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Ecclestone eyeing new deal with Bahrain

NEWS STORY
22/04/2013

Despite ongoing concerns regarding unrest in the country, Bernie Ecclestone is set to start negotiations that will secure the future of F1 in Bahrain for another five years.

All the stops were pulled out at the weekend to ensure the race wasn't affected by the unrest, as Bahrain, with the aid of the F1 circus continues to push the message that 'all is well, nothing to see here'.

Despite claims that only 28,000 fans attended the race, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is ready to sit down and begin talks ahead of a new deal.

"I feel they do a super job and we're more than happy to give them a new contract for five years," he told reporters at Sakhir on Sunday. "I don't see any problems."

It's a view shared by circuit boss Zayed R Alzayani, who is seeking to keep F1 in Bahrain until 2012. "We're still contracted to 2016, but obviously we are willing to look beyond that," he said.

"We've not started negotiations yet, but we are happy to look at it," he continued. "The intentions are definitely there. We're committed to the sport, we were the first race in the Middle East, we call ourselves the home of motor sport in the Middle East. We truly believe that in every sense of those words, so we are here for the long term, and we want to be known as the friendly race. Hopefully we can sign something this year."

Amidst talk that next year's race could be held at night, and that he is pushing for the race to be returned to its season opening slot, Alzayani also admitted that he is pushing for the Bahrain International circuit to host one of the official pre-season tests in 2014. "We are hoping to get an early race and a test session next year as well," he said, "whether it's the first, second or third test, I don't know yet."

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