How time flies!
It seems like just yesterday that Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) was opened. But it is already 10 years!
In 2004, in the first ever F1 race held in the entire GCC and Middle East, here in Bahrain, we saw Michael Schumacher race to victory.
In 2013, last year, it was Sebastian Vettel who thrilled us with a win in Bahrain. And between these two were other motor-sport greats like Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa who won F1 races here.
Year after year, with remarkable organizing efficiency, the Bahrain Grand Prix is firmly establishing itself as a highly significant race in the motor-sport calendar of the world.
It now brings glory to this kingdom, thanks to the original initiative and pioneering efforts of the Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa since the very inception of this project.
It was only after Bahrain’s pioneering foray into motor-sport that other places like Abu Dhabi, in the region, also started building their racing tracks.
Today, Bahrain’s circuit is regarded as one of the best circuits of the world by F1 drivers.
In fact, I find it pertinent to mention here that Hermann Tilke, the German engineer and auto racer, who designed Bahrain’s F1 motor racing circuit, went on to design even more exciting state-of-the-art motor racing circuits like the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE and Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, India.
For all of them, Bahrain International Circuit was a kind of a benchmark that they all wanted to surpass.
This year’s event is considered very special and unique for two main reasons.
Firstly, this year’s three-day extravaganza of motorsport and entertainment marks the 10th anniversary of BIC – A decade of excellence in motor sport organization by Bahrain.
Secondly, this will be the first-ever Formula One night race to be held in the Kingdom of Bahrain. And the race will mark the official worldwide debut of BIC’s all-new, state-of-the-art track lighting system.
The organizers say that the new floodlights will brighten up BIC’s 5.412-km track brilliantly, offering all race-goers and the millions of spectators watching on live TV around the world a visual spectacle like never before seen in Sakhir.
Taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East” in Sakhir, the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will be the ‘third’ of 19 rounds in the 2014 FIA Formula One World.
The second round, Malaysian Grand Prix 2014, was held yesterday, 30 March, and Lewis Hamilton won the event at the Sepang International Circuit of Kuala Lumpur.
The third round, Bahrain Grand Prix to be held here on April 6, and it will be followed by the fourth round, the Chinese Grand Prix on April 20 at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai.
BIC Chairman Zayed Zayani and his team have been working tirelessly to ensure the success of the forthcoming event.
Talking about preparations here, BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa says, “The last two weeks of pre-season testing here at BIC were extremely well received by both the teams and fans, giving us yet another opportunity to do what we do best, in an environment that we love.”
So the F1 week ahead promises great excitement, both in motor-sport and in entertainment.
Some are looking forward to listen to superstar DJ and producer Avicii. And some are looking forward to the legendary rock band, The Scorpions.
Some want to hear the Saudi Arabian pop star Rabeh Saqer. Some want to just see the greatest cricker of all time, Sachin Tendulkar – who will be here as one of the special guests for the event.
But what everyone will have for sure, I think, is a great time. So, let the Bahrain Grand Prix begin!