Ecclestone denied postponement request

Updated: March 25, 2004, 1:15 PM ET
Reuters

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.