Formula 1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone is calling for a rethink over the calendar reshuffle after the backlash that has been caused by the reinstatement of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Amid a wave of criticism about the decision to reinstate Bahrain, plus concerns voiced by teams and drivers about safety in the Gulf state if the event goes ahead, Ecclestone has now called for a rethink.
With the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) expected to make clear its stance towards the Bahrain situation later today, Ecclestone is now suggesting that India be reinstated to its original Oct. 30 date. That would allow Bahrain to be given a date in December, which could much easier be ditched if the political situation in the country does not leave it safe for the race to go ahead.
Ecclestone was quoted as saying by Britain's The Telegraph newspaper: "The way things are at the moment, we have no idea what is going to happen. Better that we move Bahrain to the end of the season and, if things are safe and well, then that is fine, we can go. If they are not, then we don't go and there are no problems."
Although FIA president Jean Todt justified the decision to reinstate the grand prix on the back of a report issued after a fact-finding mission by representative Carlos Gracia, the viability of that has been called into question. Campaign group Avaaz suggested that human rights groups consulted by the FIA had close links to the government, and Ecclestone himself now has doubts that the situation in Bahrain is as good as the report suggested.
"We listened to that report from the FIA and that was saying there were no problems at all in Bahrain. But that is not what I am hearing and I think we can see that we need to be careful."
Although F1 teams have kept quiet in public so far, it is understood that there is widespread dissatisfaction at several aspects of the Bahrain decision, including the questions about safety and the fact that calendar is now scheduled to run until shortly before Christmas.