          What’s happening to the Indian Grand Prix then, Keith?

          • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 3rd June 2011, 15:05

            Moved to december I think

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd June 2011, 15:38

            I guess Bernie will now hardball the Teams about not letting down the poor Indians who through no fault of their own ended up with a december spot.

            Only discussion will be about weather they can make it on the 4th or need an extra week to get it on the 11th December weekend.

          • Nixon (@nixon) said on 3rd June 2011, 18:56

            I think India will be the final race.

  5. Griggs said on 3rd June 2011, 14:35

    The championship could well be decided by then, even if that’s not the case, I won’t be watching.

  6. Franton said on 3rd June 2011, 14:36

    So let’s see: the teams don’t want to go for various reasons, most importantly due to holidays and the political situation. The drivers don’t want to go (see Mark Webber’s recent tweets and who’s re-tweeted them … Jenson Button among others).

    But Bernie want’s to go … so they shall. Jeez :(

    • MVEilenstein said on 3rd June 2011, 14:39

      I suspect (and fear) most teams will go. Hypocrites, the lot.

      • mvi said on 3rd June 2011, 14:41

        They are obligated to go, they would face tremendous penalties if they don’t go.

        • Franton said on 3rd June 2011, 15:35

          I wonder what the penalties would be if they did a repeat of Indy 2005 …

          • Bigbadderboom said on 3rd June 2011, 16:31

            Completely different issue.

          • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:46

            They still attended the race for Indy, they took to the warm up lap, and DNS. They withdrew for safety issues, which the FIA were made aware of. In this case, the FIA have cleared the race as ‘safe’

  7. Rob said on 3rd June 2011, 14:36

    If the British GP had been postponed and then around a quarter of its employees arrested I don’t think there is a chance in hell that it would be reinstated, but then there isn’t a lot of nice government money heading to Bernie from this (and future) British GPs.

    He knows nobody believes his guff about money not being involved, but why should he care? Seems no one is going to do anything about it.

  8. Mattfd said on 3rd June 2011, 14:36

    This is not a good thing to do for the teams December? They release there cars end of Jan/Feb and go testing in Feb seems far too long for a season!!!

  9. Jeeezzzzz…

    well i guess only bahrain royal family will fill up the circuit..

    wonder which team will not go there…

    • mvi said on 3rd June 2011, 14:39

      Unfortunately the teams are obligated to go.

      • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:54

        Not obliged to race though.

        I wonder if any will pull out after the parade lap, or even set a time outside 107% on purpose as a protest.

        • Lee said on 3rd June 2011, 15:00

          to be 107% outside of the time, someone would have to set a time…. I would love to see them simply start the race and come into the pits though.

          • If nobody sets a time because everyone deliberately crashes or beaches themselves on kerbs on their out-laps, then everyone’s outside 107% because there’s no time to be inside 107% of. The teams would have to refuse to do practise as well for the technique to work though.

          • Lee said on 3rd June 2011, 15:24

            @Alianora La Canta

            I would have thought that there would be no time to be 107% outside of?

            However either way, would it not be simpler for the teams to just agree to come in to the pits after the first lap?

          • Kyle (@hammerheadgb) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:28

            I’m sure that if no-one else took to the track to set a time in Q1, Hispania would be quite happy to… thus perhaps forcing Virgin’s hand, in turn Team Lotus? Williams? Toro Rosso? Sauber?

            Hispania aren’t part of FOTA, remember… I don’t see them having any qualms about going out to claim the 43 constructors’ points on offer if nobody else wants them.

          • Mike said on 3rd June 2011, 17:38

            But Kyle, what is 43 points when all sponsors and fans will know them as the dirty team?

          • timi said on 3rd June 2011, 18:30

            your idea, while seemingly good is flawed.
            Once a car or team fails to qualify within the 107% it is then up to the FIA whether or not to allow them to race. Clearly the FIA would say yes to almost every team if HRT were the only team to set a time haha!

            But basically, by not setting a time under 107% a well established, race winning team will still have to race. fact.

          • sato113 said on 4th June 2011, 11:34

            yes, oddly enough I’d also love to see them start then pull in to the pits like indy 2005. would be a strong (and funny) statement.

    • Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 3rd June 2011, 15:10

      I think that is why they put it on the Indian date and not in December.

      If it was the last race and championship decided (as it looks now) teams would be easier to boycot.

      I see the FIA ban teams for racing the Brazilian and Indian grandprix if they boycott the Bahrain race

      This is a pure financial decision nothing else – there is no other reason to go there. Civil rights violations, staff being arrested/beaten – public being surpressed and suddenly all is good for the publicity of F1 – yeah right

      • Burnout said on 3rd June 2011, 18:22

        If Vettel sews up the championship before then and Red Bull get the WCC as well, they could afford to take the moral high ground and not race.

