The first Formula 1 race of the 2011 season was cancelled due to the anti-government protesting in Bahrain. The decision was made by Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the rights owner of the race. It’s unsure if the race date will be rescheduled later in the year. For the past seven years, Bahrain has been a stop on the F1 tour.
The final pre-race group test was set to be on the Bahrain International Circuit but it will now be held in Barcelona from March 8-11.
Prince Salman himself informed F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone of the decision. The unrest in the Middle Eastern country started in mid-February following pro-democracy protests in Egypt and Tunisia. In a statement, Prince Salman said that the hosting of Bahrain's Formula One race will be moved to a later date.
He said that the nation’s priority now is to overcome tragedy and to reunite the country. Ecclestone expressed sadness for having to withdraw from the race. He said that the Bahrain people’s “hospitality and warmth” is a hallmark of the Bahrain Grand Prix and so he looks forward to returning to Bahrain soon.
The next Formula 1 race is on March 27, the Australian GP at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.