Mike Stevens | Jun 7, 2011

The FIA has signalled the green light but grey clouds of uncertainty continue to hang over the 2011 Bahrain grand prix.

After the World Motor Sport Council controversially agreed to reschedule the troubled island Kingdom's race for late October, protest groups are now calling for a 'Day of Rage' to coincide with the event that in March was called off due to violence.

Britain's sports minister Hugh Robertson has told the Telegraph the grand prix will be a "disaster" if it goes ahead.

Commentators were surprised last week when the major opposition party in Bahrain supported the rescheduling of the race.

Robertson said: "You can understand why opposition groups might want the race to go ahead if they are planning protests around it and this is a danger."

Bahrain Centre for Human Rights president Nabeel Rajab said: "The people are very upset and already they have called the day of that racing as a Day of Rage where you come out everywhere and in every city of Bahrain to show anger towards the Bahrain government.

"We are going to use this event to expose the human rights violations in Bahrain and let the outside world know what's happening here," he said.

The F1 teams are already scheduling urgent talks, and it is likely that Ross Brawn's view that the reinstatement is "totally unacceptable" will now be echoed within the paddock.

Renault boss Eric Boullier said he will take the team to Bahrain in October "as long as our safety and the security of the people living there is guaranteed".

And certain high-profile sponsors might also boycott, according to an editorial in the Observer newspaper.

"It is time for those sponsoring the Bahrain grand prix ... to step up to the mark and demonstrate that even if F1's managers are struggling to find their conscience, its paymasters are not," it read.

The Guardian's Richard Williams said the 2011 Bahrain grand prix will compare to Hitler's Olympic Games in 1936 and the Mexican massacre in 1968.

Grand Prix Drivers' Association president Rubens Barrichello is quoted in the Finnish press: "I want to be absolutely convinced that safety there (in Bahrain) is guaranteed.

"At GPDA meetings, all the drivers expressed concern and required a security guarantee to go there," he said.

Former FIA president Max Mosley is highly critical of his successor Jean Todt's role in allowing Bahrain to go ahead.

"If formula one allows itself to be used in this way in Bahrain, it will share the regime's guilt as surely as if it went out and helped brutalise unarmed protesters," he wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.

"The decision ... is a mistake which will not be forgotten and, if not reversed, will eventually cost formula one dear."

Outspoken driver Mark Webber is hopeful the decision will indeed be reversed.

"I'll be highly surprised if the Bahrain grand prix goes ahead this year," the Australian wrote on his website long after the decision was taken.

(GMM)

 

Sauber 'very optimistic' Perez to race in Canada

Peter Sauber on Sunday said he is "very optimistic" Sergio Perez will be in action this weekend in Canada.

The Mexican rookie spent two nights in a Monaco hospital with concussion and a bruised thigh after his high speed qualifying crash.

He must be cleared by FIA doctors before getting the green light to race this weekend.

But team boss Sauber wrote in the Swiss Sonntagsblick newspaper that, after the 21-year-old's hospital stay and some further rest days in the Principality, Perez was at the weekend examined in a speciality clinic in Zurich.

"The results were positive, so we are very optimistic that he will be at the start in Canada," he said.

Sauber revealed that the FIA doctors will examine Perez on the Thursday before the Canadian grand prix in Montreal.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari's Dyer eyes return to Australia: Report

Chris Dyer could be set to return to Australia to continue his motor racing career.

After serving as Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen's championship-winning race engineer at Ferrari, he was promoted by the famous Italian team to the role of head of engineering.

But Dyer, 42, was shunted aside to the road car division at Maranello after bungling Fernando Alonso's race strategy in Abu Dhabi last year that cost the Spaniard the 2010 title.

According to News Limited press reports in Australia, Dyer could now return to his native country to take up a leading role with the V8 Supercar team Holden Racing Team.

He worked in Australia's premier touring car series with Tom Walkinshaw-owned Holden in the mid nineties, earning promotion to F1 in 1997 with Walkinshaw's Arrows team.

The latest reports said Dyer is in the frame to replace Holden Racing Team's departed team manager Rob Crawford.

"The ... role is a world-wide search," confirmed Walkinshaw Racing's commercial manager Bruce Stewart.

"I can't comment on who but I can say they are looking at an extremely high calibre person for that role."

(GMM)

 

US GP could push for later 2012 date - official

An American FIA official has questioned the scheduled date for the inaugural US grand prix in Austin.

The World Motor Sport Council announced after its Barcelona meeting last week that the Circuit of the Americas, under construction in the Texan capital, will host its first formula one race in 2012 in mid June.

For logistical reasons, the event is paired on consecutive weekends with F1's only other North American venue in Canada.

But the local American Statesman newspaper has pointed out that in 2009, for example, the temperature in Austin on 17 June was a sweltering 100 degrees (38C).

"This is the proposed date. The date won't be final until the September or December meeting," American Nick Craw, president of the FIA senate, said.

"A Fall (Autumn) date is, therefore, possible, which would possibly offer cooler weather," he added.

Craw said the later race date would have to be proposed by US GP promoter Tavo Hellmund as well as Bernie Ecclestone.

The Circuit of the Americas said in a statement that excavation work continues at the site, with construction "on schedule".

(GMM)

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