Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa said in an exclusive interview with Gulf Daily News (GDN) the $1-billion economic impact of the grand prix was unparalleled.
“The financial benefits of the Formula One are huge – from the buzz that surrounds it to the hotels and restaurants filling up, to the increase in spending,” he was quoted as saying.
“And it’s not just people from outside Bahrain, even Bahrainis themselves spend more during the F1 weekend,” Shaikh Salman added.
In the GDN article, Shaikh Salman estimated that up to 80 percent of those who watched the F1 races were based in Bahrain, and there are spectators from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.
“The capacity of the circuit is about 34,000 and last year we were at about 31,000,” he said.
“This year the sales have been good and we have a couple of thousand more than last year,” he added.
Besides the races, Bahrain also banked on its “Snow Village” as part of the attractions off the track.
“We’ll have an eight-meter slope, people will be able to ski and do jumps and tricks and land safely on an inflatable landing,” Shaikh Salman said.
The other off-track entertainment included a zip line, the Formula One Game Zone simulators, trapeze artists, and a high ropes adventure course.
Shaikh Salman also said about 14,000 personnel were mobilized by the Gulf state to make sure the F1 event would be a success.
Of the 14,000 personnel, 9,000 prepared the BIC for the races while 4,000 were on duty during the race weekend. Also, 2,000 catering staff were mobilized to provide food and drinks for those who watched the race.
“For all of catering, under that set-up, I’d say [we have]about 2,000 working when you include the Gulf Air tent, the cooks, waiters, set-up and logistics,” Shaikh Salman said.
Bahrain is hosting a FIA Formula One World Championship race for the 11th time.