Last night, the win of Lewis Hamilton at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, in Bahrain Grand Prix, was a delight to watch. The first night race here, in the 10th year since Bahrain became the centre-point of motor sport in the Arabian Gulf, turned out to be a huge success.
A big salute to the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, on whose initiative the Bahrain International Circuit took shape and drew the F 1 race to this little island ten years ago. And year and after year it only keeps growing, thanks to his visionary leadership.
The rumble of the motor-cars, the roar of the spectators, the crowd at the F1 Village, the music at the concerts, the colours at the venue are but a few of the many things that once again gave Bahrain its rightful place as one of the best hosts of Grand Prix races in the whole world.
Once again, this little nation presented to the world its capability to give world class performance when it comes to organising a world class event.
A heartening news on the side-lines, from far away, is about the first winner here in 2004, Michael Schumacher, who is slowly regaining consciousness, after being in coma for many days. I was pleased to see a corner at BIC dedicated to him with the words : Our thoughts and prayers are with you Michael.
What amazed me was the smooth manner in which the government, the circuit staff, sporting officials, F1 drivers, volunteers, marshals, journalists, artistes and a host of other people have all worked together, and have been given what they needed, effectively and efficiently.
In the Media Centre which saw nearly 400 international journalists, the welcome change I observed was the positive reporting about the race and the situation in Bahrain , unlike in the past two years.
The mammoth task needed mammoth preparation, and despite attempts by some negative forces to disrupt or prevent the event, it went on to a roaring finish.
I was surprised to learn that some of the world’s top motor sport personalities, television crew, businessmen and journalists were accorded due respect and treatment despite the rush and tension of the event.
The top Indian business tycoon Ratan Tata was here, the world’s top cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, was here.
And a number of others.
Among the economic benefits of the event were increased business to hotels, transportation companies, infrastructure establishments and event management organisations. Added to that there was a pleasing news yesterday that the Bells Racing helmet manufacturing facility will be established in Bahrain next year.
Jean Todt, the President of FIA ( Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) and Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial chief must be both pleased at the way Bahrain organized the event.
A good news that Ecclestone announced here was that the a US- backed team headed by Gene Haas is among two new teams the sport is likely to admit next season of 2015.
In the 2014 season, Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne was the first, Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix at Kuala Lampur was the second, Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir was the third.
And soon, the UBS Chinese Grand Prix will begin in Shanghai, in a few days’ time, as the fourth, in the 19 races of the 2014 season.
So, Bahrain can take a breath of relaxation. But, just a bit. Because, we must once again start preparations for an even better race next year.