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Bahrain Grand Prix called off

By Biswajeet Panda
Manama, Feb 22: Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix have called off the event, which was also meant to be the 2011 season opener for the Formula One racing. The announcement was made on Feb 21.

Anti-government protests in Bahrain have already left seven dead and several others injured. Earlier F1 commercial chief, Bernie Ecclestone, had informed that in light of the current political turmoil, Bahrain Grand Prix may be called off.

While tournament organisers are hopeful that the event could be rescheduled at a later date, but with about 20 races lined up in 2011, the chances are grim.

A statement by Bahrain Circuit authorities said, "The Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) today announced that the Kingdom of Bahrain would withdraw from hosting this year's F1 Grand Prix race so that the country can focus on its process of national dialogue."

Bahrain's crown prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa said, "Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain's to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain's Formula One race to a later date."

With the confirmation of the event being called off, the 12 participating teams will now return to Barcelona, Spain. Australian Grand Prix, scheduled on March 27, will now be the opener for the 2011 F1 season.

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Story first published: Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 12:06 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 22, 2011