Bahrain chief looking forward to tenth F1 anniversary

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The chief of Bahrain International Circuit is looking forward to celebrating the circuit’s tenth grand prix and anniversary since its first race in 2004 with the first night race in the kingdom.

Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al-Khalifa was speaking at Autosport International show in the UK about Formula One in Bahrain, and about some of the challenges that the organizers faced in bringing the sport to the region.

“For us in building the circuit it’s easy to start with a blank piece of paper,” he said. “A lot of the historical tracks in Europe were airfields, so it’s easy for us to say it’s a good facility. But we also had an unusual way of designing it and building it. You still have to work hard and solve your problems and make it work.”

For 2014, the Bahrain Grand Prix will be the second night race on the F1 calendar following in the footsteps of Singapore, which first joined the schedule in 2008.

“2014 will be our first night race, so we have 495 lights being put up,” Al-Khalifa said. “It’s quite exciting, one of the biggest projects since we built the track. We’re very excited. Obviously it’s going to be our tenth race and ten years since 2004, and we’re looking forward to having one of the best races ever.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on 6th April.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).