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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Bahrain keeps options open on F1 race rescheduling

Bahrain keeps options open on F1 race rescheduling

April 30, 2011 20:40 IST

Bahrain refused to give up hope of rescheduling its postponed Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday with a statement that kept all options open.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said last month that it had asked Bahrain "to communicate by May 1st at the latest" whether it would be in a position to reschedule.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Thursday however that he was prepared to give the country more time.

Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed Rashid Alzayani said in the statement "regarding the rescheduling" that the situation was improving in a country that remains under martial law after violent anti-government protests killed at least 29 people.

He thanked Formula One management, the governing FIA and motor racing fans for their understanding.

"The national situation has moved on in a positive manner, the situation is evolving all the time; our day-to-day life is gradually improving under the current State of National Safety," he said.

"Bahrain's Grand Prix is a time of celebration and hosting the race is a source of great pride for Bahrain and Bahrainis.

"It is a showcase to the world and we look forward to welcoming the teams and drivers and everyone involved in Formula One back to Bahrain in the very near future."

No dates were mentioned and there was no specific confirmation that the race, originally scheduled as the season-opener on March 13, could be rescheduled.

Four men accused of killing two policemen were sentenced to death this week, a verdict that could intensify sectarian tension in the Sunni Muslim-led state.

An FIA spokesman was unaware of the circuit statement until contacted by Reuters.

A senior member of the Sakhir circuit media team said the statement meant what it said and contained no official commitment.

"We are not saying we are hosting it, we are not saying we are not hosting it. We are not saying it is cancelled," he added.

The statement also quoted Ecclestone as saying the country's commitment was clear.

"While obviously the kingdom has had to put its national affairs first I have never been in any doubts that restoring the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has been of paramount importance," declared the 80-year-old Briton.

"In eight years with my relationship with Bahrain I have always been confident that they will produce something special."

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