By Andrew White
EXCLUSIVE: More spectators than 2009 expected but still short of capacity crowd.
The boss of Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) has admitted that he does not expect the venue to be filled to capacity for the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14.
However, acting CEO Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said he was confident that all corporate lounges would be filled for the event, the first race of the 2010 Formula One season.
“We have a total capacity of 34,000 but I would expect the number to go to 32,000,” Shaikh Salman told Arabian Business in an interview.
The expected attendance would still be a marked improvement on last year’s number. Shaikh Salman said that in 2009, attendance dropped to around 28,000, from a capacity 34,000 the year before.
He also said he expected all corporate lounges at BIC would be filled for the Grand Prix.
Last year, in the wake of the financial crisis, corporate hospitality was hit hard and lounges were left unsold.
“We’re very optimistic, and 20 of the 34 lounges are reserved so far,” Shaikh Salman said. “2009 was a low season for us, but I see no reason why we should not sell out this year.”
The biggest problem with holding the F1 race in Bahrain, is that there are not enough hotel rooms to cater for the event. Each year I try to attend and can get tickets with no problem whatsoever, but just can't get a hotel room for love nor money. I would like to attend for the whole three days, but the hotels are jsut booked and mainly with F1 team entourage. How crazy is that? At least we can go to Abu Dhabi.
It exists other options than just stying in hotel in Bahrain. With a large offerings of fully furnished appartments, it is easy to cater for the event and bahrainis are the most welcoming people in the Gulf!