Ecclestone says Bahrain race won’t happen in 2011

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Bahrain International Circuit, 2004

Bernie Ecclestone has told the BBC the Bahrain Grand Prix will not happen this year.

Ecclestone said: “Of course it’s not on”.

He added: “The schedule cannot be rescheduled without the agreement of the participants – they’re the facts”.

Yesterday Max Mosley warned the FIA’s plan to hold the race in October, announced on Friday, would have to be given unanimous approval by the teams.

Following that the teams told the FIA, FOM and Bahrain International Circuit they did not think it was feasible to hold the race this year.

Ecclestone added he hoped the race might be held in the future.

2011 Bahrain Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    86 comments on “Ecclestone says Bahrain race won’t happen in 2011”

    1. The important thing is that the race will be abandoned because of logistical issues rather than someone trying to make a political statement. Formula 1’s integrity is intact.

      1. Be wary of assuming the teams, or at least some people within them, would not disguise their true motives and concerns.

        Explaining it away on the grounds of logistics alone may help give them legal cover.

        1. But even if they’re simply inventing excuses, it doesn’t have the same effect as if they were making an actual political statement. And any attempt to change their tune at a later date will only blunt the effect that an open political statement would have.

          Even then, logistics makes sense. The final away leg takes in six races. With the time taken to turn around the teams after India being a total unknown, the teams would likely have all their equipment shipped from India to England and have a second shipment waiting for them in Abu Dhabi. But by having Bahrain on October 30, teams would have to change that entirely – because Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are close together geographically, the teams would likely send their equipment from Korea to England and have the second set waiting for them in Bahrain. They’d then have to do four races with that load, starting in Bahrain and ending in India. The point is that rearranging shipments to be the most efficent and efective system would be a complex and difficult task.

          1. PM you really need o get down off your high horse. They want to keep F1 from being a political tool. So they dont go. If they make an open announcement, with political content, they ruin that. simple.

            1. So they make a political statement by not making a political statement?

              Maybe it’s just me tending to take what people say at face value, but that’s the most ridiculous argument I’ve heard from anti-Bahrain lobby, and you guys have pumped out some pretty poor ones in the past. Like, for example, Formula 1 being able to say “We’re not going to race in Bahrain because of their human rights violations, but we are going to race in China in spite of their human rights violations”.

            2. @PM
              Considering whats been said previously thats a pair of intensly irritaiting posts. Just because it’s a new thread doesn’t mean all previous arguments have disapeared

              Apart from anything else, F1 has integrity? We race in China, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain for money and money alone, we all know the sport has no moral conscience but a lot of the people on this forum feel that saying F1 shouldn’t be political is a noble sentiment but impossible considering the global standing of the sport.

              If F1 wasn’t political we’d race on private tracks only, there would not be an astronomical fee to secure the circus, we’d be racing in Argentina and the USA as motorsport heartlands, there would be no threat to Australia or Turkey as well loved tracks. Silverstone, whatever the BRDC’s flaws, along with Monza and Intergalos would have been assisted in upgrading their facilities, improving the astheics of tracks the F1 fraternity just doesn’t want to loose.

              The fact is the way races are procured, and the elevator on the price of retaining them makes having an F1 race, outside of Europe an the US as politically important to a nationion in a way comparable to the Olympics or the World Cup. I’m sorry but it’s time this ridiculous pretense that Bahrains race, whatever their domestic situation, isn’t political is dropped.

              Saying we must go to Bahrain next year as that’s keeping politics out of F1 is putting your head in the sand. As is racing in China and Abu Dhabi, that is the way F1, or rather FOM, chooses to be unfortunatley, but let no one say that those nations don’t veiw F1 as an entirly political investment.

            3. “So they make a political statement by not making a political statement?”.

              Simply? No.

              By not making a political statement, they are giving other people (read: the media) the opportunity to decide what the statement is. The blank cheque.

