Bahrain set for the big race
Manama, June 4, 2011
Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) officials were in an exuberant mood following the reinstatement of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix into the 2011 Formula One World Championship calendar.
Speaking at a Press conference held at the Sakhir race track on Friday, BIC chairman Zayed Rashed Al Zayani and chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa expressed their delight in the race's return following months of uncertainty and proudly kick started a new 150-day countdown to a highly anticipated F1 event, rescheduled to put Bahrain back in racing business from October 28 to 30.
"To have the Grand Prix back is very positive news for us; we are extremely happy to have the race," Shaikh Salman said.
"It is a great opportunity to showcase the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Grand Prix has always been a source of national pride, and it has always been an event that transcends politics.
"Every year, we try our best to go beyond an experience of a lifetime, and as an end-result, we want to create memories to cherish.
"The support we have received from all areas for reinstating the race shows that such memories are important, and that there are people who will speak up to keep them.
"We are very thankful that the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has voted in favour of us hosting the Grand Prix. We at BIC were always ready for it, and now we can't wait to get back to the meetings and the rush, because we've been waiting for this day for so long."
Shaikh Salman praised the Bahrain Motor Federation and its president Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa for their role in getting the Grand Prix reinstated.
"A lot of the credit goes to BMF and Shaikh Abdulla, who have worked tremendously with the FIA in giving them the confidence to have our race back.
"We had a meeting with them at the venue, and we showed them that we are ready here. Our marshalls are among the best in the world, so for us, it has never been a question of 'Will we be ready?', and they knew that."
Meanwhile, Al Zayani revealed that the Bahrain Grand Prix has been tentatively approved as the season's opening race for the 2012 season.
He added that there will also be pre-season testing held in the kingdom. "It's pretty much a similar schedule to the one we had earlier this year," Al Zayani noted.
Shaikh Salman assured that BIC will have no difficulty in organising two F1 events just five months apart.
"It will absolutely not be difficult," Shaikh Salman declared. "We have a great team at BIC, and I am 100 per cent confident that we can do both races. Most importantly we have this year's race back, so we must focus on that first."
Shaikh Salman said that following the decision to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix, BIC can now work on the programme for the three-day weekend, which they hope to include international and local support series as well as a fantastic line-up of off-the-track entertainment.
Shaikh Salman, however, could not confirm whether the F1 Rocks concerts, which were schedule d to be held alongside the axed Grand Prix in March, would still take place.-TradeArabia News Service