Formula One fever grips Bahrain
Manama : From the branding of the tallest buildings in the island with Grand Prix advertisements to the launch of perfumes and cosmetics bearing Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher's name, the Formula One buzz is sweeping Bahrain.
Hundreds of billboard signs promoting this weekend's season opener, the Bahrain Grand Prix, to be hosted by the world's only desert circuit, have already popped up along the major highways, in malls and other areas in recent weeks.
The 47-storey Almoayyed Tower in the heart of the Seef district has been totally branded with the advertisements for the March 12 race.
Standing 172-metre tall, the tower branding is said to be the biggest advertisement in the history of the Formula One.
The cars of seven-time champion and winner of the 2004 inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher, and reigning world champion, Renault's Fernando Alonso, are depicted in the advertisement.
The cars are shown from an overhead view, over eight-storeys high apiece, with the catch phrase "It's time to choose sides" underneath them.
The completion of the advertisement coincided with the March 7 launch of Schumacher's perfumes and cosmetics line for the first time in the Gulf by the newly established company Management Directions International (MDI).
MDI is one among a number of new local companies that are trying to capitalise on the growing popularity of the sport in the country.
Company managing partner Essa Sayyar said that his firm decided to begin operations by marketing the 'Schumi' line in an attempt to cash in on his popularity in the Gulf.
MDI's managing partner Mina Lee added that the company had succeeded to an extent as they had managed to sell over 100 perfume bottles, weeks before they had even arrived.