The trip to Bahrain happened because I refused to let my racing season of 2013 end at the conclusion of the United States GP in November. I came across a piece of news from a friend that the Bahraini marshals were using an iPad app during the Bahrain GP to send reports to Race Control. I was intrigued because everywhere else you marshal: Canadian GP, British GP and Singapore GP being the biggest enforcers of the no photo/social media rules; Bahrain seemed to embrace technology use and not ban it.
Though the iPads were not used at the Bahrain International Circuit during the six hour World Endurance Championship race, I feel I got a real good overview of how the whole operation works and I really admire the attitudes and commitment the local Bahraini marshals devote to this hobby.
I didn’t know what to expect when I left NYC for my first trip to the Middle East. Of course I heard stories, the news coverage of the unrest, etc. But I had to experience things for myself. The logistics planning as usual was a treat in itself because I put together a rather complex itinerary that required several transfers via Europe and Dubai to save some money. Similarly instead of relying on public transport or begging others for rides, I discovered it was quite cheap to rent a car from the airport. And that gave me the freedom to explore the country which reminded me a lot of Aruba or Singapore due to it’s size. I got lost a few times and was nervous not to end up on the Causeway to Saudi Arabia by accident.
I was very pleased with what I saw at BIC. I got very lucky to land on a team that really welcomed me warmly. The boss at the ASN even organized a visa for me so I didn’t have to enter the country on any questionable terms like we often do when volunteering as tourists. Everything seemed very well organized, planned and most importantly professional. I loved it.