It’s appropriate that Bahrain should celebrate high octane sports given it was here that oil was first discovered in the Gulf.
Just 5km east of the Bahrain International Circuit is the Jabal Ad Dukhan well, which first spurted its black gold in 1931. Also down in this southern part of the island, away from the metropolis of Manama, Bahrain’s boy racers come to offer their own salute to the oil pioneers by red-lining their 911 Turbos. One very nearly careered into me.
Another road of note is the King Fahd Causeway, which links Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. This 25km stretch of road across the Persian Gulf cost $800 million to build, but for a couple of quid it’s a great place to cruise at sunset, which I did one day because I didn’t have anything better to do. I had a cup of Arabian coffee and came back.
On Saturday night the circuit threw its annual paddock party, where members of all teams sit down with a shi-sha and call a ceasefire to normal F1 rivalries. Cheers to the BIC who always do a great job of laying these sorts of things on. And finally they saw sense and provided free internet this year – halle-fuckin-lujah! Monza, China, and other trouble-spots take note.
Sunday night, a lot of people flew out in the early hours of the morning. Red Bull stayed behind to have a private party at the Kempinski. Meanwhile, the official after-party was thrown at trendy Japanese-themed supper club Bushido. I thought £60 entry without a drink was rather high, but it’s being organized by Billionaire, so we know where the money’s going – harbour charges for the Force Blue in Monaco, no doubt.
There were relatively few F1 faces here, just Caterham’s Alexander Rossi and his entourage. Alex was generous with the tequila, but by god it was as rough as a chainsaw on the taste buds. I did learn a new drinking game, though.
The crowd was a standard mix of underdressed men and overdressed, surgically enhanced women. If the Shia protesters want to overthrow the dictatorial establishment and associated capitalist swine then just poison the sushi here. Job done.
The well in which oil was first discovered in the Gulf, near the Bahrain International Circuit
The causeway linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia
The paddock BIC reception party on Saturday night
Fire twirling at the Bushido F1 after-party