While Bahrain Grand Prix organisers continue to say that the opening race of the 2011 season is in no danger of being cancelled, due to the civil unrest in the Gulf state, Bernie Ecclestone has said for the first time that the race is in serious danger of being cancelled.
On the same day that GP2 Asia cancelled the second round of their championship Ecclestone spoke to Reuters about the situation:
“We’ll make a decision by Tuesday or Wednesday. If things stay as they are today, the answer is no. If it’s not quietened down by Wednesday, I think we will have to cancel probably. If you are making travel arrangements, I’d say don’t.”
Cancelling the Grand Prix would obviously be taken as a last resort for Formula One Management but with armoured tanks on the streets on Manama it is clear that the race will have to take a backseat to politics.
In light of the political activism in Egypt and Tunisia the world’s media is firmly focused on Northern Africa and the Middle East. As a result the tensions in Bahrain were always going to come to the fore of news bulletins. Even so the organisers of the race are still only willing to say that they are monitoring the situation. They released another press release today that did little more than reiterate an earlier release:
“The safety of all Bahraini nationals, expats and overseas visitors is a priority at all times in the Kingdom and, at the Bahrain International Circuit, our focus at the present time remains on delivering another successful event in the form of the 2011 Gulf Air Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, we continue to monitor the situation very closely indeed in association with the relevant authorities. Our priority at this time is ensuring the wellbeing of everyone associated with this event, and we will respond appropriately to any further developments.”