FIA asks Ecclestone to submit new 2011 calendar

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

Bahrain International Circuit, 2004

Bahrain International Circuit, 2004

The FIA has asked Bernie Ecclestone to submit a revised 2011 calendar following the teams’ objections to the reinstatement of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Jean Todt told the teams: “The FIA has always had at heart the smooth running of the championship and the interests of the teams, and is always prepared to address any issues, however difficult, in a constructive manner.

“I have listened to your last-minute objections and have asked the commercial rights holder to re-examine his calendar proposal, and if necessary, to resubmit a revised proposal to the World Council”.

Todt added: “I would remind you that:

“1. The Formula One world championship is regulated by the Concorde Agreement, the provisions of which supersede the provisions of the International Sporting Code (ISC). Under the Concorde Agreement, the responsibility to set the calendar and submit it to the FIA for approval rests solely with the commercial rights holder (art 10 and Schedule 9 of the Concorde Agreement).

“Consequently, it is the responsibility of the commercial rights holder to perform all necessary prior due diligence in order to secure his calendar proposal in order to secure his calendar proposal to the World Motor Sport Council.

“2. The question of the date of the Grand Prix of Bahrain has been on the agenda since 8 March 2011;

“3. It was the representative of the commerical rights holder (who also represents the Formula One Constructors) who proposed the changes to the calendar;

“4. The delegate of the F1 Commission, is which all the Teams are represented, approved the decision that you are now challenging.”

The FIA has also published the letter the Formula 1 Teams’ Association sent to the FIA on Monday.

The letter sent by Martin Whitmarsh and Eric Boullier on behalf of FOTA read as follows:

Following the announcement by the World Motor Sport Council of the revised calendar for the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship, on behalf of all Teams belonging to FOTA we would like to state that the amended 2011 calendar is unrealistic.

Whilst we support the idea of racing in Bahrain – a country that has always hosted us with enthusiasm and warmth – once the security conditions have been fully reestablished, we feel that there are fundamental issues linked to the logistics of reintroducing such a race as proposed that have to be considered.

As we have been planning around the 30th October as the date for the Indian Grand Prix, a change of this date would severely undermine our scheduled transport plans. Similarly, our sponsors, international media and fans have organised travel and accommodation for the Indian Grand Prix and changing it now would cause an unacceptable degree of disruption and cost.

Most importantly, the addition of the Indian race to the calendar for 2011 was a fantastic development for the sport and it is critical that we do not undermine its success by these changes. With regard to holding a race in Bahrain this year, we also have been warned that insurance coverage could not be necessarily granted and this is an additional cause of concern for us.

We would also like to highlight that an extension of the 2011 F1 season in December could also prove unbearable for the staff of a vast majority of the Teams and it would conflict with our other internal activities already scheduled for that month.

Finally, we would like to draw your attention to articles 65, 66 and 198 of the International Sporting Code that define the deadlines for the publication of calendars for FIA Championships (art. 198), as well as the procedures for modifying the dates and venues of the events (art. 65 and 66) where the consent of all competitors is required.

We are, of course, willing to discuss all other aspects of the calendar with the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder and look forward to doing so very soon. In the meantime, we trust that you will appreciate the necessity of reconsidering the calendar proposed for the remainder of the 2011 F1 season.

You can read both letters here.

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66 comments on FIA asks Ecclestone to submit new 2011 calendar

  1. Tobitron said on 9th June 2011, 16:04

    I wonder if this kind of camaraderie will be in Codemaster’s 2011 game? Exciting.

  2. iceshiel said on 9th June 2011, 16:05

    I am confused. Who initiated the new calendar?

    If it was the FIA who initiated it, why are they asking Bernie to re-examine his calendar proposal?

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th June 2011, 16:12

      My understanding is that Bernie (FOM) submits a proposal to the FIA (World Motorsport Council), and the FIA approve it.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 9th June 2011, 16:34

        But doesn’t Bernie now want no changes to be applied?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th June 2011, 16:42

          He’s suggested reinstating India to October 30 and moving Bahrain back to December.

