4 Jun 2011

Bahrain Grand Prix reinstated despite protests

4:19 pm on 4 June 2011

The Bahrain Grand Prix has been reinstated on the Formula One calendar, a decision that sparked opposition from teams, drivers and promoters.

F1's governing body the FIA unanimously voted to reschedule the race which was cancelled in March due to civil unrest in the Gulf state.

The 2011 Bahrain GP will now be held on October the 30th, the original slot for the inaugural Indian GP which has been shifted to a season-closing date on December the 11th.

Mercedes Grand Prix team chief Ross Brawn said this week that he had told F1 commercial ring-master Bernie Ecclestone that a December the 11th finale was not an option.

India will be the latest final race since 1963 and will confirm the longest season on record - 20 races - a target that Ecclestone has sought for many years.

In a statement, the FIA said that its World Motor Sports Council had "unanimously" agreed to reinstate Bahrain after a fact-finding mission to the kingdom this week.

The decision also flew in the face of opposition from Red Bull's Australian driver Mark Webber, the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club Damon Hill and former FIA president Max Mosley.

All three were quoted protesting at the possibility of a return to Bahrain, Hill pointing out that all the teams and drivers would be abdicating their responsibilities if they agreed to go.

And the FIA's also confirmed that next year's Australian Grand Prix will be staged at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit from March 15th to the 18th.

The Australian event will be the second race on the 2012 Formula One calendar, following Bahrain in its regular slot on March 11th.