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F1 faces schedule squeeze, says Red Bull boss Horner


Bahrain postponement was right decision - Horner

Red Bull chief Christian Horner has admitted it will be tough to fit the recently postponed Bahrain Grand Prix back into the 2011 Formula 1 calendar.

The race, set to be the season-opener on 13 March, was called off because of civil unrest in the small Gulf kingdom.

No decision has been made on a new date, with the now 19-race calendar set to climax in Brazil on 27 November.

"It will certainly be a challenge to accommodate. But nothing is ever impossible," Horner told BBC Sport.

"It's a very busy calendar this year. Already now, at the end of November, we'll have finished 19 races."

As F1 tries to grow the sport globally, the sport's governing body added one extra race for the 2011 season after running 19 Grands Prix in the 2010 season, which started in Bahrain on 14 March and finished in Abu Dhabi on 14 November.

The 2009 campaign, by contrast, contained 17 races. It also started later, on 29 March, and finished earlier, on 1 November.

David Bond

Horner, however, took no issue with the decision to start the 2011 campaign in Australia on 27 March following the anti-government protests in Bahrain.

"It was the right decision," he said. "Obviously the country's got bigger issues than a Formula 1 race at the moment. It was only right and appropriate to postpone.

"It was Bernie [Ecclestone's] decision, along with the Crown Prince. It's not down to the teams to decide which races we go to or not, and ultimately we trusted in Bernie's judgement.

"It's a great circuit, and a great country to race in, and we've always been made to feel very welcome there.

"Hopefully we'll be back there with F1 cars before long.

"For us it's not too bad logistically to accommodate the switch. The cars hadn't left for Bahrain, that was the critical point."

One of Horner's drivers, Mark Webber, stressed that he believes the decision to call off the Bahrain GP will not hurt team preparations for new season.

"It's the same for everybody," he said. "We are always prepared to race in two weeks' time."

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Horner also feels that Red Bull are well placed to defend their constructors' crown and Sebastian Vettel's drivers' world championship title.

"It's going to be difficult to better what we achieved last year, but the challenge is to retain those trophies," he said. "And we're very determined to do that.

"We've got some formidable opponents in Ferrari and McLaren, but we're confident we can put up a good show.

"It's very difficult to tell at this time of year [what the true competition will be] because teams don't disclose fully what their pace is. It's pretty impossible to predict."

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see also
Teams unfazed by delay - Webber
22 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Bahrain GP off after civil unrest
21 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Behind the scenes at F1 testing
20 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Barcelona F1 test photos
20 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Webber voices Bahrain GP doubts
20 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Bahrain turmoil: King seeks talks
19 Feb 11 |  Middle East
The moment Vettel won F1 world title
14 Nov 10 |  Formula 1

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