Bahrain admits defeat in bid to host Grand Prix this year

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The Independent Online

The Bahrain organisers formally accepted the cancellation of their postponed Grand Prix last night. Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone had already announced the race was now "not on" after a complaint from teams at the rescheduling of the event.

The World Motor Sport Council last Friday confirmed the event would be reinstated on the calendar for 30 October – replacing the Indian Grand Prix scheduled for that date – after it had been postponed in light of political unrest in the country.

The backlash that has followed, though, has been considerable, with the teams in particular voicing their concerns for logistical and insurance reasons.

Zayed R Alzayani, chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, has now conceded defeat on the issue. "Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the Grand Prix progress in October in line with the World Motor Sport Council's decision, it has been made clear this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision," said Alzayani. "Bahrain has always sought to play a positive role in the continued development of Formula One.

"Bahrain has absolutely no desire to see a race which would further extend the calendar and detract from the enjoyment of F1 for drivers, teams or supporters.

"We want our role in Formula One to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been. Therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season."

Bahrain is scheduled to host the season opener for next year, but at this early stage there are no guarantees. However, Alzayani added: "We look forward to welcoming teams, their drivers and supporters back to Bahrain next year. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters, including staff, volunteers, sponsors, private businesses and the general public, for whom I know this year's decision will be a disappointment.

"We would also especially like to thank the FIA, Formula One Management, the Bahrain Motor Federation and the teams for all support and understanding they have extended to us at this time."