Formula One: Bahrain Grand Prix cancelled

The season-opening Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix, due to be staged on March 13, was cancelled on Monday due to the political unrest in the Gulf state, organisers announced.

The widely anticipated move was confirmed in an official statement shortly after reports emerged that F1 teams had decided not to go ahead with a scheduled testing session at the circuit next week.

Bahrain Crown Prince HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa said: “At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain.

“Although [F1 rights holder] Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain’s to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain’s Formula One race to a later date.”

The 2011 season is now due to get under way with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 27.

Monday’s announcement follows the cancellation of last weekend’s GP2 Series race in Bahrain after pro-democracy protests that have led to deadly clashes with police.

The unrest in the small Gulf state of Bahrain is part of a wave of protests that have rippled across North Africa and the Middle East since the revolt that ousted Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January.—AFP

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