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Bahrain circuit raising the standards 22 Dec 2003

Bahrain International Circuit

Bernie Ecclestone has heaped praise on the Bahrain International Circuit after paying his first visit to the new venue.

Ecclestone received a tour of the track and a detailed briefing on preparations for the inaugural Grand Prix of Bahrain as part of a three-day visit to the Kingdom.

"It's super, Bahrain International Circuit will be one of the best in the world," he said. "The standard is so high it's raised the bar so much. I'm very impressed and I'm very happy with it."

When asked what the Bahraini audience can expect of the new race, Ecclestone added: "It will be a great event. If I wasn't directly involved in Formula One myself I'd be buying a ticket before they sell out!"

During his visit Ecclestone also received the Bahrain Medal of the First Degree, one of the highest personal honours that can be bestowed by the Kingdom and one usually reserved for Heads of State and people who perform outstanding services and achievements to the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The Medal is awarded at the sole discretion of His Majesty the King Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. It was presented by the Crown Prince HH Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa during a ceremony at His Highness's office.

Bahrain has already played host to numerous personalities and officials from the world of Formula One racing, including Williams driver Ralf Schumacher, BAR team principal David Richards and driver Jenson Button, former driver Jean Alesi and Charlie Whiting, the FIA's safety delegate, race director and official starter.

Numerous logistics managers from Formula One teams including Ferrari have also visited to assist with their preparations for the flyaway race, which will form the third round of the 2004 season.