Former FIA president Max Mosley does not believe there is “the slightest chance” the rearranged Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead this year.
Embarrassingly for current FIA president Jean Todt, the Frenchman has been reminded by Mosley that he needs the unanimous agreement of the teams for changes voted in on Friday to take effect.
The 26-man World Motor Sport Council voted for the race in Bahrain to be reinstated on the calendar on October 30, with the inaugural Indian Grand Prix scheduled for that date moved to early December.
However, article 66 of the FIA’s International Sporting Code states no amendments shall be made “unless unanimous agreement is given by all competitors already entered”.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Mosley said: “I don’t think there’s the slightest chance the grand prix will actually happen.
“Apart from anything else you cannot change the calendar, in the way it has been proposed, without the unanimous agreement of the teams.
“The council organises the event, but if there is going to be a change, for example moving the Indian event, there has to be unanimous agreement. It’s absolutely part of the rules.
“So until written agreement of the teams is forthcoming, you can’t actually change the date. It can’t be done.”
The teams are known to be furious with the proposals, in particular as they made it abundantly clear to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in Monaco 12 days ago that the season ending in December was “totally unacceptable”.
In the wake of the furore that has unfolded in recent days in the wake of the WMSC decision, Ecclestone is now considering a rethink and a new vote.
“The way things are at the moment, we have no idea what is going to happen,” Ecclestone told The Times.
“Better we move Bahrain to the end of the season and, if things are safe and well, then that is fine, we can go. If they are not, then we don’t go and there are no problems.
“We listened to that report from the FIA and that was saying there were no problems at all in Bahrain. But that is not what I am hearing and I think we can see that we need to be careful.
“The issue is whether it is safe and good to have a race. We can change this October 30 date by having a vote by fax if necessary. It can be done, and fast.”
The WMSC acted on the basis of a report received by one of Todt’s vice-presidents, Carlos Gracia, who was received by a number of prominent Bahrainis at a time when a curfew was still in force.
“The problem there was that they sent someone to look at Bahrain who speaks no English, and as far as I know speaks no Arabic,” added Mosley.
“He was taken around by representatives of the government, of course had no knowledge of what was really going on, and above all obviously didn’t ask to see the sort of people a human rights lawyer, or somebody of that kind, would have asked to see.”
Mosley believes the rulers of Bahrain would use the grand prix “to further its aims”, and “to try and give the impression that all is well in the country, when it’s very far from the truth”.
Mosley added: “So it almost becomes an instrument of the regime in oppressing the people who are being badly treated. That’s when I think it goes beyond what you can accept as a sporting body.”
In response, Sheikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa, head of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, insisted the situation in the Gulf kingdom is stable.
He added: “We’ve been through a difficult period, and the objective of hosting the grand prix is to unite the people of Bahrain. There is a commitment to resolve all issues in an open and transparent way.”