Bahrain GP cannot happen, says Bernie Ecclestone

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said October's reinstated Bahrain Grand Prix cannot go ahead.

The race was due to open the season in March but was called off because of civil unrest. Last week the FIA restored it to the calendar.

"Hopefully we can return in the future, but of course it's not on," Ecclestone told BBC Sport's Dan Roan.

"The schedule cannot be rescheduled without the agreement of the participants - they're the facts."

The teams wrote to the FIA on Tuesday expressing their objections to Bahrain being put back on the calendar.

The decision to reinstate Bahrain was taken at a meeting of the FIA World Council on Friday, where the vote was passed without any objections.

But it seems the FIA had overlooked article 66 of its own sporting code, which says that no amendments can be made to the arrangements for a championship after entries open without the agreement of all competitors.

A senior insider described this oversight as "extraordinary".

Technically speaking, the vote remains valid, and in theory the FIA should have another vote to cancel it.

In reality, though, because the FIA did not follow its own rules, the teams can simply ignore it, as the vote cannot take effect without their agreement.

That means that, because the teams have formally objected to the reinstatement to the Bahrain race, it cannot now take place this year, so the event will not happen, regardless of what actions the FIA now takes.

An FIA spokesman emphasised that the decisions to initially call off the race in February and then to reinstate it were both proposed by Ecclestone.

He also added that no-one had voted against the decision to bring back the Bahrain race at last Friday's meeting.

The Bahrain Grand Prix was called off in February because of pro-democracy protests in which more than 20 people died.

However, the FIA chose to reinstate the race after a report suggested that the country's situation has "stabilised". Bahrain was given India's slot on the 20-race calendar on 30 October with the inaugural race in India moved to a provisional date of 11 December.

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle told BBC Radio 5 live: "I think it's a grave error to reintroduce the race for a number of reasons. They really should have kept it off this year's calendar.

"A lot of people would be happy to accept it on the calendar for 2012 provided they have sorted out the problems there."

The decision to reinstate Bahrain and to reorganise a 2011 season in which six races have already been completed led to reaction from former FIA chairman Max Mosley, Red Bull driver Mark Webber, the teams and third parties unconnected with the sport.

Avaaz, an international campaigning organisation, immediately issued a statement in which it contradicted the FIA's findings.

"Claims that calm has been restored and life is back to normal in Bahrain are completely untrue," said campaign director Alex Wilks. "In the last week the police have continued to use tear gas, rubber bullets and sound grenades to break up peaceful marches, killing and injuring dozens of people."

The teams wrote to the FIA, under the auspices of their umbrella group Fota, making it clear their opposition to the Bahrain race happening in 2011.

They say it is not practical to add the race at the end of a long season and asked for the Indian Grand Prix to be moved back to its original date.

BBC Sport understands that Fota - which represents all the F1 teams bar back-of-the-grid Hispania - expressed its objections to Bahrain being rescheduled on logistical grounds, its letter saying that the idea of adding a 20th race in December would be "unbearable to our staff".

"The reason the teams get quite upset about the December factor is that it's a massive commitment for the guys that go racing," McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe told BBC Sport. "And that is typically when they have their holidays."

And while the letter does not register any moral or ethical objections to the idea of a race in Bahrain, sources say the teams do have such concerns.

The teams, and the majority of F1's decision makers, head to Canada this weekend for the seventh race of the season where there is expected to be more discussion on the future of the Bahrain GP and the 2011 calendar.

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