Formula 1 Roars into the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain
April 2015 Washington DC
Every spring, Bahrainis experience a lift in spirits as the roar of the Formula One makes its way into the country for the Gulf Air Grand Prix. The 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix marks over a decade of exciting motorsport in the Kingdom. For two consecutive years Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir held the race at night. The theme of this race is “light up your night”, an event that has become one of the region’s biggest sporting and social occasions.
It also should be noted that the F1 provides a great boost to the local economy, affecting everything from hotels, restaurants, retail and the transportation sector while allowing Bahrainis to share their culture with visitors from all over the world. The track supports employment of over 4,000 people — predominantly made up of local workers — and the race itself has an annual local economic impact of almost $300 million. As one of the highest viewed races in the calendar, the number of TV viewers and spectators exposed to Bahrain since 2007 because of F1 is over 3.8 billion; overall tourist numbers have increased by 60 percent since the first F1 race.
Changing the race time to night was an excellent opportunity for the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain in Washington DC to expand the viewership through a Sunday brunch event. The event’s friendly atmosphere at the Embassy together with a great crowd of racing enthusiasts, who began gathering around 10:00 AM to watch the night race live (that started at 11:00 AM EST). With over a hundred guests and staff, this year’s gathering was our best yet due to the enthusiasm of our racing fans. We had guests from F1 Grand Prix Canada and more than 30 individuals who are part of the DC F1 Fan Club. Everyone seemed to enjoy the event, the company and brunch that had a combination of an Arabic Barbecue and an old-fashioned American cookout.
That enthusiasm erupted into cheers and jeers, as the race quickly settled into a shut-out competition between the Ferrari and Mercedes teams. Top spots traded in the blink of an eye as Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg deftly outmaneuvered each other on the turns. When the flag came down, it was Hamilton in first place for Mercedes, Raikkonen in second for Ferrari, with Rosberg for Mercedes clocking in third place.
But most importantly, it allows everyone in Bahrain and the Formula 1 communities to come together in an air of friendly competition and camaraderie.