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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 21 January 2021
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Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled due to civil unrest

Race organisers have yet to indicate if the postponed race will take place at a later date.

Image: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

ORGANISERS HAVE ANNOUNCED that the Bahrain Grand Prix has been cancelled due to ongoing anti-government protests in the Gulf kingdom.

The race, which was pencilled in for the weekend of 13 March, was due to serve as the grand opening for the forthcoming Formula One season. The country has hosted a grand prix at the purpose-built Bahrain International Circuit since 2004.

In light of the postponement, the Formula One season will now kick off in Australia on 27 March.

Following talks with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa today issued a statement which explained that the country must “focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain’s Formula One race to a later date.”

Bahrain’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together to remind the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.

At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain.

I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Bernie Ecclestone for his support and understanding.

Recovery

Speaking following the announcement of the decision from Bahrain, Ecclestone expressed his regret that the race had been cancelled and his hope that the nation’s political difficulties can soon be resolved.

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.

Zayed R Alzayani, the chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, has also released a statement calling the grand prix “a time of celebration” and “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.

As of now, it is uncertain what arrangements have been made regarding the race’s position within the calendar for the forthcoming season.

Last week, it was suggested that the race might be rescheduled as the season’s penultimate fixture, slotting in between the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Brazilian Grand Prix in late November.

In pictures: this season’s Formula One cars >

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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