The opening race of the new Formula One campaign in Bahrain has been officially called off due to the civil unrest sweeping the country.

The event had been in doubt for a week after voilent demonstrations broke out in Manama.

The Bahrain International Circuit has confirmed the Gulf kingdom has decided to withdraw from hosting the event that was due to take place from March 11-13.

No decision has been made on a new date for the potential rescheduling of the race.

The crown prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, said: “At the present time the country’s entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain.

“After the events of the past week, our nation’s priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together, reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united.”