Ecclestone: Qatar GP talks thwarted by Bahrain
LONDON (AP) Bahrain has been blocking Qatar from hosting a Formula One race, according to Bernie Ecclestone.
Bahrain, which first hosted an F1 race in 2004, has to approve other races in the region following an agreement with Ecclestone. The country did agree to allow a second race in the Middle East in Abu Dhabi since 2009.
''When we went to Bahrain I made a deal with the people there,'' Ecclestone said. ''They said to me that as they were going to be something new in the area, would I give them a guarantee I wouldn't stage another race in the Gulf, and I said, `Yes.'''
Ecclestone said it was a ''handshake deal'' with Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. While Bahrain approved Abu Dhabi's place on the F1 calendar, Ecclestone said a similar deal has not yet been agreed to about Qatar.
''Now this other race has been proposed,'' Ecclestone said, discussing Qatar. ''So I put the people together and said `Can you sort this out between you?' They haven't managed to do it.''
Qatar has a facility in Losail that hosts MotoGP and World Superbikes, while the annual FIA gala was held in Doha last week.