Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain, said the country must "focus on immediate issues of national interest".
Bahrain Grand Prix postponed
ABU DHABI // The Bahrain Grand Prix, the opening event of the Formula One motor-racing season, has been postponed because of unrest in the country. Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the kingdom’s Crown Prince, called the sport’s chief Bernie Ecclestone last night to tell him of his decision.
“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,” read a statement from the Crown Prince, who also thanked Mr Ecclestone for his “support and understanding”.
“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,” the Crown Prince said.
The race had been scheduled for the weekend of March 11-13, and several race teams had planned to take part in a testing session at the Bahrain International Circuit next week. Formula One confirmed last night that testing will now take place in Barcelona.
Formula One will need to find space on an already congested calendar to run the Bahrain race later in the year, but Mr Ecclestone said he was looking forward to F1 “being back in Bahrain soon”.
“It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race,” he said. “We wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country.”