Chief executive of Bahrain International Circuit on the Bahrain Grand Prix 2012
Time Out Bahrain staff
How did you get involved with racing, has it been a long-held interest? I have always had an interest in cars and in motorsport, even as a young child growing up. This interest quickly turned into a passion and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been lucky enough to experience competition in all sorts of cars. I’ve appeared as a guest driver in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup. I’ve also competed in one round of the current Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East, done 24-hour endurance races, auto cross, a Lumina CSV race in Doha, competed in a Radical car and also recently took part in the maiden regional championship of Maserati. Simply put, racing is something that I love to do, it’s in my blood.
What do you drive yourself, have you taken your own car or one of the racing vehicles round the track? At the moment I drive a Range Rover, but I’ve also owned a few Porsches and I’ve taken those out on the track.
You’re currently preparing for this year’s race, what’s an average day like at the BIC in the run-up to the big race? This close to the Grand Prix weekend, we have staff working around the clock. Everyone has their own specific tasks – ranging from arranging for the drivers’ arrivals to cleaning the circuit facilities – there’s always something to do.
Many of our staff have to work extended hours to get their work done but that’s how it is at BIC each year. Each and every single employee is fully dedicated to their roles and they exert nothing less than the very best of their efforts.
Moreover, they not only have to go get their work done in preparation for the Grand Prix, but also have to take care of their responsibilities for all of BIC’s other events held throughout the week. These include Open Track Days, BIC Drag and Drift Nights, etc., while everyone also needs to prepare for other major regional events such as the upcoming Speed Weekend.
How are ticket sales going? Tickets are selling fast and I’m pleased to say that they are going at a better rate than at this same period in previous years. We usually sell our most tickets just days prior to the event and, while we expect this trend to continue, all indications are pointing to one of our best years yet.
What can race goers expect at this year’s event, are we going back to the pre-2010 shorter track? Race goers can expect much of the same world-class hospitality and unparalleled entertainment that has been a staple of the Bahrain Grand Prix. In regards to the race track, yes, BIC will be going back to the 5.412-kilometre Grand Prix track that was used in all editions of our race, other than 2010.
Any tips for winner or favourite drivers or teams? Based on what we’ve seen in pre-season testing, it’s too close to call, but I always have a soft spot in my heart for McLaren considering their strong relationship with Bahrain. Predicting a winning driver or team, however, is not something I like to do. I’m more looking forward to watching all the exciting action live.
How do you think the event will influence the local situation, can it be expected to have a unifying effect? I strongly believe that the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix brings out the best in Bahrain and the very best in each and every Bahraini. This is our show and our chance to show the rest of the world what we are all about. As an event which is supported by such a diverse range of Bahrainis, I sincerely hope that it does act as a point of unity, as a focal point of common ground, and an event that everyone in Bahrain can be a part of and celebrate together.
And what does bringing the F1 back to Bahrain say to the rest of the world? That Bahrain can put on a huge international event and we can show them what the Bahrain Grand Prix has always been known for – the warmest of hosts at ‘The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East’.