Everything you need to know about the 2012 Grand Prix in Bahrain
Time Out Bahrain staff
Bahrain, start your engines. With the slogan UniF1ed – One Nation in Celebration, Bahrain is more than ready to welcome back the big race. we’re fourth on the calendar this year, so by the time the drivers get to us they’ll have settled into the season and have everything to battle for.
After the cancellation of last year’s event, due to the political unrest, the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) and the island’s entertainment industry are really going all out to entice racegoers back to the kingdom and, as we went to press, tickets were selling at record speed with attendance expected to top the all-time-best of 100,000 seen in 2010.
Expect a weekend of awesome parties and wild entertainment and keep Time Out Bahrain on hand for your definitive guide of where to be and when.
Friday April 20 Practice1: 10am-11.30am Practice2: 2pm-3.30pm
Saturday April 21 Practice 3: 11am-noon Qualifying: 2pm
Sunday April 22 Race starts 3pm
Of course, everyone’s here for the F1 but there’s plenty of other motorsport action over the weekend to keep racing enthusiasts entertained.
We’ve got the GP2 Series – a stepping-stone for F1 which has spawned the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Timo Glock so well worth a watch to spot the stars of the future.
There’s also the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup – the world’s fastest and most spectacular one-make cup which will be held at only nine of the 20 F1 events.
And the WGA Supercars Championship Middle East sees the region’s own up-and-coming talents take to the track in a nail-biting event which has garnered support across the GCC.
The big-name acts hadn’t been confirmed as we went to press but rest-assured, on the back of Andrea Bocelli’s appearance for Spring of Culture, we can expect something mega for the island’s biggest social weekend of the year.
During the race days themselves look out for the usual eclectic mix, for which the BIC has become famed. Mostly at the F1 Village, look out for stilt walkers and balloon benders, street dancers and magicians, there’s likely to be a huge variety. Previous years have also seen international buskers and a range of the wonderful and, occasionally, downright weird so make sure you’ve got your camera on hand.
There’ll also be an extreme area if you fancy testing your endurance on an extreme ride – no-one could tell us what this will be but it certainly sounds fun.
And for the first time there’ll be a display of some of McLaren’s greatest F1 cars – a kind of open-air museum that’s sure to appeal to the race buffs.
For the Kids
And, of course, F1’s not just an adults’ event. As well as the F1 Village entertainment there’ll also be three tents designed specifically for kids with a range of entertainment, games and play spaces.
How to get there
Ok getting on a bus in Bahrain is not something we’d recommend every day but this is the one weekend of the year when it really is best.
Yes the BIC does have parking but, unless you’ve got a VIP ticket or are willing to get there at the crack of dawn, you’re going to spend a significant part of the day queueing so the shuttle, which runs every half hour, from 6am to noon (outbound) and from 3pm to 11pm (coming back to town), really is the answer.
You’ll find food of virtually every description at the F1 Village, which has been extended this year, it’s behind the main grandstand and between shuttle drop-off points. Whether you fancy a classic shawarma, burger, curry or pretty much anything else it’s mostly catered for and it’s usually surprisingly good. Make sure you bring change.
Tickets are available at www.bahraingp.com, at the City Centre stand, at a dedicated F1 area at Seef Mall, which has been featuring all manner of entertainment over recent weeks giving a flavour of what’s going to be on offer over the race weekend, and by phone on (17 450 000). Prices range from BD50 (w/end) for the Victory Grandstand to BD180 (w/end) for the main grandstand with lots of other options in between.
What to bring
• In the words of Baz Luhrmann ‘don’t forget the sunscreen’
• Earplugs – racing cars are incredibly loud so make sure to protect your ears, specially if you’re taking little ones along
• Money – for food, drinks, souvenirs etc
• Camera – you can’t go to the F1 and not try and get a pic of the stars…yep that’s Button’s ear there in the corner
• This magazine – to read up on the drivers, decide which after party you’re going to and generally just because you should never be without us.