Motorsport

Bahrain calls off Formula One Grand Prix

The season-opening Formula One race in Bahrain was called off Monday due to the anti-government protests in the Gulf kingdom.

The March 13 race had been in doubt for more a week due to the deadly protests on the island, with demonstrators demanding the ruling monarchy gives up its near-absolute control over key policies and positions.

Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who owns the rights to the race, told F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone by telephone that organisers decided to call off the event.

“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 Prince said in a statement.

“After the events of the past week, our nation’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.”

No new date for the race has been set. The Bahrain GP has been on the F1 calendar every year since 2004.

“It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country,” Ecclestone said. “The hospitality and warmth of the people of Bahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who has been at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify. We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon.”

The F1 championship’s next scheduled race is the Australian GP in Melbourne on March 27.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 1:49:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/motorsport/Bahrain-calls-off-Formula-One-Grand-Prix/article15453678.ece

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