Unrest forced Bahrain to cancel F1 GP

Manbama, Feb 22 (PTI) The political turmoil in thecountry has forced the cancellation of the Formula One''sseason-opening Bahrain Grand Prix here.

The organisers have announced that they have decided towithdraw the race scheduled next month as the opening event ofthe 2011 Formula 1 season, after days of uncertainty followingthe unrest in the country.

The decision was finally confirmed by the trackorganisers on yesterday afternoon. Bahrain''s Crown PrinceSalman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa informed F1 chief BernieEcclestone of the decision by telephone.

"We felt it was important for the country to focus onimmediate issues of national interest," he said.

"Bahrain''s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healingdivisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this countrytogether to remind the world of the very best that Bahrain iscapable of as a nation once again united," he added.

Ecclestone expressed regret at the cancellation and hopedthe race would soon be back on the circuit.

"It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from therace. We wish the whole nation well as they begin to healtheir country. The hospitality and warmth of the people ofBahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who hasbeen at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify. We look forward tobeing back in Bahrain soon," he said.

It is unclear if the Bahrain race will be postponed to alater date or not either three weeks after the India GP, priorto Abu Dhabi on November 6 or the week prior to Singapore GPon September 18.

The 2011 season will now have the Australian Grand Prixon March 27 as the opening race.

Bahrain GP debuted in 2004 when German legend MiuchaelSchumacher won it for the first time.

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