Bahrain on calendar, New Jersey in doubt

LONDON Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:31pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Bahrain's controversial Formula One grand prix retained its place on a 2013 calendar published on Friday but New Jersey's inaugural race was in doubt.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said Bahrain, whose race this year was overshadowed by violence between police and anti-government protesters, would be the fourth round of the 20-race championship on April 21.

Bahrain has hosted several motorsport events since the grand prix went to the top of the news agenda last April, with a round of the FIA world endurance championship being held at the Sakhir circuit this weekend.

The Gulf kingdom has been in turmoil since pro-democracy protests led by its Shi'ite Muslim majority erupted last year and were put down by the Sunni rulers.

The ruling al-Khalifa family used martial law and help from Gulf neighbors to put down the uprising but unrest has resumed on the island.

The 2011 Bahrain grand prix was postponed and then cancelled because of the unrest.

New Jersey has been pencilled in for June 16 next year, subject to confirmation.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had raised doubts about New Jersey, a race with the New York city skyline as a backdrop, when he said this week that organizers had not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract that had now lapsed.

Promoters for the race issued a statement on Friday welcoming the date and without mentioning any problems.

Spain, gripped by the Euro zone debt crisis, will have only one race instead of two, with a grand prix in Barcelona on May 12. Valencia, which had hosted the European Grand Prix in the port area, has agreed to alternate.

The season will start in Australia on March 17 and end in Brazil on November 24.

Six pairs of races, all long-haul destinations from Europe, will be on back-to-back weekends.

Calendar:

March 17 - Australia (Melbourne)

March 24 - Malaysia (Sepang)

April 14 - China (Shanghai)

April 21 - Bahrain

May 12 - Spain (Barcelona)

May 26 - Monaco

June 9 - Canada (Montreal)

June 16 - New Jersey (to be confirmed)

June 30 - Britain (Silverstone)

July 14 - Germany (circuit to be confirmed)

July 28 - Hungary (Budapest)

Aug 25 - Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)

Sept 08 - Italy (Monza)

Sept 22 - Singapore

Oct 6 - South Korea (Yeongam)

Oct 13 - Japan (Suzuka)

Oct 27 - India (Noida)

Nov 3 - Abu Dhabi

Nov 17 - USA (Austin)

Nov 24 - Brazil (Interlagos, Sao Paulo)

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Mark Meadows)

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