          By asking Bernie to submit a new proposal for the calendar, Todt is forcing him to pick a side. Either Ecclestone can come up with a calendar that is feasible, which will cast him in with the FIA, or he can restore the original calendar and side with FOTA in the process.

    • cubejam (@cubejam) said on 9th June 2011, 16:17

      Bernie submitted it to the FIA, the FIA accepted, the Teams moaned, Bernie tried to make himself look better by agreeing with them.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th June 2011, 16:17

      why are they asking Bernie to re-examine his calendar proposal?

      Because FOM is the only organisation with the power to totally revamp the calendar since they’re the ones with the contacts to all circuit personnel.

      • mike77 (@mike77) said on 9th June 2011, 16:28

        BREAKING NEWS

        Bahrain grand prix set to be dropped (only this year)

      • Mark Hitchcock said on 9th June 2011, 16:39

        Yet just hours ago you said this about Ecclestone saying Bahrain won’t happen:

        That’s Ecclestone’s opinion. He has no ability to influence this because it’s a matter for the teams and the FIA to discuss.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th June 2011, 16:43

          What I said is still true. Ecclestone cannot influence the current vote – unless he is given the power to. Which Todt has just granted him.

          • Mark Hitchcock said on 9th June 2011, 16:56

            Well if he is responsible for setting and submitting the calendar to the FIA then he could easily influence the current vote by changing his mind about Bahrain and reverting to the original calendar (so Bahrain has missed their slot).
            No Bahrain, no need for a vote.

          • Hairs (@hairs) said on 9th June 2011, 17:27

            What? Todt has pointed out it’s in the Concorde Agreement.

            Are you telling us a brand new Concorde Agreement was negotiated and signed in between your original statment, and your revision?

            Surely it’s easier just to stick up your hand and say “Well looks like I was wrong there.”

          • LAK said on 9th June 2011, 18:39

            Can I still hope he’ll put Bahrain on for the 4rth of December as his second plan? That was the best solution for all.. The teams will have a race in hand? More points? Help Bahrain progress? Yes, no, maybe?

          • John H said on 9th June 2011, 18:44

            Bernie is a member of the WMSC.

    • graham228221 said on 9th June 2011, 16:30

      Bernie books the circuits, the FIA approves the calendar and can ask for changes where they feel appropriate. Bernie (or FOM more exactly) is basically the booking agent.

    • Hairpin (@hairpin) said on 10th June 2011, 0:21

      Read the article not just the headline, it’s all explained there.

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th June 2011, 16:09

    Nice try at face saving Jean.

    In effect he is saying to the teams: Complain to Bernie, he tried to push you into this over your objections, not to mention your representative agreed last friday!
    In that he has ha point.

    But accepting the FIA has no role in calendar changes, except to stamp off the result? That might be something Bernie will now treasure!

    In effect this means it will take a while before this gets done. Bernie wil have “discussions” with the teams and will return to the old calendar minus Bahrain, based on that discussion and the new facts he learnt over last weekend.
    And Jean will confirm that in a fax vote or at the next planned WMSC (isn’t that one planned before the Monza again?).

    • Rob said on 9th June 2011, 16:20

      The FIA seem to be implying that Bernie was behind it all along, gave them a calendar (implying that the teams had all given their agreement to it) which they approved. Then the teams and assorted people round on the FIA and say they don’t want to do it and Bernie, being a bit quicker on the uptake than the FIA apparently, jumps on the bandwagon against having the Bahrain GP. This makes the FIA look stupid and when they point out quite reasonably (provided it is all true) that Bernie was the one that instigated it – and implied the teams were fine with it – people think they are lying to cover themselves and avoid the blame.

      I doubt we will ever know the truth about the situation – I can imagine Bernie and the FIA would rather people didn’t examine it all too closely: Bernie saying it would probably all be fine in a few weeks at the time the race was cancelled, the FIA’s ‘fact-finding’ mission…

      Nobody comes out of it looking great.

