Bahrain to host opening race of 2010 FIA Formula One
7 October 2009
Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain and title sponsor of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix, and Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) have welcomed the news that the Kingdom of Bahrain will host the opening race of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.
The 2010 Gulf Air Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix will take place from 12 to 14 March, the first of 19 races confirmed in the 2010 calendar.
As the first race of the new season, Bahrain will mark the start of not only a new era in F1 racing, with the introduction of new teams and new rules, but also kick-off the sport's 60th Anniversary celebrations. Celebrating jointly with the sport of Formula One will be the race sponsor Gulf Air, which also celebrates its Diamond Jubilee in 2010.
Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer Mr Samer Majali said: "The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has gone from strength to strength since the first race in April 2004. It is testament to its success and organisation that it has been chosen to open the 2010 season. This is a fantastic opportunity for Gulf Air and the entire travel and tourism industry of Bahrain to take advantage of. Motorsport events such as the F1 GP as well as the V8 Desert 400 and GP2 draw thousands of fans from across the Middle East and the international community which brings significant economic benefits to the Kingdom.
"Gulf Air's alliance with this world-class event reinforces our pioneering spirit and more importantly our support of the growth and development of the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are a proud ambassador of Bahrain and take our role in supporting the country's diversification in key areas such as tourism very seriously."
"It is wonderful that we will be celebrating our Diamond Jubilee with the world of Formula One. Certainly the synergies between the worlds of aviation and motorsport are notable, particularly in terms of the development of new technologies to become faster, greener and more efficient.
Looking forward to the next 60 years of Gulf Air and Formula One the synergies continue as we operate in a new age which requires us both to recognise the challenges we face and adapt accordingly. F1 has introduced new rules for next year in a bid to cap budgets such as abolishing refuelling and here at Gulf Air we too are scrutinising every aspect of our business to become a sustainable, successful business in the future. 2010 promises to be an exciting year with much to celebrate and much to look forward to.”
BIC Chief Executive Officer Mr Martin Whitaker said: "It is fantastic that almost six years to the day that His Majesty The King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa was handed the keys of the completed Sakhir Circuit that we will be the first race of the 2010 season, in what will be such an important year for both Formula One and our title sponsor Gulf Air.
"It's a great honour to host the first race and this truly cements our place as the home of motorsport in the Middle East. Bahrain has earned the title "The Friendly Race" and we are looking forward to extending the traditional warm welcome to everyone in 2010. March 14th will witness the start of a new era in Formula One racing and a spectacular 60th anniversary celebration of F1 and our race sponsor Gulf Air.
"Over the last six Gulf Air Bahrain Grands Prix we have seen the race develop a platform for business development as well as a global shop window for the Kingdom. Bahrain is a burgeoning business and tourism destination which is rich in heritage, yet still excited about its future and the opportunities which lie ahead. The country's Economic Development Board along with its holding company, Mumtalakat, and a vibrant retail community make the island Kingdom a great venue for F1 teams and sponsors to create exposure for their business and customers. Accordingly, we are expecting many of the teams and their investors to consider Bahrain and its unique location, travel, communication and timelines as a perfect venue for launching their season."