500m viewers to witness Bahrain F1
Manama, April 6, 2014
Televisions around the globe will be tuned in to Bahrain today with more than 500 million viewers expected to witness the 10th anniversary of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
His Majesty King Hamad visited the Bahrain International Circuit and was briefed on the preparations by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
His Majesty also attended the qualifying session where Mercedes locked out the front row as Nico Rosberg claimed pole position, qualifying ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Thousands of people flocked to the circuit to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the entertainment on and off the track.
Other action on the track came in the form of the first races from the GP2 feeder series and Porsche GT3 Cup Middle East, with the second races due to take place today (April 6).
Away from the circuit, crowds flocked to the F1 village area to soak up the atmosphere provided by roaming entertainers the Spark! LED Drummers, whose costumes lit up when the sun set, and Portuguese pipe ensemble Cornalusa, who thrilled onlookers with their uptempo folk-inspired music.
However, the main draw was undoubtedly on the main stage where headline performances by German rock legends The Scorpions and international DJ and producer Afrojack thrilled visitors once the engines had fallen silent.
British teacher Jan Williams has lived in Bahrain for two years and has visited the F1 twice during her time here.
"We always wanted to go the British Grand Prix at Silverstone but it was far too expensive. Besides it's a real family event here in Bahrain, it's a great day out for the children," she said.
"For us, it's as much about the music as the racing. We were disappointed that Avicii couldn't come, but we are looking forward to the other headline acts."
It was good to see a high level of security at the venue, Williams said, adding that she felt secure bringing her children to the track.
Pakistani Wajid Khan had also brought his family along to the race, and was waiting eagerly at the Mercedes stand for a chance to see his son's hero German driver Nico Rosberg.
"This is our third year and we like to come because of all the activities here, the different stalls and the atmosphere in the stands," he said.
"Last year the security was a bit tight and we were facing quite a lot of queues coming here, but this time we came early in the day and there were no problems."
Swiss visitor Roland Fink is an F1 veteran, having been to the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim 33 times.
This was his first time in Bahrain, however, and he told the GDN he was impressed by both the country and the reasonable hotel prices compared to Europe.
"I think it's good, there are a lot of security people outside, but that's good - I feel secure," he said.
"The hotel prices are okay, because a lot of places in Europe are much higher during Formula One and I think it's not really that high here, it seems reasonable to me."
Porsche GT3 fan Talal Al Sabti had travelled from Kuwait for the race weekend and although he had no problems getting to the BIC, he was disappointed that the level of security meant he could not meet the drivers.
"I have been to see the Porsche GT3 many times, and every time I came for the Porsche before I visited the drivers and saw the cars," he said.
"But now the security won't let you in. This is the first time this has happened for me, but I think this maybe because of the Formula One, the security is tighter for this."
The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is due to get underway today at 6pm. - TradeArabia News Service