              The key though, is that F1 itself did not make a statement, the media did. So if anyone ever says to them “you agree that the terrorists must remove the government”, FIA/FOM simply say “no – we are not a political tool – we have no view or opinion”.

          2. It doesn’t have the same effects certainly. If the teams would reply mainly because of the political situation, the FIA and Bernie would have to argue with them for the sake of definding their “no politics” ideals.

            Making it less usefull to reach the target the teams wanted to acheive.

            1. ‘Kettles and Fishes’

              ‘Biting the hand that feeds’

              ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune’

              ‘Don’t listen to what people say…watch what they do !’

              Politics…Schmolitics !

        2. Yep F1’s integrity in doing anything to still make money despite what it looks like to the rest of the world.

          Lets be frank here the only reason the GP got the go ahead was so they wouldn’t have to pay penalty fees to Bahrain and/or upset a family with a ton of money tied up in the sport.

          If this level of unrest happened in Turkey or Hungary the GP would have been cancelled NEVER to see the light of day again.

      2. That’s a pretty contorted view of integrity.

        From Oxford dictionaries:

        1 the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.

        That’s more like I usually think of it.

        1. THANK YOU!

      3. I’m thrilled! This means I don’t have to boycott the rest of the season.

        It was to be a personal statement.

    2. wait.. bernie’s actually interested if the teams turn up? pigs do fly..

      1. Bernies been jumping ships a lot this past fortnight, saying Bahrain will happen (implying he wants it) and now changing his mind. He might end up with his feet wet if he keeps trying this.

        1. I’m sure he does want the GP but it sounds to me like he’s just accepting fate.

        2. Even if he changed his mind, I approve his current decision that looks a lot wiser than many of his ideas.

    3. So is this an official “no race in Bahrain in 2011” or something more like “yeah, it’s 99% not gonna happen but we need to get it in writing” sort of thing?

      1. It’s not “official” until the FIA says so. But the current situation looks untenable.

        1. Yep. There will be no Bahrain grand prix in 2011 – you heard it here first.

        2. Thanks Keith.

          For those interested in the posters (which is why I’m looking for signs of Bahrain confirmation in the first place) I’ve already covered both bases, should Bahrain go ahead and India be race 20, or should it not and India be #17.

          You can take a look at the Bahrain poster here, though I’ll probably not sell it regardless (did it more to keep my design set up to date):

          1. Bound to become a highly valued collectors item now PJ!

            1. Haha, Limited Edition prints maybe. I’m just gonna wait until this whole mess is sorted out before deciding on anything, I’ve already stopped taking orders for the time being.

          2. Is it meant to be symbolic, with the car going down in front of the flag?

            I do like your designs!

            1. In hindsight I guess you could say that, but to be honest it was a re-imagining of my original concept (back when the March date was “still on”) which has been improved from the things I learned making the other 19. I did want to keep the car black though for this remake, as that colour does give off the impression that this was a “black mark” for F1.

            2. According to the BBC, the Bahrain Grand Prix is DEFINITELY OFF

    4. Ecclestone says Bahrain race won’t happen in 2011


      1. Good.

        No, it’s not. Not the way you want it to be. If the race is cancelled for logistical reasons, or because the teams do not want the championship to run into December, then it is not the humanitarian victory that people are demanding – and you can’t claim it as such.

        1. We don’t need to claim it as such. F1 doesn’t have to get involved in this, and it really shouldn’t.

        2. I don’t care why it’s cancelled (if it finally has been). In my view it needed to be cancelled because of far more important reasons than logistics and ability to comply. I don’t care about some petty personal victory like you seem to. I care about what I think is the correct decision being made and it finally seems like it might be. That’s victory enough for me.

          1. And that concludes part 14, Icthyes. ;)

          2. Exactly.
            The reason officially given for not reinstating this race, does not matter a lot to me.
            We can all interpret the reasons as we like. Fact is, this race is off at least for this season (or at least this seems to be at time of writing).

