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

  1. Chris said on 3rd June 2011, 14:47

    Disgusting.

  2. Chalky (@chalky) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:49

    The teams may be obliged to go but maybe not their sponsors and we don’t have to watch it either.

    • Johny_RC (@johny_rc) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:52

      Is there any chance the drivers could do a ‘USA 2005′, and turn up, do the parade lap then pull into the pits? Does that cover them for whatever contractual obligations they have to FOM and the FIA?

      • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:58

        Even better this year, they could not set a time with 107% in Q1 and bingo, not required to race.

      • Dipak T said on 3rd June 2011, 15:10

        Yes. They wanted a race. Lets give them what technically passes for a race.

        • Tim M said on 3rd June 2011, 17:22

          I would love this SO much! Can you imagine the crown prince, he thinks he’s getting his precious F1 race as the teams begin the parade lap only for them to peel off into the pits at the last second with zero cars taking the start! That should wipe the smile off his smug face

  3. Leon said on 3rd June 2011, 14:50

    I suppose, if we have accepted a Chinese F1 GP without a murmur of protest for the terrible suffering inflicted on anyone who dares to step out of line, by a regime which tolerates no protest whatsoever. We, the F1 world, have little clout when we show such telling inconsistency.

    For all that, this awful decision casts a very dark cloud over anything and everything Ecclestone and Todt try to say to justify their actions.

    There is now a very unpleasant stench wafting through the F1 paddock

    • There was quite a debate on China a couple of years ago, and in any case there is consistency, in that we complain about F1 going to places where its presence sparks injuries and deaths. As far as I know, nobody has been injured or killed through China having a race. It’s a very narrow morality but a morality it is (and apparently more than the FIA upper brass, Bernie or the circuit organisers can manage).

      • mantolwen (@mantolwen) said on 3rd June 2011, 22:44

        China’s a different case anyway because hosting or not hosting the GP there makes very little difference to the country. In Bahrain, it is clearly a very important event for them to host.

        • verasaki said on 4th June 2011, 14:28

          China isn’t a different case. And if they had been turned down for a GP slot or boycotted for their human rights violations it would have been a great embarrassment to them. I still don’t “accept” the race any more than I accepted South Africa. It’s deplorable that in all the countries around the world F1 can’t manage to avoid those that are the antithesis of the values sport is supposed to engender.

          It is despicable that F1- or the FIA can even consider racing in Bahrain.

  4. The Limit said on 3rd June 2011, 14:50

    From a racing perspective and as a fan who hates the ‘off season’ over the winter, I am happy. From a moral standpoint however, I feel guilty for being so selfish. As always with these decisions, money has played a deciding factor.
    I sincerly hope that the FIA have done their homework on this one because if the violence erupts again like it did three months ago they are going to look a right bunch of prize prats! Not to mention the safety of the fans and the teams being put in jeapardy.

  5. typical…hopefully noone dies, it had to be said

  6. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:52

    The only concern is safety. Seeing how the travel advice changed, it’s no surprise the race is going ahead.

    • xtophe (@xtophe) said on 3rd June 2011, 14:59

      Then again, October is a long way from now. Would a different travel advice be an argument then or now? I seriously doubt it.

      • Johny_RC (@johny_rc) said on 3rd June 2011, 15:01

        If the FCO advises against ‘all but essential travel’ then the teams would find it very difficult to get insurance, and impossible to force any team member who didn’t want to go. As you say, October is a long way away, and many things could change before then. Who knows, perhaps the FIA and FOM will listen to drivers, the fans and the teams objections and change their minds…oh and pigs might fly.

      • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:03

        What other measure do you have?

        At the very least it needs to be safe now in order to go ahead with the planning.

  7. On the upside, they won’t be able to keep the foreign media out or suppressed will they?

  8. driftin said on 3rd June 2011, 14:56

    This is embarrassing and disgraceful. Sorry, but that country needs a lot more than racing cars to help it right now.

  9. Robert said on 3rd June 2011, 15:00

    What about the people who have paid for air tickets to India, there will be no refunds on them and I cannot see FOM paying!!

  10. bosyber said on 3rd June 2011, 15:00

    Well, that’s disappointing, as realistically had to be expected.

