It seems there won’t be a Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain this year. The most powerful man in Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone, says there can’t be. That contradicts an earlier decision by motor racing’s governing body, the International Automobile Federation or FIA, to go ahead with a 2011 Bahrain race.

Formula One has held races in Bahrain for many years with great success. This year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, though, was cancelled because of the anti-government protests in the country, and the brutal government crackdown on the protesters.

The FIA had reversed course after one of its commissioners visited Bahrain and declared that all was back to normal in Bahrain, and that the country’s king had established a process for national reconciliation.

Therefore, said the FIA, the Grand Prix of Bahrain would be reinstated on the Formula One 2011 calendar, in October. Racing officials had obviously been reassured by the government’s PR line.

“For us, hosting the Grand Prix is a uniting force,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa al-Khalifa, the head of the Bahraini Economic Development Board. “And there’s a commitment to resolve all issues in an open and transparent way. And this is His Majesty’s call for dialogue, where all people come and sit in a civilized way, discuss the problems we’ve had, discuss how to deal with them, and unite and find a peaceful way forward.”

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