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Ecclestone remains hopeful of 2011 Bahrain race

NEWS STORY
01/03/2011

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone remains hopeful that a place can be found on the 2011 calendar for Bahrain, following last week's decision to cancel the event.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Ecclestone said that putting Bahrain back on the 2011 schedule isn't as easy as one might think. "To do that the FIA has to change the calendar, and Bahrain has to apply for a new slot," he said. "The FIA World Council will meet at the beginning of March and could look into the situation. I have already spoken with Jean Todt about the possibility of finding a new date and we both agreed that a decision has to be made before the season starts."

In response to claims that in terms of logistics an alternative to Bahrain is only really feasible in Europe, Ecclestone said: "It's all very easy. We don't need an alternative race anywhere in Europe or any other place. We need a race in Bahrain.

"If the Crown Prince is of the opinion that his country is able to host a race we will return to Bahrain," he continued. "I think the teams are sensible enough even to race in Bahrain in the summer break, and despite high temperatures, because this is the way we can support the country."

In response to claims that the event should have been cancelled earlier, Ecclestone responded: "That was not possible. Shortly before the crisis I had lunch with the Crown Prince and there was absolutely no indication of what would come just days after. He was full of ideas for the future then shortly after the chain of events set in. There was almost no time to react. Of course we needed a decision by February 21, and that is what I told him. He asked what I would do if I were him, and I answered, 'You are there. We in Europe are hardly in the situation to make a serious judgment of the conditions. Decide what is best for your country'. He then cancelled the race and I think it was the right decision. It was not an easy one, as it was Formula One that put Bahrain on the map. Before 2004 - when Formula One raced there for the first time - not many people knew Bahrain.

"Formula One must never be political - full stop," he added. "My job is it to do the best deals possible for Formula One - to secure jobs. Five thousand people have jobs which are directly or indirectly connected to Formula One, and I want to secure these jobs. It is not my business to make politics. We have politicians for that."

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