Bahrain GP hopes suffer big blow
|By Jonathan Noble
||Tuesday, March 15th 2011, 13:00 GMT
The already slim chances of the Bahrain Grand Prix returning to the Formula 1 calendar later this season now appear to be all but over after a state of emergency was declared in the Gulf state on Tuesday.
Motor racing's governing body, the FIA, had given Bahrain GP organisers until May 1 to resolve the political troubles that had forced the 2011 season opened to be called off and to request a new date.
However, on the back of fresh protests in Bahrain over the weekend, and troops from Saudi Arabia having been called on to help restore order, the state's King on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for the next three months.
In a statement that was read out on Bahrain's main television channel, it was announced that the King had "authorised the commander of Bahrain's defence forces to take all necessary measures to protect the safety of the country and its citizens."
With the three-month period running past the May 1 deadline given to the state by the FIA, there now appears very little prospect for the race getting slotted in later this year.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said several times that if Bahrain could guarantee it could put on a trouble-free event, then he would give it a date later in the year.
"If the Crown Prince is of the opinion that his country is able to host a race we will return to Bahrain," Ecclestone told the official F1 website earlier this year.
Ecclestone also insisted that it was not for the F1 community or the FIA to get involved in a country's political situation.
"Formula 1 must never be political - full stop," he said. "My job is it to do the best deals possible for Formula One - to secure jobs.
"Five thousand people have jobs which are directly or indirectly connected to Formula One, and I want to secure these jobs. It is not my business to make politics. We have politicians for that."