Bahrain F-1 Opener Canceled
HARRISBURG, N.C. — The season-opening Formula One Grand Prix of Bahrain has been canceled because of the violent protests calling for democratic reform, which have erupted in the country in recent weeks.
The Bahrain International Circuit announced Monday that the Kingdom of Bahrain would withdraw from hosting this year’s F-1 Grand Prix race so that the country can focus on its process of national dialogue. The race was scheduled for March 13.
The March 27 Australian Grand Prix now becomes the first Formula One race of the season.
Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, who initiated a new national dialogue involving all sections of Bahraini society in order to resolve the current political situation in the Kingdom on Friday phoned F-1 czar Bernie Ecclestone with the decision on Monday morning.
“Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain’s to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain’s Formula One race to a later date,” the Prince said. “I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Bernie Ecclestone for his support and understanding.”
No decision has been made on a new date for the rescheduling of the race.
“It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country,” said Ecclestone. “The hospitality and warmth of the people of Bahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who has been at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify. We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon.”