          3. I care about what I think is the correct decision being made and it finally seems like it might be.

            Decisions are made for reasons. You cannot claim that Formula 1 is not going to Bahrain for one reason when another is clearly being given. The decision not to go is obviously being made for one set of reasons that do not translate into the decision you think ought to be made.

            1. Well, sure, decisions are made for reasons.

              Often in the real world, we don’t hear (all) the real reasons for a decision from a press announcement. Partly because the reasons are hard to defend, difficult to explain in soundbites, or a whole host of other reasons, including wanting to help a friend (or benefactor) who you don’t want to involve.

              Wikileaks showed, for example, some embarrassing and hypocritical reasoning. I really doubt anyone was really surprised at them, the embarrassing thing was mostly that everyone already suspected and said those were the real reasons, but they weren’t the acknowledged reasons.

            2. @PM

              Formula one is not going there. That’s what matters. It won’t be used as a political tool for the Bahrain government.

              Saying it’s for logistical reasons is a diplomatic way to deal with the situation. We get it. But please, don’t say that the pressure of F1 fans had nothing to do with it.

              Lack of support for a regime is what we wanted and that is exactly what we get. That’s what matters. Mission accomplished.

        3. No, it’s not.

          Errr. Yes it is. The race shouldn’t be on for an absolute plethora of different reasons, the race not being on is basic common sense, an when F1 exhibits common sense it can only be a good thing. Claiming this isn’t a good thing is borderline trolling. Feeding this because I’m bored before work.

          then it is not the humanitarian victory that people are demanding – and you can’t claim it as such.

          Again, just what is your problem? Apart from anything else no one’s really claimed this as a humanitarian victory as we’re going back next year. If your arguments the political integrity of F1 I’ll point you to my above post. The only integrity F1 has is financial integrity.

          1. Bigbaddeboom
            8th June 2011, 15:49

            Agrred Scribe, many reasons to cancel, a few poorly disguised, mostly financial ones to go ahead with it.
            The fact remains that for all the reasoning and all the various motivs and commercial driving factors, it’s simple easier not to push on with it. Personally I feel it’s a good thing, but not as a political or humanitarian stance (as Scribes states, there will be a race there within 7-8 months of the proposed new date) I sit much better with cancelling it simply because it would make life too difficult for the teams. I wouldn’t want this decision to be promoted as a humantarian victory anymore than if it was held would I want F1 used as a promotional tool of peace in Bahrain. The right thing is not to go, the reason given must not be politically motivated.

        4. Hewis Lamilton
          8th June 2011, 21:23

          Let me ask, why did the race in Bahrain not take place on the original scheduled date for 2011?

          Was it because of logistics? F1 would never allow politics to enter into the decision making process so anything political wouldn’t have a bearing on the decision making for Bahrain.

          I think politics definately played a part in the Bahrain decisions. (plural)

    5. One word for all this.


    6. *Groan* Such a mess

    7. graham228221
      8th June 2011, 11:37

      How can the FIA continually forget the regulations around consulting teams on changes to the championship? The exact same thing happened with Bernie’s medals fiasco.

      1. How can the FIA continually forget the regulations around consulting teams on changes to the championship?
        Who said they forgot? If a race is to be reinstated to the calendar, the teams do need to be consulted about it – but before that can happen, the FIA needs to vote to reinstate it. It’s the way the whole thing works: the FIA need to decide on their position before approaching the teams. Their position is that the race should go ahead on October 30, with India moved back to December. How can the teams vote for or against such a proposal if the FIA do not decide among themselves what their position should be first?

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          8th June 2011, 11:48

          So just to clarify; to decide on an issue, first the FIA must vote it through then it must be voted through by the teams?

          1. graham228221
            8th June 2011, 11:52

            only if the change affects the current season. before making a change like this the FIA have to give the teams a certain amount of notice (something like 12 weeks before the beginning of the championship). So on this issue, I think the teams would have the right to veto a change.

          2. So just to clarify; to decide on an issue, first the FIA must vote it through then it must be voted through by the teams?

