The Bahraini government has played its latest card in its attempt to host a GP in 2011 by releasing a statement a day before the May 1 deadline set by the FIA.
Clearly produced with the full support of Bernie Ecclestone, the statement – “regarding the rescheduling of the 2011 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix” – says nothing concrete but clearly suggests that the Bahrainis still have hopes of hosting a race this year, despite a widespread belief in F1 circles that it shouldn’t happen in 2011.
It’s not clear what the FIA’s position is on ignoring the May 1 deadline it set, although Jean Todt is very close to the authorities in the country and is clearly in the loop.
In the statement Bahrain International Circuit Chairman Zayed Rashid Alzayani said: “We gratefully acknowledge the understanding of Formula One Management and the FIA in what have been difficult times. We also thank the continued support of the international motorsport community and Formula one fans around the world.
“Clearly our national priority is to find a resolution to the difficulties that the kingdom of Bahrain has experienced. 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.
“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.”
Meanwhile Ecclestone added: “Bahrain’s commitment to Formula one has been clear from the very outset. 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. In eight years with my relationship with Bahrain I have always been confident that they will produce something special.”