Bahrain F1 organisers eye record crowds

Troubled Grand Prix aims to get back on track despite bloody civil unrest

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Bahrain’s Formula One organisers are hoping record numbers of race fans will attend the event this year, despite continued civil unrest in the kingdom.

The Grand Prix weekend will take place from 19-21 April at the Sakhir circuit, following two years of disruption. In 2011 the race was cancelled after a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests, and in 2012 the event went ahead despite intense international pressure for F1 chiefs to stop it amid safety concerns for teams and personnel.

With two months to go until this year’s race weekend, organisers hope they will receive similar numbers of attendees to their record year, 2010.

Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) CEO, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, said: “BIC hopes to come close to matching its biggest-ever turnout to the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend of 100,000 fans in 2010.”

Nearly 70,000 people attended 2012’s race, and Sheikh Salman added: “We are expecting an even larger turnout this year, with the growing popularity of the sport and the rapidly developing motorsport culture both in Bahrain and the rest of the Middle East.”

The biggest sporting event in the kingdom, BIC has lined up a programme of support races, including a single-seater championship, the GP2 Series, which is regard the chief feeder category to F1.

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Posted by: Ratfink

I believe that the figures were correct. However, there were many people who came for the entertainment and wandered round the vending area as opposed to the grandstands. In Bahrain, you don't get that much entertainment. The vending area seemed much more fun than watching the cars wizz round. If you were in the main grandstand you would only see the cars every minute and a half and would easily lose track of what was going on.

Posted by: procan

That's inaccurate they could not even fill the main Grand stands in 2012. Great race, few fans. The growing popularity is from expats working in the Gulf who are not well like at the best of times until there is a head count . Lets dig out some AB comments from last year for a look see. Western media rarely scanned there camera for crowd shots due to poor attendance lets be honest eh. But it was a good race.

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