(Inautonews.com/GMM) Bahrain has hit out at Bernie Ecclestone’s claim F1 can “of course” not return to the kingdom this year.
The government was delighted less than a week ago when the FIA World Motor Sport Council, including member and F1 chief executive Ecclestone, voted unanimously to reschedule the earlier postponed event to late October.
Ecclestone’s about-face is apparently due to widespread opposition from the drivers and teams, as well as the sport’s own rules about late schedule changes.
Referring to the 80-year-old’s comments published on Wednesday, Bahrain chamber of commerce tourism chief Nabeel Kanoo said: “It is a shameful decision and smacks of hypocrisy.
“There was no reason to consider cancelling it,” he told the Gulf Daily News.
F1 teams have been reluctant to wade into the political debate, arguing instead that their stance is due to having to postpone the December holidays of staff.
And Williams’ chief executive Adam Parr told Reuters: “How do you say to people who have booked a two-week holiday in India to take in the grand prix, ‘sorry you’ll be in India but we won’t’.
“We’ve explained out position and there’s nothing more to talk about. It’s just too late to change it.”
Indian motor racing official Vicky Chandhok said the latest development, despite the official F1 website still showing a mid December date for the inaugural grand prix, will not affect Delhi’s preparations to be ready for October as originally planned.
“We were working towards meeting the earlier deadline, and even when it was pushed back to December we didn’t relax, so the return to its original date will pose no extra challenge,” he told the Hindustan Times.
Speaking from Montreal, Renault tester Bruno Senna commented on the drivers’ position to Globo Esporte.
“I love Bahrain and would love to go back, but while there was no minimal guarantee we would find a situation of calm, we should wait a little longer for a new edition of the race,” said the Brazilian.