Bernie Ecclestone Seeks Five-Year Extension On Bahrain F1 Grand Prix
F1 left Bahrain on Monday with CEO Bernie Ecclestone "talking of a five-year extension to the race contract and the possibility of switching it to the start of the season next year," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Ecclestone: "I feel they do a super job and we're more than happy to give them a new contract for five years. I don't see any problems." Bahrain Int'l Circuit Chair Zayed Alzayani added, "We're committed to motorsports, and F1 especially. We were the first race in the Middle East and we call ourselves the home of motorsport in the Middle East." Bahrain has twice before hosted the opening round and officials "have made no secret of their desire to return to the coveted slot." Ecclestone "has been supportive of the idea." Alzayani said of the date change, "It's on the table" (REUTERS, 4/22).
WEATHER WATCHING: The PA's Ian Parkes reported Ecclestone's one concern is Bahrain "hosting a test session shortly before the race, believing it would become processional as teams would be setting up their cars for the event." Despite the need for warm weather ahead of a season, following complaints this year of the rain and cold that blighted running in Jerez and Barcelona, Bahrain is "definitely on the agenda." Alzayani: "That is one of the concerns, and that's his opinion, but I don't think that would happen. With a change of weather the whole set-up can change, so you never know" (PA, 4/22).