APRIL 1, 2004
BAHRAIN GP - PREVIEW
RACE DATE: 4 APRIL 2004
There has long been talk of races in the Middle East but the only major event
was in Dubai in December 1981 when British businessman - Martin Hone, who later
organized the Birmingham Superprix - organized a Grand Prixon a makeshift 1.6-mile
track around the Hyatt Regency Hotel. There was talk at the time of the track
being extended but the Dubai GP never happened. The Arab world became more interested
in rallying with the highly-successful Middle Eastern Rally Championship.
In 1995 there was a brief flurry of excitement in the region when it was announced
that there were plans for a race to be held in Qatar. A year later Abu Dhabi
announced that it had similar plans. Neither materialized.
By 1997 there was talk of a race in the war-shattered Lebanese capital Beirut
in an effort to restore the international image which the city had enjoyed in
the 1950s when it was one of the most glamorous spots in the Mediterranean.
In 1999, however, Ecclestone visited both Dubai and Cairo to discuss races with
the local authorities. The Egyptians were keen to discuss a Grand Prix in the
desert, as a means of rebuilding the country's tourist industry which was virtually
destroyed in November 1997 when Islamic extremists massacred 58 international
tourists in Luxor. Dubai was also keen on promoting tourist trade, using tourism
as a means of replacing lost revenue as oil reserves dwindled.
In the end Bahrain beat them all to a race, concluding a deal in 2002 to run
a Grand Prix at an all-new facility in 2004. The construction work was carried
out by a local building contractor and by the Malaysian firm WCT Engineering,
which built the Sepang circuit outside Kuala Lumpur. The new track has been
designed by Hermann Tilke.
TIMETABLE: (In Local Time - GMT+3)
Friday, April 2nd:
Practice Session 1 - 11:00-12:00
Practice Session 2 - 14:00-15:00
Saturday, April 3rd:
Practice Session 3 - 9:00-9:45
Practice Session 4 - 10:15-11:00
Qualifying Session - 14:00-15:00
Sunday, April 4th:
Race - 14:30-16:30
MORE INFORMATION: CIRCUIT