The 2021 season is upon us. The drivers list is locked in, teams have unveiled their cars and pre-season testing is done and dusted. It’s time to go racing again and the shuffled calendar sees the season being kicked off in Bahrain for just the third time as the Middle Eastern nations hosts its 17th ever Formula One race. Interestingly, the Bahrain Grand Prix was the first ever Formula One race to be held in the Middle East.
Titled the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, it has been a night race since 2014. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have won this race 4 times each, with Fernando Alonso winning it thrice. Hamilton has won this Grand Prix the last two years and will start as clear favourite again this year. It will be interesting to see if Red Bull and Max Verstappen can replicate their strong showing in pre-season and take the fight to Mercedes.
In order to host this Grand Prix, or any Grand Prix for that matter, it is very important to have a list of core sponsors. Let’s take a look at the list of sponsors who are making the Bahrain Grand Prix possible:
Gulf Air – Gulf Air, the state owned airline company, has been ever-present as a title sponsor since the first evert Grand Prix in 2004. In the 2020 double header, health care workers, first respondents and their families were allowed to attend the race weekend, in what was a unique and challenging experience. Gulf Air’s CEO Captain Waleed Al Alawi had this to say before the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix:
“We are proud to be long title sponsors of the Bahrain Grand Prix. The 2020 Grand Prix is unique with spectators limited to Bahrain’s frontline health workers, first responders and their families. We are proud of our frontline heroes who have been selflessly committed to safeguarding public health, and their efforts continue to be the subject of a deep national appreciation.
This year has been difficult, uncertain and challenging for everyone; however, we will work hard and remain determined to achieve our goals and showcase the best of Gulf Air and the best of Bahrain.”
Agility Fairs & Events – Agility Fairs & Events is an exhibitions, fairs and events logistics company. It helps businesses transport goods into and out of events. They have tied up with the Bahrain Grand Prix to help the teams manage the last mile of transportation logistics for their cars and equipments.
Aluminium Bahrain BSC (Alba) – Aluminium Bahrain BSC leverage the global spotlight on the Bahrain Grand Prix by becoming their sponsors and partners to host the race. Alba have been working with the Bahrain International Circuit for more than 5 years to woo their clients and build new global relations.
Bahrain Telecommunications company BSC (Batelco) – Batelco is the principal telecommunications company of Bahrain. It has partnered up with the Bahrain International Circuit since 2013 to provide telecommunications services to the teams for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Here is Batelco Chairman Shaikh Hamad explaining what they bring to the table for the Bahrain Grand Prix:
“In our role as official telecommunications partner of BIC and as the leading integrated communications provider in the Kingdom, Batelco continues to deliver end-to-end communications solutions for all events at the circuit, including the annual Grand Prix.”
Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) – Bapco, Bahrain’s state owned Petroleum company, was the first company to tie up with the Bahrain Grand Prix. It has been sponsoring the F1 event in the country since 2004 and will continue to do so for the 2021 season opener.
Bahrain’s Economic Development Board – Economic Development Board (EDB), Bahrain, will sponsor the 2021 Grand Prix. It has been an official partner of the F1 event since 2007. In 2013, EDB, in conjunction with Formula One, hosted the first ever “Business in Formula 1” conference to bring together local and global leaders and focus on the importance of identifying new ways to utilise major sporting events such as Formula 1 to strengthen ties with the local and international business community.
This year, the Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to take place from the 26th to the 28th of March. Free Practice (FP)1 & 2 will take place on the 26th, with FP3 & Qualifying scheduled for the 27th with the race staring at 8:30PM on the 28th of March.
PS: All the above sponsors are a part of Mumtalakat, the sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain.