Bahrain F1 cancelled

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The opening Grand Prix of the Formula One season in Bahrain has been called off after a wave of anti–government protests in the country forced Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa to forfeit the hosting rights to the event.

The Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) announced towards the end of February 2010 that the Kingdom of Bahrain would withdraw from hosting the opening round of the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship so that the country can focus on its process of national dialogue. Bahrains Crown Prince – HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al–Khalifa – initiated a new national dialogue involving all sections of Bahraini society in order to resolve the current political situation in the Kingdom. The Crown Prince informed Formula Ones Bernie Ecclestone of the BICs decision by telephone. HRH Prince Salman said: At the present time the countrys entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain. Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrains 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 Bahrains Formula One race to a later date. I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Bernie Ecclestone for his support and understanding. After the events of the past week, our nations priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united. Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, Zayed R Alzayani said: Bahrains Grand Prix is a time of celebration and hosting the race is a source of great pride for Bahrain and Bahrainis. It is a showcase to the world and we look forward to welcoming the teams and drivers and everyone involved in Formula One back to Bahrain in the very near future. I hope that F1 and our friends around the world will understand our decision at this difficult time. Following the Crown Princes decision, Ecclestone commented: It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country. The hospitality and warmth of the people of Bahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who has been at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify. We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon. No decision has been made on a new date for the rescheduling of the race, which was due to take place from 11–13 March 2011.

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