The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2013 will go ahead as planned and can be a force for good in the country, F1 bosses said.
Their statement came as fans put fun in the fast lane and the sound of racing engines during two 90-minute practice sessions heralded the start of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News reported.
In a joint statement, FŽdŽration Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) president Jean Todt and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, said: "The FIA and Formula One Management wish to jointly confirm their belief that the Bahrain GP should go ahead this weekend, following assurances from the local promoter and the authorities that security, their responsibility, will be guaranteed for all participants."
The statement is the first time Todt has come out openly in support of the race though Ecclestone has frequently voiced his belief that the race should go ahead. The statement also said there is no reason to reconsider Bahrain's place on the calendar.
"Both Todt and Ecclestone are united in expressing their support for the Bahrain GP and the national organiser, and wish that all concerned respect the desire of the teams, drivers and all those involved in the staging of the event to do the best job possible over the weekend," the statement said.
Meanwhile, thousands of fans coming in to see early action enjoyed a pair of 90-minute practice sessions with the teams honing their cars to the rigours of the BIC, even as the track surface temperature peaked at 45 degrees.
A brief shower also failed to dampen their spirits as men, women and children thronged the entertainment and vending areas throughout the day as scores of entertainers from around the globe performed.
Security was tight as officers manned routes leading to the venue.
However, it was largely unobtrusive, with most people getting through quickly at all checkpoints.
Visitors at the BIC's entertainment area said they had no problems on the way though they were briefly stopped at several places.
"I think this is standard procedure at all such events and not confined to Bahrain," said a bank executive. "What is remarkable is that there is considerable ease of access and no tailbacks. Everything is well-organised."
Another visitor, from Qatar, said he found the security to be "not conspicuous".
"We had no problems - yes, we were stopped a few times but were waved through almost immediately. This should be normal for an event of such magnitude."
The highlights of the day were performances by the Bhangra Empire troupe from India and the Calpulli Mexican dancers, who attracted the most applause from those present.
Other prominent entertainers brought the exuberance of their country's traditional dances under the spotlight when they performed on three specially set-up areas behind the main grandstand.
With the talents of its young and energetic members, the Calpulli Mexican dancers' show celebrates Mexico's rich, regional dance traditions and diverse cultural history while India's most popular dance form, the bhangra, is a colourful, lively and energetic dance form that is now popular in places far away from its origins.
An array of talented musicians, dancers and novelty comedy artistes also featured as sideline performers that will continue to offer entertainment at various times throughout the three-day weekend.
These include Scotsman Bagpipe Roy, Mexico's Mariachi Jalisco, the Chinese Lion Dance troupe, France's Circo Rum Ba Ba theatre show and Egypt's Menoufia of Folk Art troupe.
Also in the line-up are Swiss dance troupe Angelo and the Crazy Feet, Portugal's Pauliteiros de Palaoulo dancers, Brazilian Hang drummer Pedro, Japanese Taiko drummers, the Jokers stilt walker crew from the UK and the Talija dancers from Serbia and Russia.
The most attractive area for children, the Jungle Kids Tent, proved to be a hit with colourful entertainers performing. These include South Africa's Marimba Band, England's Jungle Jim, the Jungle Theater Show and the African Maska stilt walkers.-TradeArabia News Service