      • Rob said on 9th June 2011, 16:21

        Should have typed quicker – looks like everyone else beat me too it!

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th June 2011, 16:27

        The FIA seem to be implying that Bernie was behind it all along, gave them a calendar (implying that the teams had all given their agreement to it) which they approved.

        As the commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone knows more about the calendar than anyone else. It was he who suggested rescheduling Bahrain for the one-month gap between Hungary and Belgium when the race was first cancellec – and when the teams objected to it because of the heat, he suggested delaying the Indian Grand Prix until 2012 and holding Bahrain on October 30th.

        And this was months ago.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th June 2011, 16:24

      Nice try at face saving Jean.

      Don’t be so cynical.

      I’m pretty sure you’ll find that in order for FOTA to vote on a matter, they need to actually have a matter to vote on. That matter was what the WMSC came up with on Friday. A lot of people have been saying that the FIA ignored Rule 66 by not asking FOTA, but what were they expecting? For FOTA to decide on the spot what their position was? FOTA need time to discuss among themselves what their stance will be. They can’t just jump straight to a conclusion; they need time to talk. If this were any other proposition, things would progress as normal, and the vote would be taken at the next FOTA meeting.

      The difference here is that someone let the cat among the pigeons by suggesting that the FIA had ignored Rule 66 before FOTA had a chance to vote. And now everyone has this idea in their heads that the FIA is the bad guy (again) simply because FOTA are taking their time to make a big decision when everyone expected them to simply react.

      Would you care to take a guess as to who put that idea into everyone’s minds?

      His name rhymes with “Wax Bosley”.

      • hohum said on 9th June 2011, 17:53

        PM Wasn’t in Wax Bosley who championed Jean Todt to replace him?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 10th June 2011, 2:26

          We all know Mosley did everything he could to hold onto power. He might have championed Todt, but he didn’t give up his power willingly. When FOTA and the FIA finally agreed on terms in 2009 that would keep the teams in Formula 1, Mosley very nearly derailed it again when he was upset that Luca di Montezemolo was claiming FOTA had forced him out. It’s long been established that Mosley thinks he knows what is best for Formula 1, and being in a position where he cannot influence the sport directly is clearly no barrier to him. He might have been Todt’s biggest supporter, but he’ll likely do or say anything to undermine him and weasel his way back into a position of power. Or have you forgotten about Todt’s plans for creating a new position of Formula 1 Commissioner? A lot of people figured that Mosley was setting himself up for that position so that he could remain heavily involved in the sport even when he was no longer President of the FIA. Todt recently abandoned those plans. I’m willing to bet that if you look at Mosley’s newspaper column, he’s been quite critical of Jean Todt ever since those plans were scrapped.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th June 2011, 19:35

        FOTA gave their funded opinion to Bernie (and Todt) during the Monaco weekend, i.e. before the WMSC meeting. This was ignored last friday.

        Therefore the teams again confirm what they stated 2 weeks ago. No voting, the FIA (or Bernie) has to get their unanimous approval, not their votes, which was not given, as expected.

  4. I think everyone at the FIA and at CVC needs to have a good, thorough read of the rulebooks they’ve written before too much more time passes.

  5. What a mess….

  6. Stoo said on 9th June 2011, 16:31

    Simple, leave Bahrain off this year and stick to the calendar that was agreed last year for this season.

    It’s ridiculous that Bernie want’s to move India, shoe-horn Bahrain back in etc. It just proves that Bernie’s motivation is wealth related and not for the good of the sport.

    Besides, why the heck does the Commerical Rights Holder control the calendar??? Surely the FIA should control it, and Bernie then arranges the commercial bits around them, not the other way round.

    The teams won’t go, and nor should they!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th June 2011, 16:37

      Besides, why the heck does the Commerical Rights Holder control the calendar??? Surely the FIA should control it

      It’s a power thing. You simply cannot have one organisation controlling too much. That’s why the FIA governs the rules of the sport, FOM look after the commercial rights and calendar, and the teams take care of themselves. If you give one organisation too much power, you give them the ability to influence the entire sport. What do you think the FIA would do if they had both the power to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix and organise the entire calendar? The teams would say that having Bahrain in October is logistically impossible, but then the FIA would be able to change the back half of the entire calendar to create something that was possible and force the teams to go.

