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The continuing civil unrest has forced the organizers of the Bahrain Grand Prix to cancel what would've been the 2011 Formula 1 season's opening race.

According to the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), the Kingdom of Bahrain has withdrawn from hosting this year's race "so that the country can focus on its process of national dialogue."

The organizer added that Bahrain's Crown Prince, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, has already informed Formula 1 organizer Bernie Ecclestone of BIC's decision to cancel this year's race.

"Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain's to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain's Formula 1 race to a later date," said Prince Salman.

Ecclestone, meanwhile, understood Bahrain's decision to cancel the race and hoped that the Formula 1 can resume activities on the $150-million circuit.

"It is sad that Bahrain has had to withdraw from the race, we wish the whole nation well as they begin to heal their country," Ecclestone said. "The hospitality and warmth of the people of Bahrain is a hallmark of the race there, as anyone who has been at a Bahrain Grand Prix will testify.  We look forward to being back in Bahrain soon."

The Bahrain Grand Prix was originally scheduled to take place from March 11 to 13. Following the cancellation, the Australian Grand Prix from March 25 to 27 will become the host of the 2011 season's opening round.

Photo from Mercedes-GP.com

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