The FIA made a brief statement last night in relation to the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Having been curiously quiet throughout recent weeks the sport’s governing body released the following statement:
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile supports the decision of the Bahrain Motor Federation and the Bahrain International Circuit to postpone the scheduled first Grand Prix of the 2011 season due to be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain on March 11-13.
This decision is the outcome of the close co-operation between the FIA, Formula One Management, the Bahrain Motor Federation and the Bahrain International Circuit
The FIA is Formula One’s governing body and is responsible for the international calendar as well as all matters of safety relating to the stakeholders involved in Grand Prix racing.
Interestingly Jean Todt is still to make a statement in regards to Bahrain. The FIA President has limited his exposure to just a brief quote while visiting Dublin. Todt will have to walk a political tightrope in the coming weeks. He has long had support from the Bahrain Motor Federation and its President, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Sia Al-Khalifa. The Sheikh is the president of the CIK and is also a member of the World Motorsport Council.
While navigating political minefields is obviously a crucial role of being the President of the FIA one must ask the question as to whether the silence emanating from Palace de Concord was really the best message that the FIA can be sending at these times. Motorsport needed a strong governing body over the last fortnight and the impartiality of the FIA could easily be called into question due to their unwillingness to enter into public discussions on the matter.
The FIA say that they are responsible for the safety of stakeholders involved in Grand Prix racing but their decision to stand idly by and wait for the Crown Prince to announce the postponement of the Bahrain Grand Prix shows that they bow to the commercial realities of the sport before the safety of its members.