      • LAK said on 9th June 2011, 18:59

        Do you think there’s a chance the FIA keep Bahrain and Bernie places it on Dec.4rth as he once suggested?

        I just think it’s very important for Bahrain to have a GP this year. After what we went through we deserve to have it, we need it to unite and help give our businesses and economy a boost and help the people reconcile.. If we don’t we’d lose more than what we already have and we’d be taking many steps backwards than if we did have the race. Thank you protesters you have succeeded in making our economy lose once again! Well done, this really shows how much you love your country -.- Watch them all ask for more incomes, housing, jobs.. who’s going to pay for all that? Our ailing economy!

        • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 9th June 2011, 19:59

          You make it sound as if F1 is the glue that binds your country together?

          F1 isnt here to fix your countrys problems, thats Bahrain, its government and it peoples responsibility. F1 isnt interested in that, but like all businesses is here to look after itself and makes as much $$ as possible, whether thats from Britain, Australia or from somewhere in the UAE.

          And whilst its easy to point the finger of blame at protesting citizens, dont forget why they felt the need to begin protesting to begin with.

        • Russell said on 9th June 2011, 21:47

          Sorry, I’ve never been one to subscribe to the “I/we deserve something” school of thought. Individuals, companies and countries earn respect IMHO, not command it.

          So, after what’s happened in your country (and is still happening, BTW) and in the light of the determination of the government to paper over the cracks, I hardly think Bahrain is in the position to “deserve” a F1GP this year. You had your chance in March and blew it.

          And anyway, you’re already down for a race in March 2012. So I suggest in the meantime you focus on making some progress with reforms, learn how to handle dissent, get the different factions to show some respect for each other and disassociate the F1GP from the success or failure of an entire country. At the end of the day, F1 is a just a sport, not a philosophy, a culture or a way of life.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th June 2011, 16:32

    My initial reaction is that Todt can’t have it both ways on this one.

    Just a couple of days ago he was saying the 21-race calendar for 2012, which was proposed by Ecclestone, won’t happen.

    Now he’s basically saying they took Ecclestone’s revised 2011 calendar at face value and it’s his fault for misleading them.

    Seems he only listens to or ignores Ecclestone when it suits him.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th June 2011, 16:39

      Seems he only listens to or ignores Ecclestone when it suits him.

      Would you prefer a Jean Todt who conspires with Ecclestone behind the teams’ backs at every opportunity and holds the entire championship hostage like, say, Max Mosley did?

      • Andrew said on 9th June 2011, 17:02

        FIA should at least ensure that all the stakeholders agree to their decision before making it final. If FIA push this through FOTA should simply boycott the race, if they act as a collective FIA would have to be particularly food hardy to act against them.

      • hohum said on 9th June 2011, 18:02

        I think that is the JT we have, they thought they could just push it through, and only the teams would grumble a bit but fall in line because of all the Emirate money in F1. When the press and the fans let their thoughts be known Bernie got in first but Jean threw it back at him.

    • Dev said on 9th June 2011, 17:13

      don’t agree with this, i feel Todt did what was expected when Bernie asked fitting in Bahrain on 30 Oct; but now Bernie is having second thoughts on this, FIA is only making clear what it’s role is in fixing a calendar.

      Him saying that there will 20 races next year would mean that Bernie has okay-ed it too. Anyhow they have one race with an *

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th June 2011, 19:39

        But both Todt, and Bernie knew full well, that the FOTA teams had told them during the Monaco weekend, that they would not agree on any racing in December and were very unhappy with going to Bahrain this year.

        The rest is just pretending to be friends with someone, holding up apperances and now the blame game.

        • Patrickl said on 10th June 2011, 11:51

          They said they were unhappy. “Unhappy” is a negotiating term that translates to ‘we want more money’ or something like that.

