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Bahrain accepts cancellation of Grand Prix

June 10, 2011 09:54 IST

Bahrain Grand Prix organisers accepted the cancellation of their postponed Formula One race on Thursday after teams objected to it being rescheduled in October.

"Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the Grand Prix progress on October 30th ... it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision," circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani said in a statement.

"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," he added.

The race at the Sakhir circuit had originally been scheduled as the March season-opener but was postponed after bloody unrest and a crackdown on anti-government protesters in the Gulf kingdom.

After giving Bahrain months to decide whether they were in a position to hold the race, the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) announced last Friday that it would be rescheduled for Oct. 30.

The inaugural Indian Grand Prix that had been scheduled for that date was moved to December 11, but will now revert to the original slot.

Last week's decision triggered outrage among human rights campaigners, with more than 455,000 people signing an online petition calling on champions Red Bull and others to boycott the Bahrain race.

With any change in the calendar requiring the unanimous written agreement of the teams, who wrote to the FIA and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone to express their opposition, cancellation looked inevitable.

'LOGISTICAL GROUNDS'

The teams had said they were against any rescheduling on logistical grounds, with commitments already made for a race in Delhi on Oct. 30, and did not want to race in December, calling the revised calendar 'unrealistic'.

The FIA blamed Ecclestone for the embarrassing state of confusion and asked him on Thursday to submit a revised calendar.

The acceptance by the Bahrain circuit, the first in the Middle East to host a grand prix, has effectively ended the argument.

"Bahrain has always sought to play a positive role in the continued development of Formula One," Alzayani said.

"We look forward to welcoming teams, their drivers and supporters back to Bahrain next year and 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."

Bahrain has already been scheduled as next year's season-opener on March 11.

The decision meant the season will now have 19 races, rather than a record 20, and will end in Brazil on November 27.

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