Bahrain cancels Formula 1 race

British McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton drives at the Sakhir racetrack, 15 April 2007 in Manama, during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix.

BOB MOON: The tiny gulf state of Bahrain today confirmed that it will not host a major international auto race this year. The Formula One race was first cancelled in March -- because of civil unrest related to the Arab Spring.

But last week the race was surprisingly rescheduled for the fall -- only to be cancelled again today, as Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: Last week's decision to reschedule the Grand Prix race was made by the Formula 1 organizers. But the teams taking part in the race rebelled. They said it should not go ahead, citing logistical and insurance issues.

However, says Jonathan Reynolds of Formula 1 Racing Magazine, the heavily-sponsored teams are more likely worried about commercial damage.

JONATHAN REYNOLDS: I think it's just important for any global sport these days with huge numbers of sponsors and corporations attached to like Formula 1 , that you make sure you get your image right. And going to a country like Bahrain is not very good for Formula 1's image.

Bahrain has now accepted the decision to cancel the race but this will be a big financial blow. The event was expected to inject $500 million into the Bahraini economy.

In London I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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