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FOTA told FIA calendar 'unrealistic'

The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) told the FIA that its proposed rescheduling of the Bahrain Grand Prix was logistically unrealistic, an exchange of letters published by the governing body has revealed.

After the FIA's World Motor Sport Council announced last Friday that Bahrain would take the Indian GP's 30 October date on the 2011 calendar, with India moving to a new December date, FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh and vice chairman Eric Boullier stressed the teams' objections to the "unrealistic" new schedule in a letter to FIA president Jean Todt, Formula 1 commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone and the Bahrain circuit officials on Tuesday this week.

"Whilst we support the idea of racing in Bahrain - a country that has always hosted us with enthusiasm and warmth - once the security conditions have been fully reestablished, we feel that there are fundamental issues linked to the logistics of reintroducing such a race as proposed that have to be considered," the letter read.

FOTA argued that the calendar shuffle would have a negative impact on India's prospects of making a success of its first F1 race.

"As we have been planning around the 30 October as the date for the Indian Grand Prix, a change of this date would severely undermine our scheduled transport plans," it said. "Similarly, our sponsors, international media and fans have organised travel and accommodation for the Indian Grand Prix and changing it now would cause an unacceptable degree of disruption and cost.

"Most importantly, the addition of the Indian race to the calendar for 2011 was a fantastic development for the sport and it is critical that we do not undermine its success by these changes.

"With regard to holding a race in Bahrain this year, we also have been warned that insurance coverage could not be necessarily granted and this is an additional cause of concern for us.

"We would also like to highlight that an extension of the 2011 F1 season in December could also prove unbearable for the staff of a vast majority of the Teams and it would conflict with our other internal activities already scheduled for that month."

The teams also underlined their belief that a calendar change at this stage without their agreement was not permitted under the International Sporting Code.

The FIA has now written to Ecclestone asking him to submit an alternative calendar proposal.

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