    Maybe some sponsors would want to not be on the cars (in a way, Red Bull itself, “fun” image isn’t really helped by this much), I could see Chaves get Williams to remove his sponsorship to make a point (yes, high ground and all :) but I suppose this is how the world really works, and how F1 has been working for a long time.

    Still sad they didn’t decide otherwise though. Make roads safe – give tanks way of passage, and don’t protest.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd June 2011, 15:59

      How horribly appropriate COTD material

      Make roads safe – give tanks way of passage, and don’t protest.

      • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:08

        The brutally opressed “protests” in Paris were no reason to stop the race in Magny Cours. Or were they?

        The protests were about the same thing, discrimination against a ethnic/religious minority, police brutality, poor housing, poor wages etc etc. “protesters” got killed when storming the police there too.

        Of course safty is a different matter here, but when the travel advice is that it’s safe to travel …

  11. Sherlock said on 3rd June 2011, 15:06

    So difference between Human Right abuse in Bahrain and Chine (which both have GP) are the fact that you see it on TV or read news (Bahrain) but in other case you don’t know anything (China) because it get’s censored?

    I kinda don’t recall emotional comments when China GP was ongoing.

    • bosyber said on 3rd June 2011, 15:22

      For one, 1989 wasn’t the year of the first China GP, for another, we didn’t have as many ways to show disagreement with that race back when it started.

      I do certainly recall quite a few people finding it an issue among those I spoke with that even knew F1 existed at the time (actually quite a few of my university collegues were fans, for example).

      This is just another way to show F1 hasn’t changed since then. Still makes it wrong, and sad.

      • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 4th June 2011, 1:12

        What about the hundreds of killed protestors since 1989? Every year there are protests in China which are beaten down with lots of violence and even incidents where police shoots at (and kills) protesters.

        For instance:
        http://articles.nydailynews.com/2008-04-05/news/29432049_1_buddhist-monks-tibetan-center-tibetan-area

        But this really happens very frequently.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th June 2011, 13:40

          So does that mean, you would argue to rather put off the Bahrain GP and the Chinese GP?

          Thing is we are discussing the Bahrain GP here, not China. I know china is problematic as well, so when we get to the chines GP discussions I am looking forward to seeing you call for a boycott based on the evidently deplorable human rights situation.

          • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 4th June 2011, 22:28

            Yes, you are ONLY talking about Bahrain.

            Either boycott ALL of them or none.

            The UK killed a suspected terrorist who actually turned out to be innocent in the end.

            So we need to boycott Silverstone too.

    • My point exactly. You could also say the same for Turkey, Korea, India, Abu Dhabi etc etc etc. People are being very politically correct when it’s easy to do so from the comfort of your computer. The only news coming from Bahrain in any case was mostly from the protestors and so not balanced. I’m not there, nor am I going to be, so I’m not going to comment. I will certainly be watching the race though!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:01

      I know there were a lot of fans opposed, just as quite a lot of people opposed the Olympics there.

      But had it been introduced in 1989 there would have been just as much protest, be it with less means to do so then now, as there is against Bahrain, if not more.

      • sid_prasher (@) said on 3rd June 2011, 21:55

        On the face of it – nothing has changed in how China is governed. So the opposition should be the same.

        The fact is we just don’t know what the ground reality is – only a Bahrain national can tell us…

        • flowerdew said on 4th June 2011, 5:44

          unfortunately the one bahrain national i see posting here i also see being told by several of the other posters here to keep his/her mouth shut. it’s disturbing.

  12. and the early draft for 2012 calendar released by FIA shown Bahrain will stage first GP;

    why in the hell they can’t wait a few months more to back into calendar on 2012 instead..

    … wonder if keith will do coverage for bahrain gp..

    • Ned Flanders said on 3rd June 2011, 15:22

      Probably, F1 is his livelihood, but it would be a fantastic gesture if he didn’t

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:03

        Actually I am quite curious to see how the F1 media will deal with going there in General.

        I can imagine Will Buxton being less than happy to go there again after getting stuck in the middle of it wiht the GP2 Asia race. And some others as well.

  13. Mark said on 3rd June 2011, 15:15

    I hope the teams and drivers will boycott it.

    I wont be watching.

  14. Russell Gould said on 3rd June 2011, 15:16

    FIA: Failure in awareness.

