F1’s travelling circus is quaking in terror at the prospect of a rare three-race flyaway back-to-back as the sport looks to reschedule the cancelled Bahrain season opener.
It is suggested that, with the Kingdom’s security situation too uncertain in the coming months, the weather too harsh in the middle of the year, and freight scheduling needing some time to organise, the only feasible new date for Bahrain would be at the end of the season.
From a logistical point of view, a pairing with nearby Abu Dhabi is therefore regarded as the most logical.
With the calendar unprecedentedly cluttered in 2011, however, a back-to-back scheduling with Abu Dhabi would mean three races in three separate countries on successive weekends.
The prospect of pushing back the Interlagos finale to create a free weekend has been ruled out due to the encroaching Brazilian football season.
Mohammed ben Sulayem, president of the United Arab Emirates’ motor racing federation and also a FIA vice-president, sounded open to the idea of the triple back-to-back.
“We respect the (FIA’s) judgement,” he is quoted by The National. “Finding time in the calendar is feasible.”
A report in the Telegraph gives some insight into the sport’s eagerness to reschedule Bahrain.
Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he will only collect the race’s $40 million sanctioning fee if the event actually takes place this year, while Gulf Air pays an estimated $6m for the naming rights.
And the teams also stand to lose out due to penalty clauses relating to missing races in their contracts with sponsors.
Meanwhile, the teams had already shipped equipment by sea to Bahrain for the now axed season opener, Pirelli had sent 1200 tyres, and the entire travelling circus had arranged hotels, flights, rental cars and rental equipment.
“We are trying to recover as much of these costs as possible,” admitted Toro Rosso’s team manager Gianfranco Fantuzzi.
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