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Melbourne to host F1 season opener

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation today confirmed that Melbourne will host the first-round of the 2011 FIA Formula 1™ World Championship season from the 24-27 March.

After widespread speculation that political unrest in Bahrain may cause a cancellation of the first round race scheduled for 13 March, the island nation and Formula One Management have confirmed that Bahrain has officially withdrawn from hosting the opening round of the 2011 F1 season.

Bahrain is the first race to be cancelled since major earthquakes near the Aida circuit in Japan saw the Pacific Grand Prix called off in 1995.

The complex decision has come from Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Halifa, deciding the country needed to focus on immediate issues of national interest.

Formula One Management has supported the decision to focus on healing the divisions in the country. It is not yet clear if the race will be rescheduled later in the season.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Westacott said, “This is clearly an extremely difficult time for the people of Bahrain and we hope that the task of overcoming this challenging situation happens peacefully and quickly.”

“Though we are disappointed for our Grand Prix colleagues in Bahrain, we look forward to stepping up and ensuring that the first-round of the F1 season in Melbourne will be a positive celebration for the sport of F1,” he said. Now, more than ever Melbourne looks forward to taking the lead once more, uniting visitors and motorsport fans both locally and from all over the world to witness this spectacular international sporting event.

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