Bahrain, US GP remain in calendar

Bahrain, US GP remain in calendar

LONDON - Reuters
Bahrain, US GP remain in calendar

Webber powers his Red Bull ahead of Button and Alonso at the Interlagos. AFP photo

Formula One’s 20-race 2012 calendar has been approved unchanged by the sport’s governing body despite previous doubts about races in Bahrain and the United States, the FIA said yesterday.

“The 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar was confirmed as previously published,” the International Automobile Federation said in a statement issued after a World Motor Sport Council meeting in New Delhi.

The calendar had looked uncertain after Formula One’s commercial supreme Bernie Ecclestone, who puts it forward to the FIA for final approval, handed a contract ultimatum to organizers of a planned U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

There has also been uncertainty about Bahrain’s race, cancelled this year due to civil unrest that continues to trouble the Gulf kingdom.

Sources in the meeting said changes to the calendar, published at the end of August with only countries rather than specific venues mentioned, were not discussed.

Ecclestone told Reuters at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix late last month that he doubted the race, scheduled for Nov. 18 next year at the yet-to-be-built Circuit of the Americas, would happen.
“The truth is they’re not complying with the terms and conditions of the contract,” he said. “And as we make the contract, we will award, the event or not award the event.”

Construction was halted at the Texas circuit last month.

The race would mark a return to the United States for Formula One after the last grand prix held at Indianapolis in 2007.

The United States is due to hold another race in New Jersey, on a street circuit against a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, in 2013.

Bahrain’s place on the calendar for April 22 will remain uncertain, with the race kept on this year’s calendar and rolled back until events forced it to be cancelled.

A bomb placed under a vehicle exploded near the British embassy in Bahrain’s capital Manama on Sunday, causing no casualties.

A majority of the Formula One teams are British-based.