“The overwhelming opinion of everyone who attended the race – spectators, teams, drivers, corporate guests – was that the fifth Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix was a massive success,” said Martin Whitaker chief executive officer, Bahrain International Circuit.
“Another sell out crowd and an action packed weekend both on the track and off it ensured that entertainment was at the forefront of everything the BIC organised. A full house always creates an atmosphere and it was wonderful to see so many thousands of people enjoying the facilities and the race.”
He said that the F1 Village vending area was packed with families and friends participating in the diverse range of entertainment, and of particular interest were the children’s activities, the wide range of food outlets, the Kart Zone, the collection of classic Ferraris and the unique-to-BIC Formula One driver autograph sessions.
“Every one of the 22 Formula One drivers along with test drivers and many other support race drivers such as former Formula One stars Jean Alesi and Johnny Herbert made themselves available to sign autographs and chat with the crowds, as did six times Le Mans 24 Hour winner and Ferrari Formula One driver Jacky Ickx,” said Whitaker.
“We received many, many plaudits from so many people both during and after the weekend – plaudits that underlined the circuit’s position as the “friendly race” in the FIA Formula One World Championship.”
He believed that BIC’s ability to provide a benchmark facility with first class organisation and creativity in areas such as the F1 Village vending area was what gave this circuit an edge over others.
“Sir Frank Williams was one of those who commended the circuit’s facilities and the atmosphere created, while Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone toured the vending area on Saturday afternoon and was full of praise for the ambience and level of entertainment. All the Formula One and support race teams walked through the vending area on their way in and out of the circuit each day and it was noticeable that their comments were in line with those of Bernie Ecclestone and Sir Frank,” Whitaker continued.
“The Bahrain race prides itself on looking after the teams and guests from the minute they arrive in the Kingdom until the minute they leave. Throughout this time everyone works extremely hard to cultivate a unique and friendly atmosphere. Judging by the comments it would appear that we delivered this with success.”
Satisfying the thousands of race fans who travel from across the region and around the world is one of the paramount objectives of any race organiser, and the comments BIC received in response to their surveys indicated that people will be returning to the Grand Prix next year.
It also indicated that others will also be considering other racing events at BIC such as the V8 Supercars in November, based on their experience at Formula One.
“More hotels and greater use of furnished apartments at next year’s race will improve the overall experience for everyone who visits the Kingdom for the race. Our job is to fulfill the demand for more flights, rooms and activities. We are now planning how to make the next race even better and how to immerse even more people and organisations from Bahrain, who can play an important role in generating even greater success for the Kingdom, its global tourism awareness and its economy.”
“An event is only as good as its organising team. I couldn’t hope to work with a better, more vibrant and enthusiastic bunch of people. There were a lot of people who played a major role in the success of the fifth Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. At the end of the day it is this team that delivered the Grand Prix and we would never receive the plaudits that we get if it weren’t for the dedication, creativity and organisational ability of the BIC team,” concluded Whitaker.