Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Isa Hamad Al Khalifa and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone meet before the Bahrain GP.
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone met Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa before the Canadian Grand Prix last weekend to "discuss the feasibility of staging the season-opener as well as a four-day test session on the island kingdom," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. Al-Khalifa said, "We will see. Perhaps it will not be a good idea but I am talking to Bernie about it." F1’s 11 teams "look set to approve a plan" that would see the sport arrive in Bahrain in late February for a week of testing, to be followed by a first grand prix of the season that could be as early as March 2, almost two weeks earlier than the start of this season. The race "will come at a premium price but money is no object for the Bahrainis," who are already paying $40M-a-year for the privilege of staging a grand prix. The Royal family also believes that the kingdom "has surmounted its problems of protests and rioting that blighted the return of the race" to the F1 calendar after the uprisings of the Arab Spring. The teams "want to start testing earlier next year because of the introduction of the new, high-tech 1.6-litre engines with their complex battery packs and electronics" (LONDON TIMES, 6/9