Red faces all round as Bahrain GP called off again
Nobody emerges from the Bahrain fiasco with any credit - except possibly Mark Webber
Yet another sorry episode in the history of F1 has come to an end with the final cancellation of this year's Bahrain Grand Prix, three months after it was postponed, and less than a week after it was controversially reinstated into the calendar.
The saga leaves all parties with egg on their faces ahead of this weekend's race in the rather less controversial surroundings of Montreal in Canada.
Jean Todt, the head of the FIA, motor racing's governing body, has been made to look the most foolish for announcing that the Bahrain race was back on when the teams were so obviously opposed to the idea. The members of the Formula One Teams Association (Fota) immediately raised their concerns after the announcement and the F1 ringleader Bernie Ecclestone was quick to point out that the race could not go ahead without the support of the teams.
Although Todt's attempts to reinstate the race against the wishes of the teams are embarrassing, he was at pains to point out that his body would not have done so without Ecclestone's tacit support. Todt attempted to lay the blame at his door by saying: "The responsibility to set the calendar and submit it to the FIA for approval rests solely with the commercial rights holder. Consequently, it is the responsibility of the commercial rights holder to perform all necessary prior due diligence."
And last week Ecclestone was quoted as saying: "If [Bahrain] want the race then we want to be able to supply it for them. If there is peace in Bahrain, we will be there."
Ecclestone sided with the teams as soon as it became apparent that they were oppposed to the idea, and earlier this week the 80-year-old said there was no chance of the race happening.
For their part, the drivers have also faced criticism for appearing to suggest that their main objection to racing in Bahrain was down to their own security rather than a moral objection to the state's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protestors. The one exception was Mark Webber who said he was morally uncomfortable about visiting the Gulf state after demonstrators were killed and tortured.
Finally, the organisers of the race seemed prepared to draw a veil over the whole affair. Chairman of the Bahrain circuit Zayed Alzayani said: "Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the Grand Prix progress on October 30th... it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision.
"We want our role in Formula One to continue to be as positive and constructive as it has always been, therefore, in the best interest of the sport, we will not pursue the rescheduling of a race this season." ·
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