London: The Bahrain Grand Prix is eventually off the 2011 Formula One (F1) calendar after a series of flip-flops by FI boss Bernie Ecclestone, who now says he was just trying to help a nation that has been very "helpful" to the sport.
The race was called-off Friday after Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) announced its withdrawal to stage the event in the wake of objections from the teams and its drivers. The FIA's World Motor Sport Council last Friday had re-instated the race to October (28-30) but removal of it now is most likely to make way for the staging of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on the same dates.
"We will be back to normal. We have to put it to the World Council. I sent something this morning, so it will be quick," Ecclestone was quoted as saying by a newspaper on Wednesday.
Ecclestone, while defending his earlier decision, said the teams had the right to object to the re-scheduling of the race that was cancelled in March due to anti-government protests.
"The truth of the matter is we put the calendar together and the teams race on the calendar," he said.
"We were trying to help Bahrain, who have been very helpful to Formula One, and hoping they could get themselves sorted out.
"I don't know whether there is peace or not. I have no idea. The FIA sent somebody out to check and they said it was all OK. I think the teams had different information and they have the right to say they don't want to change the calendar."
When asked whether he felt sorry for the fans in Bahrain, he said: "Yeah, I was hoping everything would be fine. I definitely tried to help Bahrain, that's for sure."
The Gulf nation, however, has been awarded the opening race of the 2012 season.
The current season is underway in Montreal which is hosting the Canadian Grand Prix.
First Published: Saturday, June 11, 2011, 15:25