Bahrain hoping for swift F1 return

Bahrain is hoping to be able to return to the Formula 1 calendar "in the very near future"

Bahrain hoping for swift F1 return

The race was today withdrawn as the opening event of the 2011 championship, but no decision has yet been made on whether it will be rescheduled for later in the season or cancelled completely.

Bahrain International Circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani says only that he hopes F1 will be able to return to Bahrain soon.

"We look forward to welcoming the teams, drivers and everyone involved in Formula 1
back to Bahrain in the very near future," he said.

"Bahrain's 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. I hope that F1 and our friends around the world will understand our decision at this difficult time."

Sheikh Mohammed bin Isa Al-Khalifa indicated that discussions to reschedule the race are already under way, telling CNN: "We still hope to host an F1 grand prix in this calendar year - we are already in negotiations. We hope that we can reschedule the race later this year and be a valuable addition to the F1 calendar."

Felipe Massa hopes the Bahrain GP will be rescheduled for later this year, but agrees that the Gulf state has more important things to focus on at present.

The Ferrari driver, who has won the Bahrain GP twice, said: "I like Bahrain, so if we go back there I will be happy.

"Bahrain is a track I like, so I would have liked to start the championship there. But maybe we will go back and race there again - I like the track and I like to be there.

"But if we don't go, it's okay. It's for more important reasons. The human side is much stronger than the professional side, what is happening there is very serious and I hope everything will be normal. The safe side is much more important."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner added: "It's a shame, but the country has got bigger issues than a Formula 1 race at the moment. It is important that they address those.

"It's a great shame not to be going, it's always been an enjoyable place to visit, they've always made us feel very welcome, but understandably with the issues the country faces, the responsible decision has been made and the first race will be in Australia.

"At the end of the day, we're a sport and we can always go back there, if not this year then in future years."

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