        Given the way the championship has gone so far, can anybody bet against that not happening?

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 3rd June 2011, 18:26

          Vettel needs to be ahead by 100 points or more to win the WDC by Korea. Red Bull needs to be ahead by 172 points or more.

          Vettel is leading by 58 points after 6 rounds – easily on pace to clinch on or before Korea. Red Bull is leading by 61 points – not quite on pace yet to win the WCC by Korea. But even then, they’d have a lead so huge, they can actually afford to miss a race.

    • infy (@infy) said on 3rd June 2011, 17:53

      Silencer, you will find that like most mass protests, only a very small percentage of the population take part (probably less than 1%).

      The rest of the people just want to get on with their lives.

  10. Johny_RC (@johny_rc) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:38

    As a long-time reader of this site, but never actually having contributed, I finally have found something that annoys me sufficiently for me to voice an opinion.

    I am absolutely appalled at this decision. It is the wrong one, and I hope that the drivers and teams find some way to make a stand against it, although I think they’ll find it difficult to do so.

    The only consolation I think we have is that the championship(s) look like they’ll be sewn up long before this travesty of a race occurs, so at least we won’t have to watch it to find out the result.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 3rd June 2011, 20:12

      Im glad that you’ve taken the oppitunity to voice your anger at this with those of us that have shown our dismay both today, and objections in the days leading up to this. Horrible descision by the FIA.

    • hohum said on 4th June 2011, 13:48

      Perhaps the drivers on the podium can “moon” the Royal Box.

  11. TheBrav3 said on 3rd June 2011, 14:38

    fudge this, fudge watching the race this is disgraceful.

  12. DGB123 (@dgb123) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:40

    So dissapointed with the FIA. This is Such a bad decision.

  13. King Six said on 3rd June 2011, 14:41

    Yep, definitely won’t be watching this race.

  14. Ads21 (@ads21) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:41

    I’m amazed by this decision, even if we were to leave aside all of the moral questions of whether F1 should be racing there I can’t imagine how it will be safe to do so in October. The Foreign Office is still advising against all but essential travel and there are numerous reports of violent clashes between the government and opposition still going on.

    Its highly unlikely that the situation is going to improve dramatically over the summer so even if we ignore the human rights abuses the race should not be going ahead.

    • Johny_RC (@johny_rc) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:44

      Unfortunatley, the FCO have re-issued their advice just this week (coincidence???)

      http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/bahrain

      So now the teams (and their insurance companies) have no recourse to question the safety of travelling to Bahrain.

      I would be interested to know how far the teams can/would go to force their drivers to turn up. I appreciate that there would be financial penalties for the teams not to show up, but is there anything in the Concorde agreement about which drivers actually race the cars?

      • Given that F1 is a locus of tension in Bahrain, I can envisage another state of emergency being declared closer to the time.

        The regulations state that teams can use up to 4 drivers, so if both current drivers decline to race in Bahrain, teams can replace them provided they’ve not had any injuries or such (force majuere may be invoked otherwise, since despite contracts, the courts cannot force someone to do what they don’t want to do).

        However, the CRB means that drivers contracted to do the whole of this season will also have to do Bahrain or else compensate their teams.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd June 2011, 15:42

          I would certainly expect the race to be used in any discussions about reforms there might be in Bahrain as a method of putting the pressure on.
          Resulting in stalemates and a renewed crackdown when these break down, for lack of agreement on any serious reforms. Making the GP date the focus of a tense situation once again.

          Hard to believe any good can come of this. I hope Bahrain supprises us, but do not have a lot of faith in that.

        • Klon (@klon) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:37

          since despite contracts, the courts cannot force someone to do what they don’t want to do.

          They most certainly can. That is what contracts are for.

          • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:58

            Contracts can’t make folk do things they think are morally wrong – teams can sack drivers who refuse to race but no driver can be MADE to drive in Bahrain.

  15. Tom said on 3rd June 2011, 14:42

    They can hold it, but I don’t have to watch it.

    • Mr Anderson said on 3rd June 2011, 15:34

      I completely agree. I have watched every F1 race on TV for many years, but I have absolutely no intention of watching this one. As most of F1s revenue comes from TV, if nobody watches it, then they won’t go back.

    • The Dutch Bear (@the-dutch-bear) said on 3rd June 2011, 18:06

      The only thing Ecclestone cares about is his wallet. The only way to hit him is by not watching and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

      (bleep) you FIA, (bleep) you WSMC, (bleep) you Bernie and (bleep) you Bahraini Government. This race is a (bleep) disgrace.

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