            Pretty much. In order for the teams to agree to a proposal, the proposal has to be put forward first which is why the FIA decide first. It is, after all, the FIA who run the sport – not the teams.

        2. graham228221
          8th June 2011, 11:49

          From the official FIA press release:

          The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on 30 October, replacing the Indian Grand Prix, which will now become the final round of the 2011 Championship, combined with the FIA Annual General Assembly and Prize-Giving Gala.

          Sounds pretty final to me. No mention of any need to consult with anyone, the race will take place – end of.

          1. They forget to ask the teams if it was OK to change the race calendar. Mr Mosley pointed this out too, just the other day. Bernie also makes reference to it in his latest statement.

            1. They forget to ask the teams if it was OK to change the race calendar.

              No they didn’t. The teams cannot vote on an issue if there is no proposal before them. That’s what the FIA created when they voted to go back to Bahrain: a proposal. They didn’t “forget” to ask the teams; they simply didn’t mention the need for the teams to vote when they announced their decision.

            2. graham228221
              8th June 2011, 13:05

              They didn’t “forget” to ask the teams; they simply didn’t mention the need for the teams to vote when they announced their decision.

              Well that’s a pretty dumb way to make an official statement. If they didn’t forget that other stakeholders need to be consulted, then basically saying “IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, WE HAVE UNAMINOUSLY DECIDED THAT THIS WILL HAPPEN” is a pretty surefire way to make themselves look like total novices. No doubt people, local authorities and sponsors had already started spending lots of money based on the fact that the Indian GP was announced as moving and, perhaps to a lesser extent, the Bahrain GP is confirmed – the language used IN THIS OFFICIAL STATEMENT is absolutely clear that there is no further consultation needed. Note that this is in contrast to the announcements further down the page on the 2012 calendar and the 2013 regulations, both which are subject to confirmation/further consultation.

              And, PM, please don’t give me your usual “well, actually i’m right and you’re wrong” brushoff because it’s pretty obvious that they were, in fact, not aware that this would be subject to consultation with anyone.

            3. As mentioned yesterday, I think this was all cooked up on beforehand.

              The FIA please their strong backer as the “fact finding” shows it all fine to go. No one objects directly. They move India into December to have Bahrain in October, full well knowing that the teams will not have that.
              Bernie changes mind over the weekend, Max poinst out Jean did not ask the teams and the teams do their job of confirming they just will not go for a December race and want India back where it was on the confirmed calendar.

    8. You’ve got to love Bernie, one waggle of his chin and its all off. This is just going to be a big political arm wrestle (read measuring contest) between Bernie and the FIA and, as always, the sport is the loser.

    9. All in all, of it is not politically feasable to have the race, then the race should not happen. But it’s not about taking a stand or anything, it’s more about getting out of the way. And that’s a good decision, it doesn’t have to be a humanitarian mark.

    10. Ecclestone is playing on both sides – in the end he can loose both.

      Though i agree that India GP shouldn’t be move as India definitely spent resources to prepare events for inaugural GP.

      So Bahrain could be moved to December.

    11. Logistics, political tool – who cares. We’ve gone from Bahrain being the only possible loser a week ago to the image of the sport yet again being damaged.

    12. First Lotus Vs. Lotus, now this.

      Anyone a bit bored? When does that racing thing happen?

    13. Thank you.

    14. How long until the next Jean Todt Approval Poll.
      I’m guessing it will be brutal.

    15. Ecclestone: “Everything is fine in Bahrain”
      Everybody: “But is it really, Bernie?”
      Ecclestone: “Of course it’s not! who told you that?”

      1. Ecclestone: “Everything is fine in Bahrain”
        Everybody: “But is it really, Bernie?”
        Ecclestone: “Of course it’s not! who told you that?”

        Well, I think Bernie now completely reminds me of a certain Professor from an American animated Science Fiction series..

