Sunday 28 February 2021

A special Grand Prix arch installed at the entrance of Juffair

Bahrain F1 line-up ‘not hit by budget cuts’

MANAMA, April 9, 2015

Spending for this year's Bahrain Grand Prix has been scaled back by almost 30 per cent, it has been revealed.

Costs are down year-on-year because of last year's 10th anniversary extravaganza, Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa told the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication, in an exclusive interview.

However, the entertainment this year promises to be no less show-stopping - especially with the new "Race Fever" promotion in the run-up to the main event, featuring the Red Bull Motocross X Fighters at Amwaj Islands last weekend and British boyband The Vamps this Saturday at the BIC.

"Race Fever is something new for us," said Shaikh Salman.

"It's a promotional activity to get early ticket sales, collaborating with Red Bull and other partners."

The concept of a pre-race entertainment schedule was developed to combat the tendency of people in Bahrain to buy tickets at the last minute, the official explained.

"We're trying to build a culture of people buying tickets earlier," he said.

"Bahrain is a last minute market - a lot of people buy tickets in the four days before the Formula One.

"The numbers just shoot up in the last week, it's crazy over the last four or five days.

"We have people buying tickets during the race weekend.

"But this year we held events earlier which people could only get into with their race tickets, so people bought tickets early."

This year's raffle has also "raised the stakes", Shaikh Salman said, with a Jaguar F-type Coupe instead of a Mini Cooper as the grand prize.

"I'm interested in seeing what the team can do next year with the same budget," he said.

"The budget this year is 27 per cent lower than last year, but you have to understand that last year was the 10th anniversary, so there was more to do."

The biggest lesson learnt from last year's night race - the first the track had hosted - was the need for more off-track activities, Shaikh Salman said.

"People are off school and off work, so we need more for the children to do," he said.

"Hence the Snow Village this year - if we pull that off, we'll struggle to top it next year.

"We're concentrating on elements that pull in the children, such as The Vamps, the entertainment, the X Fighters.

"Everything we do is about 60 to 70 per cent for them.

"But at the same time, we want parents to come and have fun with their children.

"The Vamps are an up-and-coming band that we knew young girls would love and would nag parents for tickets - that's exactly what we want."

Shaikh Salman added that glow-in-the-dark bracelets would be handed out this year, to "increase audience interaction", while an eight-metre water fountain was also planned.

"We had fountains last year, but I didn't see them," he said.

"I knew they were there, but they should be visible.

"So this year, instead of a one-metre-high fountain, it's going to be eight metres high.

"That's really going to get your attention." - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | Budget | cost | cut | grand | Prix | line-up |

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