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Updated: February 22, 2011 18:27 IST

Schumacher welcomes Bahrain F1 Grand Prix being called off

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Michael Schumacher said:
Michael Schumacher said: "The people in Bahrain have more pressing issues than Formula One, and those have priority"

Record world champion Michael Schumacher on Tuesday welcomed the decision to call off the season-opening Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix in the wake of anti-government protests in the Gulf kingdom.

“Like many other Formula One colleagues I consider it a good decision to call off the competition inBahrain. The people there have more pressing issues than Formula One, and those have priority,” the Mercedes driver Schumacher said in a statement on his website.

The race scheduled for March 13 in Sakhir was called off on Monday by local authorities. The move was welcomed by the F1 community. The season will now start on March 27 in Australia. The Bahrain race may take place later in the season as the ruling motorsport body FIA said on Monday it was “postponed.” The Bahrain Grand Prix has featured on the F1 calendar every year since 2004 and was the season-opener in 2006 and 2010.

This year’s race had been in doubt as thousands of anti-government protesters continued to gather in Manama’s Lulu Square, which has become the main focus of demonstrations in the country since February 14. At least four people have been killed in the protests.

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