    This is a gigantic stinkbomb laid at the feet of the teams. It likely will produce a race as competitive the last U.S.G.P.

    How to hose up a fantastic season? We have a winner!

    • Gman said on 6th June 2011, 3:54

      Well, the last USGP was actually in 2007. Not a hugely exciting race, but it did feature a memorable battle between then-teammates Hamilton and Alonso down the frontstretch at Indy, en route to Hamilton’s second career win.

      Surely you are thinking about the 2005 USGP, and you would be correct in thinking that one was not exciting…or exciting for all the wrong reasons. But there were two more USGPs staged at Indy after that, in 2006 and 2007 :)

  15. Toro Stevo said on 3rd June 2011, 15:20

    Is the BBC obligated to show the race? I remember some comment from a BBC reporter just before the original postponement saying that they might not show the race at all if it went ahead.

    Either which way, won’t be watching. The whole situation stinks.

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 3rd June 2011, 15:27

      I suspect they wouldn’t have shown it first time round because the travel advice was not to travel there so they couldn’t get insured etc.

      They will almost certainly show it this time round.
      They had no problem with the Chinese olympics and the protests against that were much more vocal than those against the Bahrain GP.

      • Mark Hitchcock said on 3rd June 2011, 15:28

        Doesn’t mean we have to watch it though. I certainly won’t be.
        Not really sure why I watch the Chinese GP for that matter. Hypocrisy I suppose.

        • Toro Stevo said on 3rd June 2011, 15:35

          I did give China a miss for years for that very reason, but caved in and watched this year and also the ’09 race. So I’m not one to talk either.

  16. Ned Flanders said on 3rd June 2011, 15:21

    Shame on all parties involved.

  17. MattJ said on 3rd June 2011, 15:21

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

  18. dinadp (@dinadp) said on 3rd June 2011, 15:23

    October is a long way off. I don’t think the race will happen. There is too much instability in the region and even with the US Navy’s 5th Fleet in the country, I wouldn’t step foot in it. Plus I think holding the last race on a new circuit is stupid. I have nothing against India but Brazil is tried-and-try.

  19. GeeMac said on 3rd June 2011, 15:24

    Well if it is being held, I’ll head over to Bahrain to watch it (provided its safe…and not just “Bernie safe”)…judging from the reactions here I’ll be able to get good seats.

    • Ned Flanders said on 3rd June 2011, 15:32

      Really?? That’s disapointing. Presumably, living in Abu Dhabi must insulate you from human rights abuses, then

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:33

        Dubai actually!

        I completely understand the arguments of you and many others who will not watch this race out of principle, and I applaud you for having such moral fibre, I really do. But after having watched the sport I love for so long I simply cannot turn down the chance to watch a race that is practically on my doorstep. Seb Buemi said on the Flying lap that he hs family in Bahrain and they say its fine, LAK has been on this forum many times and has said its ok, so I’ll be monitoring the situation and if its safe, I’ll go. That’s my way of supporting the sport I love, not a political regime.

        Human rights violations go on in many places, and take many different forms, and many of the countries that F1 currently visits don’t exactly have spotless human rights records (China for one).

        • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 3rd June 2011, 17:01

          I have to say I’m with GeeMac on this one. I won’t be actually attending the race, but I’ll be watching it as normal and treating it like any other GP weekend.

          Call me callous if you like, and admittedly I’m quite naive to the whole situation, but I love F1 and whether the decision is the right one or wrong one, I’ll watch it regardless because my opinions on the matter aren’t strong enough to make me come down on the other side of the argument.

          I respect and applaud those who feel so strongly otherwise, but I’m not going to lie and follow what seems like the majority of people who don’t want this race to go ahead.

        • Cacarella said on 3rd June 2011, 21:49

          I’ll have to give Geemac a +1 on that.

          I’d have to boycott every race connected to the FIA and Formula 1 as they’re the organizations that have decided to support this ‘evil empire’. I will feel like a bit of a hypocrite if I don’t watch Bahrain but then watch the following race.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd June 2011, 16:04

      How cynical. But I guess the being safe will still be a pretty big concern.

  20. Stevooooo said on 3rd June 2011, 15:24

    I hope all the teams pull into the pits on the formation lap.

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