Reports say Bahrain GP axe imminent

GMM news feed

Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix are continuing to prepare for next month's 2011 season opener.

"We do not have the impression that the situation here is out of control," Laurent Madore, commercial director of the Sakhir circuit, is quoted by La Presse.

"We have been instructed to continue preparing for the Grand Prix as scheduled.

"Only in downtown Manama have there been problems," he continued. "I live just outside in an area where there are many expatriates, and we feel quite safe.

"It's the same thing at work, at the circuit," added Madore.

However, there are strong signals that the March 13 event and a pre-season test will definitely be called off.

"With the way the situation is currently, we cannot go to Bahrain," Bild newspaper quotes Timo Glock as saying emphatically.

Red Bull's Christian Horner agrees: "It is likely that the race will be cancelled."

And his driver Mark Webber said: "It's probably not the best time to go there for a sporting event. They have bigger things, bigger priorities."

Foreign departments all over the Western world are advising citizens against travelling to the island Kingdom, and Gulf News reports that a postponement of the event until later this season is a certainty.

"We have been told to step down our operations," the newspaper quoted 'an official with a German race team' as saying.

Mercedes did not comment, but multiple media sources suggest that an official announcement is now just hours away.

It is rumoured that the calendar might now extend until December.

"There is the possibility of the (Bahrain) race going to the end of the calendar," Bernie Ecclestone told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

The Telegraph and the Times said the final decision about Bahrain is due by midday on Monday.

A report by the Associated Press made a clear link between the anti-government protests and F1, championed in Bahrain by the Crown Prince.

"His precious Formula One is more important than the blood of his people which he spilled," one protester is quoted as saying.

Within F1, the strong feelings of prominent members of the paddock will also be weighed.

BBC anchor Jake Humphrey hinted on Twitter on Sunday that even if the race goes ahead, he will make his own decision about travelling to Bahrain.

"We (the BBC) will make a call, and I know what mine will be," he said.

A 'member of an important team' is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo: "After the latest events, we think it makes no sense to go to Bahrain."

When asked if he is now afraid to travel to Bahrain, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi answered: "Who isn't?"

It is believed that McLaren's drivers, due to the team being partly owned by the Bahrain government, have been banned from talking to the media about the issue.

Auto Motor und Sport told Williams' Sam Michael that the situation in Bahrain seems to have now improved somewhat.

"But it could flare up again at any time," insisted the Australian.

Alex Wurz told laola1.at that, "emotionally", it is obvious that the race should not take place.

"But you have to recognise that this is not just a sport but also a large industry and it's not so simple to just cancel."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Alexander Wurz , Timo Glock , Kamui Kobayashi , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams
Tags bahrain, grand prix, march, season opener