Bahrain readying for season opener

YALLA BAHRAIN! ALLOWS THE KINGDOM TO SHINE Formula One is on its way. For the first time in the history of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the honour of staging the opening race of the year has fallen to The Kingdom of Bahrain on March...


Formula One is on its way. For the first time in the history of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the honour of staging the opening race of the year has fallen to The Kingdom of Bahrain on March 10-12 2006. Excitement is building towards a festival of friendship, speed, colour and power.

As the expectant eyes of 400 million Formula One fans worldwide turn towards Bahrain, eagerly anticipating the start of the new season, it offers a unique opportunity for the nation to display its own unique blend of passion, energy and creativity on the world stage.

In this light an unrivalled programme of events has been devised in support of the 2006 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, tailored to show the very best of the country's heritage, natural beauty and vibrant community. Quite simply it will be the best of Bahrain. Yalla Bahrain!

Yalla Bahrain! is a cry of encouragement that rings out whenever The Kingdom of Bahrain takes its place on the world's sporting stage. There can, therefore, be no more fitting a title for the dazzling array of events that are planned throughout the month-long build-up to the 2006 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix

Organised by Bahrain International Circuit under the patronage of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, the Yalla Bahrain! programme begins in mid-February, when a number of the teams will arrive at the Bahrain International Circuit for four days of extensive testing.

The hard work will be focused on honing the new cars before their debut, bedding in new technology and getting the drivers - both famous faces and emerging stars - fit and ready for the desert Grand Prix. The Formula One test days also allow Bahrain to nurture the growing sense of anticipation for the race, and to show the world how special the coming event will be.

Event 1: Gala Opening of the Motorsport Art Exhibition
Date: Monday, 13th February 2006
Location: Bahrain National Museum

The Bahrain National Museum showcases all that is great about The Kingdom of Bahrain: its people, culture and heritage. Where better, therefore, to bring together a unique collection of international and Bahraini fine art depicting the energy and spectacle of Formula One racing?

Open to the public until March 13th 2006, the exhibition will feature the acclaimed work of Formula One artists Jill Bradley (portrait), Olivia Davis (abstract), Michel Comte (photography) together with a wealth of Bahraini talent: Abbas Al-Mosawi is one of Bahrain's foremost artists who has exhibited around the world. His unique style will depict scenes from Formula One set against traditional Bahraini backdrops. Ella Prakash is a versatile Manama-born artist who works in pastel, oil paint and watercolour. She has been set the tremendous challenge of creating 10 new works in 10 days leading up to the gala opening.

Schoolchildren attending various art clubs throughout Bahrain will be submitting work along a theme of 'what does the Bahrain Grand Prix mean to me?' These works will be judged by an expert panel and the best will proudly take their place in the exhibition.

The gala opening will take place before an invited audience of over 200 VIPs and international media. Hosted by His Highness the Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the opening ceremony will be performed by nine-time Grand Prix winner Rubens Barrichello as he joins his new team, Honda Racing F1, for testing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Event 2: Jenson Button Autograph Session
Date: Tuesday, 14th February 2006
Location: Seef Mall, Manama

Around the world race fans clamour to catch a glimpse of their heroes in the flesh, shake their hand and maybe take home an autograph. Opportunities to do this anywhere else in the world are exceptionally rare -- but in Bahrain the F1 Frenzy will grant that opportunity to members of the public. Yalla Bahrain! Honda's charismatic driver Jenson Button will appear at the Seef Mall in Manama at an event beginning at 7.30pm: an ideal time for families, shoppers and workers to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Event 3: Manama Carnival
Date: Friday, 24th February 2006
Location: The Corniche, King Faisal Highway, Manama

The action gets underway for Yalla Bahrain! in a spectacular city-centre display, featuring a parade of the Bahrain International Circuit's own cars including single-seat racers, Mini Coopers, Caterhams, Hummers and Holden V8 Supercars. These will be joined by an array of Harley Davidson motorcycles and the Porsche GT3 Cup cars competing in the Porsche Michelin SuperCup race supporting the 2006 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

Overhead meanwhile will be a performance of breathtaking aerobatics by the Red Bull Stunt Planes and, for all those attending this free event, there will be barbeques hosted on the Corniche by some of Manama's top hotels and after dark a musical firework display. This street extravaganza is due to run from 4pm-7pm.

Event 4: Jump Bahrain
Date: Friday, 10th March 2006 - Sunday 12th March 2006
Location: Central Manama

Parkour (or free-running) is one of the latest cultural phenomena, and an expert team will use nothing but their skill and dexterity to cross the landmarks of Bahrain's capital city Manama and the Bahrain International Circuit during the Grand Prix weekend.

The creators of Parkour describe their sport as l'art du déplacement, or the art of uninterrupted forward motion over, under, around and through one's environment. Such movement may come in the form of running, jumping, climbing and other more complicated techniques. Free-runners adapt their body's movement to any given situation so that any obstacle can be overcome without any technical assistance.

Event 5: Bahraini Spectacular
Date: Saturday, 11th March 2006
Location: Central Manama

On Saturday March 11 a spectacular street parade featuring floats, a military band, fire dancers, jugglers and 500 schoolchildren amid a celebration of Bahrain and Formula One in harmony will make its way through central Manama towards a purpose-built stadium beside the Shaikh Salman Bridge.

Here the evening's entertainment will include world-renowned and favourite Arabic musicians in concert and a dazzling multimedia presentation on the history of Bahrain that will culminate in a firework extravaganza to herald the coming race.


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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello