F1: Bahrain retains GP next season, New Jersey in doubt

London: Bahrain's controversial Formula One Grand Prix retained its place on a 2013 calendar published on Friday but New Jersey's inaugural race was in doubt.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said Bahrain, whose race this year was overshadowed by violence between police and anti-government protesters, would be the fourth round of the 20-race championship on 21 April.

Bahrain has hosted several motorsport events since the Grand Prix went to the top of the news agenda last April, with a round of the FIA world endurance championship being held at the Sakhir circuit this weekend.

File pic of the turmoil last year. AP

The Gulf kingdom has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests led by its Shi'ite Muslim majority erupted last year and were put down by the Sunni rulers.

The ruling al-Khalifa family used martial law and help from Gulf neighbours to put down the uprising but unrest has resumed on the island.

The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix was postponed and then cancelled because of the unrest.

New Jersey has been pencilled in for 16 June next year, subject to confirmation.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had raised doubts about New Jersey, a race with the New York city skyline as a backdrop, when he said this week that organisers had not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract that had now lapsed.

Promoters for the race issued a statement on Friday welcoming the date and without mentioning any problems.

Spain, gripped by the eurozone debt crisis, will have only one race instead of two, with a Grand Prix in Barcelona on 12 May. Valencia, which had hosted the European Grand Prix in the port area, has agreed to alternate.

The season will start in Australia on 17 March and end in Brazil on 24 November.

Six pairs of races, all long-haul destinations from Europe, will be on back-to-back weekends.

Reuters