Bahrain wants F1 back 'in near future'
|By Matt Beer and Gerhard Kuntschik||Saturday, April 30th 2011, 11:48 GMT|
The Bahrain Grand Prix authorities say they look forward to having Formula 1 back "in the very near future", but stopped short of committing to being able to host the race later in 2011.
The deadline for the Sakhir organisers to inform the FIA of whether it will be possible to reschedule their postponed F1 race this season expires tomorrow, although Bernie Ecclestone hinted earlier this week that he would like to see Bahrain given more time.
The race should have opened the season in mid-March, but was postponed amid the political tensions in the country.
Although that situation is still ongoing, Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed Rashid Alzayani said in a statement today that conditions in Bahrain were improving.
"We gratefully acknowledge the understanding of Formula One Management and the FIA in what have been difficult times," he said. "We also thank the continued support of the international motorsport community and Formula 1 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 1 back to Bahrain in the very near future."
Ecclestone added in the statement that he remained convinced F1 could make a successful return to Bahrain, though he also refrained from saying whether this would be in 2011 or 2012.
"Bahrain's commitment to Formula 1 has been clear from the very outset," said Ecclestone.
"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."