Ecclestone concerned about safety of Bahrain Grand Prix
Tuesday 07 June 2011
The reinstated Bahrain Grand Prix could still be cancelled due to unrest in the Gulf kingdom, according to Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Despite ongoing anti-government protesters, the race was restored to the F1 calendar for Oct. 30 after a vote by the World Motor Sport Council last week. It was originally scheduled as the season-opener in March.
"The way things are at the moment, we have no idea what is going to happen," Ecclestone is quoted as saying in Tuesday's editions of The Times of London. "Better that we move Bahrain to the end of the season and, if things are safe and well, then that is fine, we can go. If they are not, then we don't go and there are no problems."
At least 30 people have been killed since February in the unrest.
"We listened to that report from the FIA (governing body) and that was saying there were no problems at all in Bahrain," Ecclestone said. "But that is not what I am hearing and I think we can see that we need to be careful."
Ecclestone said the $40 million fee that F1 collects from Bahrain for having the race "makes no difference" to the decision.
"If there is no race, we will return it, but money is not the issue here," Ecclestone said. "It is whether it is safe and good to have a race, that is the issue. We can change this Oct. 30 date by having a vote by fax if necessary. It can be done, and fast."
Former FIA President Max Mosley fears the rulers of Bahrain would use the grand prix "to try and give the impression that all is well in the country, when it's very far from the truth."
"So it almost becomes an instrument of the regime in oppressing the people who are being badly treated," Mosley said on BBC radio. "That's when I think it goes beyond what you can accept as a sporting body."
But Mosley does not believe there is "the slightest chance" the race will go ahead this year.
The inaugural Indian GP, which was originally scheduled for Oct. 30, is now set to be the final round of the 20-race calendar.
"You cannot change the calendar, in the way it has been proposed, without the unanimous agreement of the teams," Mosley said. "The (World Motor Sport) council organizes the event, but if there is going to be a change, for example moving the Indian event, there has to be unanimous agreement. It's absolutely part of the rules.
"So until written agreement of the teams is forthcoming, you can't actually change the date."
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