    • LosD (@losd) said on 9th June 2011, 20:20

      Well, if the Concorde agreement states that the CRH decides the calendar, but that it can’t be more than 20 races, then he’s right on both accounts.

    • Patrickl said on 10th June 2011, 11:50

      My initial reaction is that Todt can’t have it both ways on this one.

      Yes he can. The WMSC ultimately approves the calendar. So they can reject it.

      On the other hand if they get a proposal from Ecclestone they much be allowed to expect that Ecclestone did his due dilligence.

  8. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 9th June 2011, 17:04

    Seriously, what is going on? Does anyone know, how decisions are made in F1? Everyone seems to come up with a “final” decisions, then they reverse it the next day, come up with something completely different, someone else makes another decision, everyone moans about it and finally nothing happens, because the rules weren’t followed properly.

    This is the worst mess I’ve probably ever witnessed in F1. Quickly becoming worse and even more confusing than the Lotus v Lotus debacle…

    • hohum said on 9th June 2011, 18:08

      This is what happens when people like Bernie and Jean and Max get into positions of great power and forget that its not all about them.

  9. HounslowBusGarage said on 9th June 2011, 17:31

    This morning it was
    “let’s say that for the moment, it’s official”

    This evening it’s
    “it’s not official any more”

    Tomorrow it’ll be
    “Let’s see if we can bog this up even more!”

  10. LAK said on 9th June 2011, 17:33

    I’ve been beyond gutted to comment on anything, why oh why did the FIA announce the race as if it was back on as a final decision, they should have made it clear that they were still awaiting the decision of the teams.. We feel robbed.. Very cruel of them to make a whole country celebrate and look forward to it, people are desperate here and needed anything to look forward too.. Everyone was happy that the race is back, and ppl who never attended a race before or were never interested in F1 all want to come.. It was going to be a blast.. If Bahrain was really unsafe then the decision would be justified.

    Check out this article that shows the feelings of Bahrainis http://bit.ly/kYQnON

    • BBT said on 9th June 2011, 18:06

      Very cruel of them to make a whole country celebrate

      Blindingly incorrect statement. Shame on you.

    • hohum said on 9th June 2011, 18:15

      LAK, this is the problem, you consider that you and your class talk for everybody and know what is best, clearly there are people in Bahrain who would like their contrary opinions to at least be considered. I hope your country heals its wounds and F1 can return welcomed by the vast majority of Bahrainis,soon but not this year.

      • LAK said on 9th June 2011, 19:10

        Sorry.. You guys have a point.. Don’t mean to dismiss their opinion, got carried away because I know they don’t mean well.. And it’s safe to say the majority want it back.. Not all Shias are against the Govt. The opposition support it as well!

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th June 2011, 19:44

          For us its hard to tell, who wants the GP and who does not. But you are perfectly right in saying this behaviour is cruel and inconsiderate for all involved.

          Mostly for the people in Bahrain, and in a lesser extent for all fans of F1 who now are still unsure what happens with Bahrain and with India.

          I think it will be better to accept, that the GP just will not happen this year. For now the focus in Bahrain should be in getting people out of jails, look at who really committed intolerable things and punish them.
          At the same time get going with demorcatic reforms and convince the PM to call it a day after 40 years of work for the country.

          And then stage a race next year to be proud of. It seems a tight time scale to me, but I would hope it is managable.

    • Russell said on 9th June 2011, 21:56

      people are desperate here and needed anything to look forward too.

      Yes, you’re absolutely right. Things such as freedom of the press, access to lawyers when banged up in jail on trumped up charges, the ability to protest peacefully for reforms, equal access to jobs without discrimination, not having their mosques bulldozed, etc, etc,etc.

      I think you’ve got a very long list of things you can campaign on LAK that’ll help your fellow desperate countrymen.

