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A thrilling formula

March 17- March 23, 2021
Gulf Weekly A thrilling formula

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

The countdown has begun to the Bahrain Gulf Air Formula 1 Grand Prix, set to take place between March 26 and 28 at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC).

Off-track entertainment options including a 42-metre-high Ferris wheel with 27 gondolas, a reverse bungee, 40-metre high Konga ride and the classic Wave Swinger are sure to thrill fans at the BIC.

Tickets for the three-day race weekend, priced at BD100 across stands and open to Covid-vaccinated and Covid-recovered individuals, are selling fast, ahead of Bahrain’s first season-opener since 2014.

“We are happy to provide outdoor entertainment in a responsible way,” Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, chief executive at the BIC, told GulfWeekly.

“We are working with the Health Ministry and the National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus to continually evaluate the number of seats we are selling.

“The ministry has not given us a cap on the number of tickets as long as the social distancing guideline of two metres between groups is observed.

“Being able to open up ticket sales to Covid-vaccinated and Covid-recovered individuals is a sign of things starting to get back to normal.”

The BIC has also confirmed that there will be no concerts this year due to the social-distancing guidelines.

This year,there is a single-price ticket, which would gain fans access to three days of racing action. Seats can be booked when tickets are purchased and are set in socially distanced pockets of one to five seats.

Meanwhile, the outdoor attractions will have sanitisation and social distancing protocols in place, in line with health guidelines.

In addition, a dozen vendors will provide food options, with five to six at each end of the vending area.

“There are approximately 12 vendors who have been trained in Covid-19 protocol,” Shaikh Salman added.

“One of the main concerns we noticed last year was social distancing during the queuing and so we added ropes and stickers to ensure appropriate measures are taken.

“Our main lessons from the races hosted in November and December come from how people access the track.

“This year, there will be two tents at each entrance gate, one exclusively for verification of Covid vaccination and recovery, and the other for regular security screening and ticket verification. “We have added an extra gate to ensure that people don’t have to wait for long in line.”

Each of the BIC’s staff and suppliers will be tested for Covid every five days in a separate facility set up in the P8 parking lot.

Meanwhile, each team has a separate test facility behind their building where they will do their testing every five days, according to the BIC.

While spectators will find lots of engaging on-track racing and off-track entertainment options, there will be no opportunity to interact in person with their favourite drivers, due to the extensive Covid-19 protocols.

“We are still in the process of deciding how we will hold autographs sessions,” Laurence Jones, head of marketing and communications at the BIC revealed.

“In addition to autographed items, like last year, we are discussing virtual autograph session opportunities for Bahrain’s fans to interact with some of the drivers. We are hoping to make these meet-and-greet opportunities available to fans who have purchased tickets.”

For more details and to purchase tickets, visit bahraingp.com.

l Want the latest on Bahrain’s pre-season testing? Turn to the back page.

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