Bahrain Officials Say Grand Prix Will Go Ahead

Bahrain Formula One officials say plans for the kingdom's first Grand Prix next year are well ahead of schedule despite their MPs' decision to reject a request to invest $200 million (USD) into the $500 million project.

Bahrain Officials Say Grand Prix Will Go Ahead

Bahrain Formula One officials say plans for the kingdom's first Grand Prix next year are well ahead of schedule despite their MPs' decision to reject a request to invest $200 million (USD) into the $500 million project.

A parliament committee voted against the funding because chairman Isa Al Mutawa said the Grand Prix would bring unwanted tourism and prostitutes to the kingdom - and also "fly in the face of Islamic values."

But Grand Prix officials said the committee's decision is not final and the project will now be discussed by the government's Shura council.

"We are very confident that there will be a positive outcome and work on the project continues," a spokesperson for the Grand Prix said. "There will be further discussions and a close working relationship with all parties to ensure that the benefits of F1 are maximised for the kingdom.

"What has been reported was just one member's personal opinion. There may have also been some misreporting. The comments about prostitutes are to do with a resort that actually has nothing to do with F1."

The spokesperson also said that work to turn 30 square miles of desert outside the city of Manama into a state-of-the-art F1 venue was "30 per cent ahead of schedule."

"The VIP tower is beginning already to take shape and the outline of the circuit is being graded in preparation of the laying of the track surface. It is amazing to see," said the spokesperson.

The project was officially launched on site by Max Mosley, the president of the sport's governing body, the FIA, the Duke of York Prince Andrew and the King of Bahrain.

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