UAE motor sport chief Mohammed ben Sulayem says that Abu Dhabi would have no problem being back-to-back with a rescheduled Bahrain GP, even if it potentially meant that some spectators might choose to attend Sakhir rather than Yas Island.
Former rally champion ben Sulayem, who is from Dubai, is also Vice-President for Sport of the FIA.
There is a gap either side of Abu Dhabi at the moment, but for the teams it would be virtually impossible to create a ‘triple header’ featuring India/Bahrain/Abu Dhabi, or Abu Dhabi/Bahrain/Brazil.
Precedent suggests that the first one is definitely out because FOM never schedules new races back-to-back, because of lack of knowledge over how long it takes to get freight in and out of customs.
Logically the only way to have the race after Abu Dhabi would be to move Brazil to December 4, which as previously reported here, is also the final Sunday of the football league season – and thus a big day in the local sporting calendar.
“We are organisers of the Abu Dhabi race and we respect the [FIA’s] judgement,” ben Sulayem told The National newspaper. “Finding time in the calendar is feasible. Originally, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain agreed to have a big separation on the calendar to make the most of the exposure that a Grand Prix brings. However, this is an emergency and in an emergency we need to work together.
“I spoke with Bernie and he was very straight. It wasn’t for us to decide. It was up to the Crown Prince of Bahrain because there are more important things going on there than motorsports.
“What is crucial is Bahrain get their priorities right and I believe they have done so. Stability is the most important factor at this stage, but once it returns then we will push to bring the race back, because we know they would do the same for us.”
Ben Sulayem added that it’s up to Bahrain to request a new place on the calendar, hopefully in time for the upcoming World Council meeting: “If a request comes from Bahrain, the FOM has to find a place on the calendar and Bahrain have to agree to it. Then the World Council will need to approve it.”