  11. DaveW said on 9th June 2011, 18:32

    Whitmarsh’s letter is a diplomatic masterpiece. I can see the beads of sweat swelling on his forehead as he worked out how to can the Bahrain race without getting a nasty call from his team’s backers. He managed to find the words, viz, “linked to logistics,” that would provide his fig leaf. However, his formally neutral though deeply ominous reference to “security conditions” tells everyone in certain terms that this is a political choice in favor of the teams’ justifiable moral scruples. After all, Bahrain does not appear to agree that there is any problem with the “security conditions” at all. In the end, it allows people to continue to assert that the decision was “logistics” based while spelling out to everyone, inclduing Bahrain, that the teams are not going to serve as another thing the goverment can buy to use and abuse.

    • John H said on 9th June 2011, 18:49

      Whilst you’re absolutely right about Whitmarsh’s conflict of interest (and subsequent sweaty forehead), the insurance part of the piece seems to suggest that the ‘security conditions’ part might be, at the very least, a tiny bit genuine.

      • Patrickl said on 10th June 2011, 11:56

        Why would it be though? The track is miles away from the city and these protesters are supposed to be peaceful anyway.

        The track fired all the shia employees (I’m assuming among others to prevent an inside job).

        It wouldn’t be any more dangerous than in 2004 when there was a terror threat or every race in Brazil (where many teams employees and fans get robbed/mugged every year)

    • LAK said on 9th June 2011, 19:14

      Very true.. This is making the blow for us Bahrainis a wee bit better.. But the insurance thing is a nice indirect way of putting and he’s also deflecting the blame on the insurance companies

      • Snow Donkey said on 10th June 2011, 0:32

        No offence but the way insurance companies function, you don’t randomly become uninsurable. Usually though, should you fall into such a category, you have bigger fish to fry then throwing a 3 day party on wheels. IMHO.

  12. John H said on 9th June 2011, 18:54

    The BBC some it up quite nicely here.

    “In reality, though, because the FIA did not follow its own rules, the teams can simply ignore it.”

    • Mike said on 9th June 2011, 22:58

      Brilliant! In the true spirit of the FIA.

      Now… I know Todt can’t be Mosley in disguise… He is too short.

  13. sednihp (@sednihp) said on 9th June 2011, 19:40

    What a farce. Throughout the whole shambles, Todt is showing his FIA has the arrogance of a man who gave us such delights as Austria 2002.

    The FIA report was a disgrace, for Gracia to be that blinkered actually blows my mind. It’s the kind of thing that a 12 year old would think, not a (supposedly) well qualified FIA delegate.

    Now Ecclestone is suddenly standing up and saying we can’t go to Bahrain when it’s his bloody fault the race wasn’t cancelled back in March and after he voted for the race to be in October. We all know he isn’t getting on with Todt and he’s using this chance to get one over on him, when we all know he’d race tomorrow if the teams had no objections.

    Finally FOTA. I understand the logistical argument, I do, but it’s not exactly the important point here, is it? Not getting your 25 days holiday doesn’t quite compare to being banged up in jail, being tortured and having your freedom taken away from you, does it?

    Why can’t someone (who isn’t Mark Webber) stand up and be counted? The whole lot of them just look weak when it’s actually very easy to come out say the right thing.

  14. Hairpin (@hairpin) said on 10th June 2011, 0:16

    Reading the article,seems to me the teams didn’t know what they signed when they signed the concorde agreement, by complaining about the changes to the calendar when they had no right to do so.
    They have access to the agreement and lawyers paid very well for there services, what’s going on?
    I wish I had a copy of the concorde agreement then we could make an informed conclusion to this debacle.

  15. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 10th June 2011, 13:05

    Most importantly, the addition of the Indian race to the calendar for 2011 was a fantastic development for the sport and it is critical that we do not undermine its success by these changes. With regard to holding a race in Bahrain this year, we also have been warned that insurance coverage could not be necessarily granted and this is an additional cause of concern for us.

    Well said. As accomodating as the Indians may be (whether or not it’s their choice) it’s not fair to disrupt them, especially in their inaugural year. Be interesting to see if they’re on time with it though!

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