Bahrain Grand Prix gets green light
After weeks of speculation, the World Motor Sports Council (WMSC) meeting in Barcelona announced the Bahrain Grand Prix will be reinstated on October 30 with the Indian Grand Prix, originally planned for that weekend, now moved to an as yet undecided date at the end of the season.
A statement from the FIA said that the WMSC had voted unanimously to reinstate the race after a delegation visit to the country earlier this week. "This decision reflects the spirit of reconciliation in Bahrain, which is evident from the strong support the race receives from the Government and all major parties in Bahrain, including the largest opposition group, all of whom endorse the Formula One Grand Prix and motor sport in the country.
"The WMSC feels that reinstating the Grand Prix is a means of helping to unite people as the country looks to move forward, and also recognises the commitment made by the Formula One teams, their employees and families, and personnel associated with the championship including the local team of volunteers who are so vital to the event."
The Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) welcomed the decision, and Zayed R. Alzayani, chairman of the BIC, said: "This is welcome news for all of Bahrain. As a country we have faced a difficult time, but stability has returned; with businesses operating close to normal, the State of National Safety lifted and countries removing travel restrictions. Collectively, we are in the process of addressing issues of national and international concern, and learning lessons from the recent past. By the time the Grand Prix arrives we will be able to remind the world about Bahrain at its best.
"On behalf of Bahrain, I would like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, Jean Todt and the FIA and the rest of the motorsport community for the support and understanding they have extended to us this year."
The move is controversial, not only for the moral arguments against going to Bahrain, but also for the rescheduling of the Indian Grand Prix to the end of the season, a move that the teams were against. Red Bull was first to react to the FIA's decision, with a statement on its website. "Red Bull Racing has acknowledged the FIA World Motor Sport Council's decision to go ahead with the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix. We will go through the correct channels and discuss this decision within the appropriate forum with the other F1 teams and our fellow FOTA members"