Ecclestone cold on Qatar race
Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the presence of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi on the sport's circuit means Qatar is unlikely to stage a grand prix in the future.
Qatar is ploughing billions of pounds into sporting events and controversially won the right to host the 2022 World Cup, while the energy-rich Gulf state was also recently awarded the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
The country already possesses a motor-sport facility at Losail that hosts MotoGP and World Superbikes, and wouldn't require major redevelopment to stage a Formula 1 race.
Last week, the FIA held its annual gala in Doha, prompting renewed speculation of Ecclestone staging a race at Losail.
But, despite having held talks with Qatari representatives, with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi already on the calendar, they will not allow Qatar to join the party, according to Ecclestone.
Speaking at an end-of-season briefing in London on Thursday, Ecclestone said: "I've a bit of a problem, which nobody knows about really, but I'm sure they soon will.
"When we went to Bahrain, I made a deal with the people there.
"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'.
"It was a typical Ecclestone handshake deal with the Crown Prince.
"But then, Abu Dhabi wanted a race. I explained to them the position I was in, and I said to them, 'You better ask the people in Bahrain. If they're happy, I'm happy, if not, we won't (go)'.
"So they got together and that's what happened. Now this other race has been proposed, so I put the people together and said, 'Can you sort this out between you?'. They haven't managed to do it."
Asked whether Bahrain and Abu Dhabi have a right of veto over Qatar for as long as they stage grands prix, Ecclestone nodded and replied: "Yeah." - AFP.