Bahrain F1 track gets major facelift
Manama, April 9, 2013
Bahrain's Formula One venue has been given its biggest facelift since the track first opened in 2004, a report said.
The Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), which will host the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix from April 19 to 21, is looking as good as new after an extensive winter makeover, according to the report published in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
It is the first time all of the paint on the track and grandstands has been stripped off and new coats applied since the first race nine years ago, said BIC circuit operations director Fayez Ramzi Fayez.
"We've also rebuilt the drag strip and the Viva Karting Track has come up," said Fayez, who has been charged with sprucing up a track that was the toast of Formula One when it opened.
"Since 2004, the BIC has put layer after layer of new high-grip paint on top of the kerb stones and run-off areas to keep it looking fresh and performing the vital job of creating a safe environment for races all year round.
"But in preparation for this year's event, powerful grinders were brought in to deliver some industrial-strength exfoliation and reveal the original concrete for the first time since 2004."
Back in 2004, circuit officials had to practically glue track-side sand in place to stop it blowing onto the asphalt during the first Formula One race.
However, Fayez said that had been rendered unnecessary after the sandy areas were asphalted.
"We have not glued in the sand this time as many believe we do, but yes - we did something like that during the first event in 2004, when we used stabilised sand so it would not fly into the cars," he explained.
"Since then, the entire area has been asphalted so the threat of sand does not exist anymore. However, he added that grass around the circuit could still be given a "paint job" depending on its condition.
"This is actually green-pigmented fertiliser that we use to give the grass a green and fresh look," he revealed. But that is done only when it becomes dry in the extreme heat. This time, however, it seems to be a healthy natural green so we may not have to do that,” he added.
Meanwhile, race marshals will for the first time be using electronic devices to report on-track activity during the forthcoming race.
"The aim is to make full use of the latest technology that we have invested in and eliminate the need to use paper," explained Fayez.
He described the BIC's electronic systems and medical centre as being among the most advanced in the world.
"Our fibre optic cable networks have also been refreshed and spliced - a very big job in scale, but probably not the toughest part," said Fayez.
He described the toughest part of the process as stripping and repainting wind towers located above the canopy on the grandstand.
"Taking those back to bare metal and painting them in the winter winds was a huge task," he said.
A 50-strong team has also been busy nurturing and pruning the desert and oasis landscapes around the track to ensure it is ready in time for the Formula One race.
Meanwhile, track-side branding continues to be updated as the countdown reaches its climax.
3,000 workers on duty
More than 3,000 people will be on duty during the event to ensure the event runs like clockwork, said Fayez.
"In total we have a huge army of people contributing to the running of the Grand Prix as paid staff and volunteers," he said.
"We have 700 cleaners, electricians and technicians; 700 catering and merchandise staff; 800 security staff; 150 medical staff with 40 doctors; and 800 track marshals.
"It is a colossal body of people, but everyone is working together to make this circuit and our race something to be proud of - and it is truly special to be part of that,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service
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