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Bahrain’s 60th anniversary of Formula 1™ event ‘Will Never Be Repeated’

Submitted by on March 1, 2010

Manama, 26th February 2010: Behind the scenes preparations are underway to make the forthcoming Formula 1™Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix not only the start of one of the most-anticipated seasons in years, but also to make the official celebrations of the sport’s 60th anniversary an unforgettable event.  A total of 21 landmark championship-winning cars and as many of the 20 surviving world champions possible will gather for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration on March 12-14.

“In terms of the cars themselves, it is safe to say that we will witness something that can never be repeated,” said Bahrain International Circuit acting CEO, Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa.  “It has taken a great deal of negotiation to be entrusted with this display.  The cars are coming from all over the world and the logistical issues of bringing them all to one place at one time again – never mind putting them on the track – will be simply incredible, and I have to thank everyone for their support in making this happen.”

The Formula 1™ Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has become renowned for mouth-watering collections of historic racing machines in the past two years – marking the 60th anniversary of Ferrari in 2008 and displaying the Bernie Ecclestone collection in 2009.  For the diamond anniversary celebration of the FIA Formula 1™ World Championship, the Bahrain International Circuit has created the most ambitious historic racing car collection ever seen – and it will exist for only three days.

The collection of historic Formula 1™ cars will illustrate both the many giant leaps made in racing car design and construction and the most unforgettable sporting contests to have taken place in motor sport history.

The Ferrari 500 F2 in which Alberto Ascari claimed his 1952-53 world championships remains one of the most successful cars of all time.  No driver has beaten Ascari’s unbroken run of nine consecutive Grand Prix wins, and neither have they beaten his record of winning 75% of races entered in a single season.  From the sport’s first decade the remarkable Mercedes-Benz W196 of 1954-55 also makes a rare appearance, with the car in which Juan Manuel Fangio claimed two of his five world championship titles to be demonstrated by 1998-99 world champion Mika Häkkinen on the Bahrain International Circuit.

Many of the cars will be reunited with their championship-winning drivers, starting with the 1960 Cooper-Climax T53 in which three-time champion Sir Jack Brabham won his second title and banished the classic front-engined Grand Prix cars forever.  Other champions attending include John Surtees (1964), Sir Jackie Stewart (1969, 1971, 1973), Emerson Fittipaldi (1972, 1974), Mario Andretti (1978), Jody Scheckter (1979) and Nigel Mansell (1992).

Other champions will be represented by their own illustrious kinsmen, including Juan Fangio II, nephew of the Argentine five-time title winner and a former Indycar star in his own right, who will take the wheel of a Maserati 250F.  The illustrious Hill family have produced the only father and son world champions in the sport’s history, and will be extremely well represented at the celebrations.

Graham Hill’s two title-winning cars – his 1962 BRM P57 ‘stackpipe’ and ground-breaking 1968 Lotus-Ford 49B – will stand alongside his son Damon’s 1996 title-winning Williams-Renault FW18.  Damon will be present and returning to the cockpit, while his son Josh will take a break from his junior racing programme in the UK to demonstrate grandfather Graham’s iconic Lotus.

For the first time in more than a decade, four former champions will line up on the grid in Bahrain to contest the opening round of the current Formula 1™ season.  Defending champion Jenson Button and his 2008 title-winning team mate Lewis Hamilton will make their first appearance together for the McLaren team, 2005-06 champion Fernando Alonso makes his first appearance with Scuderia Ferrari and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher makes his dramatic return to the sport at the wheel of a Mercedes – as the ‘silver arrows’ make their return for the first time since 1955.

“Bahrain has the honour of opening a new era in Formula 1™ history on March 12-14,” Shaikh Salman added.  “A tremendous season is in store with the return of some illustrious names and the debut of new teams.  In only seven years our race is held in high enough esteem to host this landmark 60th anniversary celebration, and how better to celebrate the occasion than with an unrepeatable gathering of the sport’s greatest legends?”

Subject to confirmation, the championship-winning cars present in the 60th anniversary display at the 2010 Formula 1™ Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix on March 12-14 will be:

1950 Ferrari 125 ‘Thinwall’            1951 Ferrari 375                                1952 Ferrari 500 F2
1954 Mercedes-Benz W196            1957 Maserati 250F                          1960 Cooper-Climax T53
1962 BRM P57 ‘stackpipe’              1963 Lotus-Climax 25                       1964 Ferrari 1512
1968 Lotus-Ford 49                          1969 Matra-Ford MS80                    1972 Lotus-Ford 72
1973 Tyrrell-Ford 006                    1976 McLaren-Ford M23                1978 Lotus-Ford 79
1979 Ferrari 312T4                           1982 Williams-Ford FW08              1983 Brabham-BMW BT52
1988 McLaren-Honda MP4/4       1996 Williams-Renault FW18         2007 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-22

Nick Garton

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