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Ecclestone denied postponement request

3/25/2004

LONDON -- Bahrain authorities tried to
drop their April 4 Formula One grand prix because of fears that
the circuit would not be ready in time, Autosport magazine
reported on Thursday.

The British magazine quoted circuit supervisor Philippe
Gurdjian as saying last week that he had asked Bernie Ecclestone
earlier this month to postpone the race for a year but the
Formula One chief refused.

"The race will go ahead but we will not be 100 percent
ready, although the track is finished," said Gurdjian.

"Two weeks ago we thought there was no way we could hold the
race and we decided to cancel it but Bernie said no. So we just
had to get more people in to get the job finished."

The grand prix at the $150 million Sakhir circuit will be
the first in the Middle East and third race of the 18-round
championship.

The circuit was officially opened last week, with a 2003
Williams the first modern Formula One car to lap it.

"The night before there were still people out laying
kerbstones and painting," said Williams technical director
Patrick Head.

"They've done a remarkable job in the time but I should be
careful where you put your hands in case the paint is still
wet."

Bahrain is one of two new circuits in the championship this
year, the other being Shanghai which hosts China's first grand
prix in September.