The Bahrain GP organisers continue to insist that plans for the race are going ahead and that they are “monitoring the situation” in the country.
Bernie Ecclestone meanwhile has dropped the strongest hint yet that the race is in danger of cancellation, saying that there will have to be a decision by next week – which will be shortly before the teams have to start thinking about shipping their cars to the test on March 3-6.
The bottom line is that delaying what now looks like an inevitable decision will only do harm to the image of F1 around the globe, as once again the sport is seen to believe that it exists in a bubble, free of any interference from the real world.
Many people outside the sport are probably astonished that any attempt is being made to keep the event alive, given the events of the last 24 hours. And many in the sport – those of us still faced with a trip to Bahrain – feel that way too.
The cynical view might be that now it’s a question of who blinks first, the Bahrainis or Bernie, and what commercial impact if any that might have.
Speaking to Reuters tonight, Ecclestone said: “We’ll make a decision by Tuesday or Wednesday. If things stay as they are today, the answer is no. If it’s not quietened down by Wednesday, I think we will have to cancel probably. If you are making travel arrangements, I’d say don’t.”
Meanwhile the Bahrain organisers issued a pointless statement that repeated the sentiments expressed a couple of days ago, and added nothing new.
Bahrain International Circuit CEO, Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa was quoted thus: “The safety of all Bahraini nationals, expats and overseas visitors is a priority at all times in the Kingdom and, at the Bahrain International Circuit, our focus at the present time remains on delivering another successful event in the form of the 2011 Gulf Air Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, we continue to monitor the situation very closely indeed in association with the relevant authorities. Our priority at this time is ensuring the wellbeing of everyone associated with this event, and we will respond appropriately to any further developments.”