Once Again for the Chequered Flag

June 22, 2016
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In only a matter of days, 70,000 spectators will brave the intense Arabian heat and gravitate towards the heart of the Bahraini desert. They will be greeted with copious amounts of food and no shortage of festivities as adults and children enjoy musical performances from global entertainers. The air will be unmistakably humming with anticipation as everyone waits for the night’s main event, the 2016 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

Beneath the stands, there will be a passionate testament to the intricacies of mechanical engineering. A host of men and women gather around each car, adjusting its mechanics by the difference of mere millimeters – a change that potentially contributes to a soaring victory or a crushing defeat. Each member of the team almost lovingly looks at the car with a fervent passion that can only be rivaled by the driver of the car itself.

The grid lights will go out and twenty-two world-class drivers will gear up to race around a track designed to test their speed, endurance, and braking ability. Captivating even the most unenthused Formula One spectator, the atmosphere is electrified as each driver demonstrates a breathtaking tribute to speed and precision.

Bahrain’s long and rich history with the Grand Prix began with the Kingdom joining the Formula One calendar in 2004. Pioneering the way for motor sports in the Middle East, the inaugural race became synonymous with innovation. It was the first race to be held in a desert and it was the first race in the Middle East. Inviting the world into its fold, Bahrain proved it was able to compete on the global stage.

It was in celebrating the Kingdom’s 10th anniversary of hosting Formula One that a night race was proposed. A remarkable way of marking ten fruitful years of the Grand Prix, a night race was held in order to accommodate the needs of the Bahraini people who seemed to prefer the races later. Under the careful guide of then-Circuit Chairman, Zayed Al Zayani, a new lighting system was constructed and the Grand Prix has taken place under the shade of nightfall ever since.

Moving onto the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix, it promises to match the success of its predecessors and more. The Bahrain International Circuit will host the second race of the season in its usual three-day event. Three sessions of practices will be held – two on Friday, 1st of April, and another on Saturday morning, 2nd of April. Qualifying will be held on Saturday afternoon, to determine the start grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday evening, April 3rd, when the victor will be pronounced after 57 laps are completed.

Fans can look forward to the tense rivalry between Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton as the ‘Silver Arrows’ are expected to dominate the proceedings. Three-time winner of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso will also need to fight to retain his title as he has the overall most wins on this circuit. Also expected to provide a challenge to Mercedes’ previous success are Ferrari tandem Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, Force India’s Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr., Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, and Sauber pairing Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

For post-race entertainment, ticket holders can expect to be serenaded by the dulcet tones of legendary Jamaican Ska and Reggae musician Jimmy Cliff. Friday night’s entertainment does not stop there, as the extraordinary DJs Axwell and Ingrosso are the headline act promising to put on a phenomenal show. Former members of the massively successful Swedish House Mafia, Axwell and Ingrosso are amongst some of the best DJs in the world recently closing the 2015 Coachella festival in California.

Saturday night is no less exciting, as twice Grammy-nominated producer Avicii is set to perform after qualifying. The star behind ‘Wake me up’ has released two globally acclaimed albums with some singles reaching number 1 in over 80 countries. Ticketholders can watch these performances free of charge, giving the show a more intimate feel.

The 2016 Grand Prix seems to be taking motorsports in the Middle East to new heights. Twenty-two drivers, eleven teams and one country  – this year promises to be the Bahrain Grand Prix’s most exhilarating year yet.

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