Bahrain ready for launch ceremony

Bahrain Circuit gets a first taste of Formula One at Royal Launch Ceremony The freshly laid tarmac of the Bahrain International Circuit will reverberate to the sound of a Formula One car for the first time tomorrow, March 17th , when the world's...

Bahrain Circuit gets a first taste of Formula One at Royal Launch Ceremony

The freshly laid tarmac of the Bahrain International Circuit will reverberate to the sound of a Formula One car for the first time tomorrow, March 17th , when the world's newest circuit will officially be open. To mark the historic occasion guests at the Launch Ceremony will be the first to witness a modern-day Grand Prix car lapping the 5.411km track at speed.

At the invitation of His Majesty the King, Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Highness the Crown Prince, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa the guests, including members of Parliament, Ministry officials, ambassadorial representatives from the region, luminaries from the world of Formula One and representatives from companies and organisations involved in the construction of the new circuit, will be given a taste of what to expect at the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on April 4th .

Three Grand Prix cars representing the fifty years of the World Championship will be driven at speed on the circuit for the first time. The WilliamsF1 team has supplied two examples from its successful racing stable - the 2003 Williams FW25 and the ubiquitous Saudia-sponsored Williams FW07. The latter car was raced in the 1981 and 1982 seasons by World Champion Alan Jones and Argentine Carlos Reutemann, while current Williams test driver Marc Gene will drive the 2003 car.

However, for many the highlight of the event will be the extremely rare and beautiful 1954 Mercedes Benz 196 Streamliner. The unique racer that represents the marque's early dominance of Grand Prix racing was driven by, among others, five times World Champion, the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and his famous team-mate Alberto Ascari.

The teams had the chance to acclimatise to the track during a brief practice session on Tuesday afternoon, but the celebratory event will be the first time that a Formula One car will have been driven at speed on the recently completed circuit.

With just over two weeks to go before the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, everything is at action stations for the race and the opening event has given the race organisers a valuable opportunity to test the circuit security systems as well as the important race marshals and associated rescue crews.

During the opening ceremony, His Majesty the King will host an Awards Ceremony to honour representatives of the various organisations and individuals involved in the design and construction of the circuit for their efforts in building such a magnificent facility and delivering it on time.

The first Formula One race to be held in the Middle East takes place on April 4th . Hosting the Grand Prix admits the Kingdom into an exclusive club - the FIA Formula One World Championship. The new circuit at Sakhir will then rank alongside such famous circuits as Monte Carlo, Monza and Indianapolis.

-bgp-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Marc Gene , Alberto Ascari , Carlos Reutemann , Alan Jones
Teams Mercedes , Williams