It’s Bahrain’s biggest event of the year. Check out the 2010 line-up
Memorise this guide or risk looking like an F1 rookie.
If you thought a big weekend in Bahrain was an oxymoron, think again. With hundreds of thousands of fans descending on the Gulf’s smallest country for the weekend of March 12-14, the first grand prix of the year is expected to go off with a loud bang. A schedule that includes some of the year’s wildest parties and a jam-packed weekend of entertainment, this is a weekend worth saving yourself for. So buckle down, rev up and enjoy the ride as we take you through the definitive guide of where to be and when.
The race schedule You might have thought you were coming for the Formula One, but there are three support races over the weekend to keep your eyes glued to the track. Chevrolet Supercars Middle East Championship will see some of the region’s up-coming drivers take to the track in the sixth round of this year’s season. The race will see Bahraini racing prodigy Raed Raffii compete, one of the youngest drivers on the regional racing circuit. Porsche Mobil 1 Supercar Championship will see its opening round take place at the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. GP2 Asia Series will be holding the fourth and final round of its 2009-10 series, with many future stars of the single-seater racing showcasing their talents.
Formula One schedule Friday March 12 Practise 1: 10am-11.30am Practise 2: 2pm-3.30pm
Saturday March 13 Practise 3: 11am-12pm Qualifying: 2pm
Sunday March 14 Race starts at 3pm
What to wear OK, so you are not coming looking like you have stepped out for your morning jog. Bahrain might not be Monaco, but we still have standards and if you ever plan to come back to this archipelago, then reflect before you get decked. To be safe, a jacket for men. For ladies, anything with heels. After all, make a bit of an effort, you might be caught on TV. And with 600 million viewers around the world, it wouldn’t pay to be caught out.
How to get there Yes, the BIC is in the middle of the desert. Yes, being a racetrack it does have parking. But unless you have got a VIP ticket that allows you access to the VIP parking, or are willing to turn up at 7am, then parking during the Grand Prix can be a nightmare. Best way to get there is to hop on a bus (the Grand Prix is practically the only time in Bahrain that you’ll actually see some form of public transport). Between March 12-14, the buses run every half hour between 6am-noon to the circuit, with the journey back between 3pm and 11pm. Buses pick up from Bahrain International Airport, Gulf Hotel, Diplomat Radisson, Regency, Sheraton, Ritz-Carlton, Crowne Plaza, Ramada, Best Western Juffair and Al Khobar Plaza, also in Juffair. The circuit is about 30km from Manama, and is clearly signposted on all major roads. A taxi will set you back anywhere from BD15-25 one way.
Who’s playing Abu Dhabi had Beyonce. Bahrain has a variety of treats, ranging from the rather interesting to the downright odd. The main event is Sean Kingston and Flo Rider on March 13, while the famous Arab singer Hussain Al Jasmi will be crooning at the BIC Concert Area on March 11. Along with a cover band Patrick-Alan Bob; a Bob Marley tribute band; Mysteries of Africa, a rather interesting circus troupe; Lisa, a violinist; DJ Hooch; and the odd-sounding Cash Cows.
Tickets For all three days: Main Grandstand, BD180; The Batelco Grandstand, BD120; Turn 1 Grandstand, BD80; Victoria and University Grandstands, BD45-70. For race day only: Main Grandstand, BD155; The Batelco Grandstand, BD105; Turn 1 Grandstand, BD70; Victoria and University Grandstands, BD45-50. Friday only, roaming ticket: BD65. Children 3-15 50% off, students 16-17, 20% off, senior citizens/special needs 25% off, Gulf Air Frequent flier cardholders 15%off. To buy tickets call 17 450 000 or visit www.bahraingp.com.
What to bring
• Suntan lotion, as well as…
• Ear plugs – F1 cars are loud (about 110dB when passing), so best to protect your lugholes
• Money – for purchasing food, drinks, souvenirs, Ferrari caps etc
• Camera – ‘Yep, that’s Lewis Hamilton’s head… right there… if you squint a bit’
• This magazine (to read up on the drivers, work out which after party you’re going to, and anything you may need later on)
Get yourself a BIC Track Pack at the event, which contains a few of the above – available from designated stands