Deadline extension for Bahrain? UPDATE
This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today. The FIA is sticking to its May 1 deadline for the possible rescheduling of Bahrain's 2011 grand prix.
|Ecclestone has not told the FIA to grant Bahrain an extension yet|
With the date fast approaching amid reported continuing problems inside the island Kingdom, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday indicated he is now willing to wait for Bahrain until "early June".
"We need to wait a little bit to see exactly how progress is made," he is quoted as saying by the Mirror.
Daily Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary said Ecclestone's new position caught the FIA "off guard".
"As far as we are concerned a decision is still due on Sunday," said a spokesman for F1's governing body.
"Because it's a weekend it may be Monday morning that we announce the decision, but we haven't spoken to Mr. Ecclestone about any delay," he added.
Especially as Ecclestone indicated on Thursday that there have been discussions with Jean Todt, the comments are an indication the 80-year-old remains at loggerheads with the FIA president.
The FIA spokesman concluded: "The decision will be a joint one between the FIA, Formula One Management (Ecclestone) and the Bahrain authorities."
04/28/11 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday sounded willing to extend Bahrain's deadline for the rescheduling of its 2011 grand prix.
Due to the civil unrest in the island Kingdom, the season opener at Sakhir was postponed, with the FIA giving organizers until May 1 to propose a new date this year or be content to wait until 2012.
Three days before the May 1 deadline, F1 chief executive Ecclestone told Reuters: "We need to wait a little bit to see exactly how progress is made.
"I suppose we'd be safe by early June or something like that," he said, admitting that "bye-bye Bahrain" was also a possibility and that he is discussing the situation with FIA president Jean Todt.
As for Rupert Murdoch's reported interest in buying F1, Ecclestone said the chances are "close to zero" and insisted he is "100 per cent" committed to keeping the sport on free-to-air television.