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Bahrain to capitalise on February test sessions 18 Jan 2007

Honda's Jenson Button signs autographs as part of the Yalla Bahrain festivities. © BIC/KHP Consulting (L to R): Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota; Mike Gascoyne (GBR) Toyota Technical Director and Ricardo Zonta (BRA) Toyota Test Driver by the Bahrain Boat for an autograph session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 9 March 2006 Bahrain Welcome Party Entertainment.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 9 March 2006 The paddock is prepared.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 8 March 2006 The Bahrain Welcome Party table.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 9 March 2006

The Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) announced on Wednesday an unrivalled programme of pre-race events. Commencing almost two months before April’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the celebrations will be held under the banner of 'Yalla Bahrain!' or ‘Let’s go Bahrain!’.

Early festivities, including a Formula One autograph session and an international soccer competition involving the teams and drivers, will coincide with the two official multi-team tests at the circuit in February. By holding celebrations during the sessions, organizers hope to attract some of Formula One racing’s biggest names.

"Bahrain offers the ideal venue for pre-season testing, and we are looking forward to welcoming the teams, the fans and the attendant media back for some valuable time here on the track and among the community," said Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, director of governmental affairs at the BIC.

"Looking ahead to this year's ‘Yalla Bahrain!’ events, we will again see Formula One's star names going out to meet the public in the capital city, Manama, and furthermore we will be bringing the public and personality of the Gulf deeper into the celebrations. One of the most exciting events we are planning is a five-a-side football tournament for the Formula One teams, the national sides of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and the children here in Bahrain.”

Following the test sessions, the build-up to the race will continue with a series of cultural and community events. An ‘interactive Formula One zone’ will open in the Bahraini capital of Manama on March 15, while a racing car parade and fireworks display will take place on April 6.

The inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004 was named the best-organised race on the calendar by the FIA and since then organizers have garnered more praise with their pre-race promotions. Hoping to out-do themselves this year, they believe the 2007 events will show the country at its very best.

"Building firm foundations of a Middle East motor sport industry has always been at the heart of the long-term planning behind the Bahrain International Circuit,” explained Martin Whitaker, General Manager at the BIC. “The sport draws fans from across the Middle East and the international community. We have a lasting structure in Bahrain to support the sport and for the sport to deliver significant benefits to the community.”

Formula One testing will take place in Bahrain on February 22-24 and February 27-March 1, followed by the Grand Prix on April 13-15.