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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Bahrain given 1 May deadline to prove race can go ahead

Bahrain Grand Prix
The Bahrain Grand Prix was originally scheduled for 13 March

Bahrain Grand Prix organisers have been given until 1 May to prove to the World Motorsport Council that the postponed race can be rescheduled this year.

The race was due to be the season's opener on 13 March but had to be cancelled because of ongoing civil unrest in the Arab country.

A new date for August has been ruled out because it would be too hot.

So a date near the end of the season is the most likely solution, with the last races possibly being reshuffled.

Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone told BBC Sport last week that he was confident a date would be found, saying "You never see anything about Bahrain on TV now."

"We'll have a look and see what we can do, how we can swap things round. Maybe we can change with Brazil, something like that," he said.

Bahrain could become the penultimate race of the season and Ecclestone is considering 20 November, the week after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

That might require moving the season-ending Brazilian GP back by a week.

Bahrain's Crown Prince decided to cancel the race two weeks ago because of violent clashes between anti-government protesters and government forces.

Ecclestone has said that F1 Management was happy to absorb the £25m cost of losing the race and the decision was the correct one.

"The person who runs the country was the right person to decide, and I'm sure he made the right decision," he said.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone wants to introduce a new sprinkler system

"Whether it would have given the opportunity for more unrest or not I don't know but I'd hate to have had it happen that we were the cause for people getting a lot more publicity by sabotaging F1.

"The people there have been very good. If they want the race we want to be able to supply it for them."

With the new season just three weeks away, Ecclestone has also proposed the introduction of a controversial computer-generated sprinkler system to spice up boring races with artificial rain.

"I'm happy to make it happen," he insisted. "I've got to get everyone to fall into line. My idea is that we should make a programme but that nobody knows exactly which one will be used.

"At some time during the race it will be raining, maybe rain more than once. It's a bit more than a sprinkler system.

"We always have thoughts to do what we can to keep people entertained, we're in the entertainment business."

Ecclestone was also critical of the new moveable rear wing that has been introduced in a bid to improve overtaking.

Last year was so good and all the messages are that this year should be as good, if not better

Bernie Ecclestone

"I don't support it at all," he complained. "It's unnecessary and will lead to more and more protests and upheaval. I don't see how it can operate properly."

The 2010 F1 championship proved to be one of the most thrilling in the history of the sport, with Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull eventually claiming the title.

"Last year was so good and all the messages are out there that this year should be as good, if not better," Ecclestone said.

"The signs are good. It looks like Red Bull will again be the team to beat."

Team Lotus, Virgin Racing and Hispania Racing will be looking to score their first points this year after debuting last season, but Ecclestone believes there needs to be a reduction in the number of teams in F1.

"Twelve teams is too many," he said. "I'd like to see 10, that's enough."

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see also
Bahrain GP may not be rearranged
15 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Ecclestone cautious on Bahrain GP
18 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
F1 schedule is a squeeze - Horner
25 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Bahrain GP off after civil unrest
21 Feb 11 |  Formula 1

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