Williams and Whitaker speaking at the event
Bahrain businesses host netoworking event at F1
Manama, April 6, 2014
Bahrain's business leaders have been taking advantage of a host of networking opportunities in a pioneering corporate event held at this weekend's Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Business in Formula 1 event, now in its second year, aims to give local companies and their executive management teams a chance to gain access to the international business community that revolves around the F1, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Yesterday (April 5), the second-day of the event in Bahrain International Circuit's (BIC) F1 Paddock Club, featured panel discussions from some key figures in motorsport such as Williams Grand Prix deputy team principal Claire Williams and McLaren Automotive chief executive Mike Flewitt.
Home-grown talent in the form of the founder and managing director of Bahraini sports car manufacturer VMotion, Ala'a Al Shaikh, also spoke.
Meetings are being spearheaded by former BIC chief executive Martin Whitaker, who now runs his own boutique sports and business advisory consultancy and has been working with the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) to ensure the country's business community can reap the rewards that come from being in the world's spotlight.
"The whole idea of this was really to try and start making people realise that yes, it's the Formula One, but it is also an important platform for doing business," he told the GDN.
"We just heard from Claire Williams about the multimillion dollar deals they are doing on an annual, if not monthly, basis - and whether they are actually doing business here or not, these deals are touching Bahrain by the fact that they have the branding displayed on the cars and they are increasing the awareness of their brand in this country."
Whitaker worked alongside F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to get the event started, which he hopes will "form a platform to activate business decisions".
"In this particular location (the F1 Paddock Club) we have a lot of senior executives, chief executives and managers and it is great for them to be in touch with what is going on in the F1 and to use F1 as a tool to do business," he said.
"Bahrain is, in a way, punching way above its weight when compared to the other locations on the race calendar such as China, the US or Japan.
"The next race, for example, is in China which has a population of 1.2 billion whereas 1.2 million people live in Bahrain.
"But it does not matter what the size of population is, or the size of the race track, it's the F1 business economy that matters.
"It's a very powerful tool and every time an F1 calendar comes out Bahrain is on it.
"And of course, there's the economic impact on Bahrain. It's good for retail, it's good for tourism, it's good for business.
"Ecclestone always says the great thing about doing business in Bahrain is that nothing is too much trouble.That's why we do this here. We were the first circuit in the world where an event like this was held. It started here, and I think that is something that we should be pretty proud about.
The Business in F1 event will conclude today, when British racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart and Transportation Minister and EDB acting chief executive Kamal Ahmed are due to speak.
Kuwait's Ambassador and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Shaikh Azzam Al Mubarak Al Sabah said that success of the F1 race in Bahrain reflected the kingdom's landmark strides during His Majesty King Hamad's era. - TradeArabia News Service