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F1 teams harden stance against Bahrain

MONTREAL, Canada, June 9- Formula One teams, drivers and paddock insiders hardened their positions against the prospect of a reinstated Bahrain Grand Prix on Thursday by making it clear that they have no intention of racing in the Gulf state this year.

Twenty-four hours after F1 commercial ring-master Bernie Ecclestone completed a u-turn by telling the BBC in London that a race in Bahrain this year "was unlikely" team chiefs backed him up saying it was out of the question.

And they, in turn, received further clear support from the drivers when Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello, in his role as chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, spoke against reinstating the race.

Ecclestone on Wednesday had said that the race could not be reinstated without written agreement from the teams, who in turn needed their drivers’ support to go to the troubled kingdom where violent civil unrest led to the original scheduled season-opening race being postponed in March.

It was reinstated controversially for October 30 by a meeting of the International Motoring Federation (FIA)’s world council last Friday.

Former driver Martin Brundle, now the lead commentator for BBC’s F1 coverage, on Thursday said: "I think it’s a grave error to reintroduce the race for a number of reasons.

"They really should have kept it off this year’s calendar. A lot of people would be happy to accept it on the calendar for 2012 provided they have sorted out the problems there."

"The logistics are quite tough for all the teams," Barrichello said. "I think we’re in good hands. The teams have forwarded what they think to the FIA and to Bernie and whatever the outcome is I’ll be happy."

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The chief executive of Barrichello’s Williams team Adam Parr added: "It’s not about whether the race goes ahead, it’s about whether we change the calendar at this stage of the season — and that’s what we’ve written.

"The issue that we’re concerned about is that fans, sponsors, teams, have made logistic arrangements to be in India for a particular weekend, 30 October, and we’ve been presented with a calendar where it’s on 11 December.

"How do you say to people who have booked a two-week holiday in India to take in the Grand Prix, ‘sorry you’ll be in India, but we won’t’?"

"We’ve explained our position … and there’s nothing more to talk about. It’s just too late to change it."

Parr’s explanation supported the views of Mercedes team chief Ross Brawn who said it was asking too much of the teams to extend the season into December.

A final announcment confirming the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix is expected from the FIA this weekend during the Candian Grand Prix which starts on Friday.

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