The cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix is going to make life difficult for the Formula 1 circus, if Bernie Ecclestone wants to try and put the race back on the calendar later in the year, as is being suggested. The F1 calendar is already chock-a-block this season, with only the summer break providing any real time, but the teams need a summer break, if only because people are going to start keeling over if they do not get time off – that is if they are not in the divorce courts by that point…
There were 20 planned races this year and with Bahrain dropping out it means that, in effect, Ecclestone is looking for a 21st date and while it might seem logical to slide Bahrain into the calendar at the end of the year alongside Abu Dhabi, there are a number of good reasons why that is not going to happen. For a start, Abu Dhabi will not want a regional event taking away from its ticket sales – or its glory, come to that. These emirates and kingdoms in the Gulf are a competitive lot and Bahrain got to F1 before Abu Dhabi, much to the chagrin of the richer UAE establishment. So there is nothing in it for Abu Dhabi. In any case, taking the F1 calendar into December is not going to go down well with the teams, who need time over the winter to build new cars and do not want to have to employ two different crews to go racing, which would add to the expense at a time when everyone is supposed to be talking about cost reduction.
The option would be to take out a race that has not paid its bills. One thinks specifically of Valencia, but Bahrain in June will be hot – and, frankly, there is no guarantee that the current pushing and shoving will be completed by that point. Some are suggesting that India could be pushed back to 2012, but from what I hear the India GP circuit is ahead of schedule. Getting rid of Turkey might also be a nice idea but again it is too early in the year to be certain that Bahrain will be available.
The sensible thing would be to quietly forget about Bahrain this year, but then one supposes that some money would not change hands. Whether this is covered by insurances and so on is hard to say, and it is difficult to know whether the insurance would work with a force majeure situation.