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F1: Bahrain Not Cancelling GP As 2011 Deadline Runs Out Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | May, 02 2011 | 0 Comments

Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix are not ruling out hosting a rescheduled F1 race in 2011, despite the official FIA deadline now running out.

F1's governing body imposed the May 1 deadline for a 2011 race rescheduling and last week said it is still in place. Bernie Ecclestone however indicated the Kingdom may be given a few more weeks to iron out political problems.

The sport's Chief Executive is quoted in a notably vague statement issued by the Sakhir circuit: "While obviously the Kingdom has had to put its national affairs first I have never been in any doubts that restoring the Bahrain Grand Prix has been of paramount importance."

Circuit chairman Zayed Rashid Alzayani said Bahrain's situation is improving.

"The national situation has moved on in a positive manner, the situation is evolving all the time; our day-to-day life is gradually improving under the current State of National Safety," he said.

The FIA was not available to comment on the precise meaning of the Bahrain statement, such as the declaration that the race could be held "in the very near future".

(GMM)

 

EC Would Block Murdoch Takeover: Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday said the European Commission would stand in the way of a sale of F1's commercial rights to media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

The F1 Chief Executive was already lukewarm amid the reports of News Corporation's interest in buying F1 from CVC, and he told the Sunday Independent that he has an agreement to keep the sport on free-to-air television.

Murdoch owns the well-known pay-TV channels BSkyB and Sky Italia, and the subscriber-only Times and News of the World websites.

"I'm sure the European Commission wouldn't let it (the sale of F1 to Murdoch) go through because our agreement with them was to keep F1 on free-to-air television," said Ecclestone.

The 80-year-old Briton also suggested the "FIA or the teams" would be reluctant to support the takeover.

The newspaper also asked Ecclestone about rumours the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala has expressed interest in buying F1.

"CVC hasn't bothered to reply to them," he answered, adding that he would have no problem seeing F1 sold to another private equity firm like CVC.

(GMM)

 

Di Resta, Manager, Admit Mercedes Interest

Paul di Resta and his manager are not dismissing speculation the rookie Scot could be snapped up by Mercedes on the back of an impressive start to his Formula One career in 2011.

Di Resta, the reigning DTM champion for Mercedes, has been hailed as "exceptional" by Norbert Haug and tipped for a move to the Silver Arrows by British commentary legend Murray Walker, after the 25-year-old outqualified his experienced teammate Adrian Sutil in his first three attempts with Force India.

"It is great that people are talking but at the same time I have got to keep progressing," di Resta told the Telegraph.

His manager is Anthony Hamilton, the father of 2008 world champion and last-start Shanghai winner Lewis.

Asked about the Mercedes rumours in particular, he said: "I would like to think there is an interest.

"We've not spoken to anyone but for sure Paul is a Mercedes protege and Norbert has said some very complimentary things about him," added Hamilton.

(GMM)

 

British film writer working on Lauda script

A British film writer is working on a script to immortalise the most famous season in F1 great Niki Lauda's successful career.

The Oscar-nominated Peter Morgan, best known for writing The Queen and Frost/Nixon, is focusing on the 1976 season, when Lauda almost burned to death in a fiery crash but returned six weeks later to battle James Hunt for the title.

The typically-blunt Lauda joked to Vienna radio Oe3 that he is giving some thought to which actor might depict him.

"Anyone who is 25 or 26 with his right ear burnt off and dreams to be made up to look like me can start making plans," he said.

DPA news agency said Morgan, who is being actively supported by 62-year-old Lauda, is seeking a producer and director for the project.

Lauda won 25 grands prix and three world championships and is also famous for his airline businesses.

He is still a regular in the F1 paddock, appearing as a pundit for German television.

(GMM)

 

Turkey Ticket Prices Too High: Webber

Ticket prices for the Turkish grand prix are too high, according to Mark Webber.

The Red Bull driver's comments come amid great uncertainty about the future of the event at Istanbul Park, with organisers saying the race next Sunday will be the last due to Bernie Ecclestone's doubling of the sanctioning fee.

The circuit is popular among the drivers and purists but Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbas said actual attendance has always been low because "Turkish people didn't give the races recognition".

FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh, however, blames a lack of promotion.

"Go around Istanbul and tell me how many billboards or advertisements you see," he told reporters in China two weeks ago.

But Australian Webber thinks the locals simply can't afford tickets.

"Unfortunately I think it's a pretty expensive race for locals to attend, which means the atmosphere is often not what it could be," he said on Thursday.

Ecclestone owns the long-term management lease to the circuit at present and insists he has done his bit by "subsidising" the sanctioning fee since the inaugural race in 2005.

And the Mirror quotes him as suggesting the local government could be in a better mood for the future after next weekend's event.

"When our first agreement was made, they subsidised ticket revenue so everyone was expecting a whole bunch of people to be there and if there wasn't, the government was going to make up for the missing tickets," said the Briton.

"It looks very much like the crowd is going to be much bigger this year, so it means the government's involvement will be considerably less," added Ecclestone.

(GMM)

 
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