Ecclestone hints at deadline extension for Bahrain image

( Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday sounded willing to extend Bahrain’s deadline for the rescheduling of its 2011 grand prix.

Due to the civil unrest in the island Kingdom, the season opener at Sakhir was postponed, with the FIA giving organisers until May 1 to propose a new date this year or be content to wait until 2012.

Three days before the May 1 deadline, F1 chief executive Ecclestone told Reuters: “We need to wait a little bit to see exactly how progress is made.

“I suppose we’d be safe by early June or something like that,” he said, admitting that “bye-bye Bahrain” was also a possibility and that he is discussing the situation with FIA president Jean Todt.

As for Rupert Murdoch’s reported interest in buying F1, Ecclestone said the chances are “close to zero” and insisted he is “100 per cent” committed to keeping the sport on free-to-air television.