On Tuesday this week, Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's David Richards became the first Formula One team principal to visit the site of the Bahrain International Racing Circuit ahead of 2004's inaugural Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Hot on the heels of...
On Tuesday this week, Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's David Richards became the first Formula One team principal to visit the site of the Bahrain International Racing Circuit ahead of 2004's inaugural Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hot on the heels of a successful trip to China last week, David, who was a guest of H.H. the Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain, was given a tour of the innovative US$150 million development, located in Sakhir, in the south of the country. The circuit is due to be operational by early 2004, with the race scheduled for 4 April.
Catering for the needs of both the teams and fans, the circuit will feature grandstand seating for up to 70,000 spectators, a futuristic eight-storey VIP viewing tower, and a state-of-the-art pit complex. Having seen the site close up, David is extremely impressed with the circuit and is sure the race will be a fantastic success.
David commented: "It is well over 25 years since I first came to Bahrain to organise a round of the Middle East Rally Championship and many years since my last visit. So much has changed in the region and to now see a Formula One circuit emerging from the desert sands is an extraordinary sight and a great credit to the foresight of the Bahraini Government and the Crown Prince. There is clearly a lot of work to be done before next April but the layout looks superb and I am sure it is going to prove a very challenging venue for Formula One."
Along with an inspection of the 16-turn, 5.475 km circuit, the B*A*R Team Principal and Crown Prince also managed to spend time discussing the opportunity for commercial tie-ins. With the Formula One World Championship arriving in the Middle East for the first time next year, the potential to explore new commercial prospects is enormous and B.A.R plan to be in the position to exploit opportunities in the region.
B*A*R race driver Jenson Button, who accompanied David to the Shanghai International Circuit, will also be making a trip to Bahrain at the end of next week to visit the construction site of the circuit on which he will be racing in less than six months time.