F1 teams up in arms as Bahrain GP gets reinstated
By Simon Cass
Formula One teams are angered and dismayed by yesterday’s decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix to the 2011 calendar, although early indications suggest boycotting the race is not on the agenda.
The 26-man World Motor Sport Council, whose members include the FIA president Jean Todt and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, voted unanimously to reschedule the Bahrain race for October 30, pushing the inaugural Indian Grand Prix back to an unspecified date in December at the end of the season.
Worries over safety remain — a state of emergency in Bahrain was lifted only on Wednesday and renewed protests were met with tear gas and rubber bullets from government troops yesterday — as do questions over insurance given that the Foreign Office continue to advise against all but non-essential travel to the Gulf state.
The Formula One Teams Association acknowledged the decision in a statement rather than accepted it.
There is an assumption among teams that, despite declarations from the FIA about a spirit of reconciliation in Bahrain, the situation on the ground will demonstrate that it is not safe to return.
Added to the wide-ranging concerns on the part of teams is how the sport’s all-important sponsors — the likes of Vodafone, Santander and Red Bull — will view a return to a country with such a questionable human rights record.
- Hamilton set for Bahrain Grand Prix after race is given the green light
- Bahrain chief insists troubled country is ready to host F1 race again