Formula One: Bahrain Bungle Has Damaged F1 Say Team Chiefs


Two leading Formula One team chiefs admitted on Friday that the bungled management of the Bahrain Grand Prix fiasco had damaged the image of their sport.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner and Renault's Eric Boullier both agreed that it was a mistake to reinstate the race - as announced last Friday by the sport's governing body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA) - and then call it off for a second time in controversial circumstances.

Horner, whose team clinched their double as champions of both the constructors' and the drivers' championships in Abu Dhabi last year, was clearly embarrassed by the whole episode.

"It's an unfortunate situation," he said. "Obviously with the way things have been handled, with the uncertainty, maybe it could have been handled better, but we are where we are."

Boullier said the sport needed to understand that it could not override the bigger picture of international affairs.

"I am a young inexperienced team principal, but I am pushing hard to do my best to help to build F1 for the future - and obviously it is never good when you get such reactions when things like this happen," he said.

"F1 is a non-political sport. We cannot do whatever we want - because there are issues like this. We need to be a little bit more cautious."

Organizers of the race in Bahrain conceded that their event will not happen this year in a statement issued on Thursday night.

The race was originally due to open the Formula One season in March, but was postponed amid violent civil unrest in which more than 30 people died.

After martial law was lifted, the FIA announced it had reinstated the race for October 30 and switched the inaugural Indian Grand Prix to December 11.

But opposition from the teams whose written agreement was needed for any calendar changes put paid to the plan and left FIA president Frenchman Jean Todt blaming F1 commercial rights-holder Briton Bernie Ecclestone for the mess.

"Whilst Bahrain would have been delighted to see the Grand Prix progress on October 30, it has been made clear that this fixture cannot progress and we fully respect that decision," said Bahrain circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani.

"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."

The FIA has yet to make a final official statement.