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| 22 February, 2018

Countdown to Bahrain's Formula One race begins

Chance for young racing enthusiasts to mingle with F1 drivers on the track as Grid Kids

Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia drives during the second practice session of the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, south of Manama April 4, 2014. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia drives during the second practice session of the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, south of Manama April 4, 2014. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The countdown to this year’s Formula One race in Bahrain is officially underway.

Attractions at this year’s event were announced by organisers yesterday during the first Press conference ahead of the event, which runs from April 4 to 6.

They include the chance for young racing enthusiasts to mingle with F1 drivers on the track as Grid Kids before the start of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, replacing glamorous grid girls who have been phased out this year.

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Six lucky ticket holders will also get to experience life in the fast lane, by being driven around the circuit by Formula One drivers in McLaren and Aston Martin supercars in a Pirelli Hot Laps event.

There will also be a Track Tours opportunity in which people can drive around Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), the host venue.

“Overall we believe these are hugely important initiatives,” BIC commercial director Sherif Al Mehdi told journalists.

Lucky participants in the Grid Kids initiative will be chosen from children, aged seven to 12, who participate in motorsport activities.

“This is an amazing initiative from Formula One and (F1 governing body) FIA, where together with Bahrain Motor Federation we will be selecting young fans from Bahrain to witness the experience with the drivers on the grid,” said Mr Al Mehdi.

“But the extra surprise will be each of them will have two family members with them.”

Officials are hoping to exceed the success of last year’s race, which saw “record breaking numbers” as 33,000 fans attended on race day, a total of 93,000 visited over the three-day weekend and there was “a complete sellout of the corporate lounges with record sales in the paddock club”.

“We also had a complete sellout of retail stands, Turn 1 and University,” said Mr Al Mehdi.

“This year we’re hoping for more.

“We are confident that this year the programme we have put together will be the best experience for our race fans from Bahrain, the region and international market.”

Efforts to improve on last year include a better experience for spectators, both on and off the track.

However, details of performers featuring at the much-anticipated music concerts that accompany the event have yet not been announced.

“We have been working with the commercial rights holder and other promoters to improve the fans experience in all areas and I am proud to say that this year the 2018 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will witness the start of these initiatives and we will have many experiences that will give fans a better experience,” said Mr Al Mehdi.

“For the off-track news, the musical concert has always been a highlight and I promise you this year it will be even more than ever before.

“We will be announcing very soon big surprises for the concert.”

In the vending area, adrenaline junkies can find activities such as a reverse bungee and a freefall structure.

Meanwhile, children under 12 can enjoy an entertainment tent.

“It will have circus shows, a theatre show, an interactive zone and a playground,” said Mr Al Mehdi. “In the centre we will have an international show called Hakuna Matata.”

Another addition to this year’s vending area will be the introduction of entertainment in the spectator tunnel.

Tickets for the Bahrain Grand Prix are available from the BIC stand at City Centre Bahrain and www.bahraingp.com.

steph@gdn.com.bh

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