      2. It doesn’t sound to me like Bernie is changing his opinion on what is going on in Bahrain. His argument is that it can’t happen if the teams don’t agree to it; he doesn’t mention anything else.

    16. Didn’t the FIA talk to the teams at all before announcing the December date?

      What a ridiculous series of events managed by Todt in the most embarrassing way for F1. Awful.

      1. Well, I thought that meeting in Monaco where reportedly the teams told the FIA they didn’t like it was exactly that.

        Only to be ignored. And now it’s again completely different, and Bernie seems to have forgotten why he voted for it with the rest.

        I am waiting for a horse whisperer column about it blaming the FIA for making this mess without saying what Ferrari’s team manager voted. It will be fun, in an embarrassing and cringe-worthy way, sort of like this whole thing.

    17. I’ve been invited on BBC Radio 5 to discuss Bahrain this afternoon at 4:30pm (UK time). You can listen here:

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        8th June 2011, 15:10

        Good for you, keith!
        I’ll tune in.

      2. Nice one!

      3. Good interview Keith, just a shame it couldn’t have been a bit longer !

      4. Was there to listen, well said.

    18. That’s a big booking, Keith!

      Congrats ;)

      1. Thanks! Also going to be on BBC Radio Wales at 8:20am tomorrow morning.

    19. ‘Political Tool’ seems like a pretty good description of Mr. Ecclestone himself.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        8th June 2011, 15:11


    20. Good luck! I’ll try and catch the show this afternoon.

      Also Keith when you get a moment (ha!) check out your emails :)



    21. Considering the backlash reinstating the grands prix caused and the fact that FOTA don’t want to do it, then its the right decision to abandon the 2011 Bahrain race. At the end of the day, its just a race and why put lives in jeapordy just for two hours entertainment?
      The real tragedy ofcourse is that the people of Bahrain have had to endure this terrible period inwhich people have been killed, and the last thing they are thinking of is the F1 World Championship. As I said back in March, I am sad that the race is cancelled, but there was no real alternative.
      Second, can somebody tell Max Mosley to keep his nose out!

      1. To be fair Max’s interview on the BBC the other day was very good and he made some good points that others within the sport appear to have forgotten about or ignored.

        I’m not a big Max Mosley fan but I was shocked to find myself agreeing with almost everything he had to say about this issue and as the former FIA President he does bring a certain level of authority when he makes comments to the general public (even if F1Fanatics don’t particularly like or respect him).

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          8th June 2011, 21:25

          Max is very persuasive – he practiced as a lawyer after all. But yes, I think you’re right, he seemed to make a lot of sense in that intewrview. He definitely has the kind of mind for detail and procedure. It must have made him very pleased to show tha his successors hadn’t even followed their own rules.
          That doesn’t mean he always make sense, I thought his recent argument for a privacy law that would have meant newspapers having to tell individuals before publishing articles about their private lives was ludicrous. He based is entire argument on the needs and requiremnents of celebrities and public figure without attempting to draw any defining line between celebrities and ‘ordinaries’.
          Had he succeeded, no newspaper would have been safe to publish any unannounced story about anyone lest they claim ‘celebrity status’ under Max’s rules and sue the paper.
          Also it would have allowed the super-rich (read Premier Footballers) to hurl bullet proof super-injunctions about with gay (or heterosexual) abandon.
          *Get’s down off hobby horse. Rant over.*

    22. Massive respect to Webber for having not being silent (and thus complicit)…

      1. I completetly agree.

        Let’s hope Mark speaks up on next years 8.April also.

        Just to be consistent and show he isn’t a selective hypocrite…

    23. Only a week ago Bernie said it was on. Only a year ago he was poncing up the pit lane with the ruling family groveling to them.

      Now read this.

    24. Some sense from Bernie, it’s better to work with Bahrain about 2012.

      1. Tell me what will change in F1 fanatic fans minds from 30. October till 2011.03.11?

    25. health drink
      9th June 2011, 7:41

      why is this?

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