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After F1 Grand Prix, Bahrain turns to helmet manufacturing

SAKHIR: Host of a Components One Grand Prix, Bahrain is cementing its racing footprint through in the neighborhood production top-notch racing helmets for drivers because the Gulf kingdom clinches a producing spot within the recreation. At a manufacturing facility in Sakhir – a southern wasteland area that has hosted the Bahrain Grand Prix since 2004 — the famend Bell Racing Helmets are displayed within plastic circumstances.

Greater than 45,000 helmets had been produced there closing 12 months, stated Aref Yazbeck, the Bahrain managing director for the Racing Pressure crew which owns the Bell Racing emblem. “This 12 months we’re making plans every other building up in production,” he informed AFP from the Bell Racing headquarters in Bahrain. The manufacturing facility is owned through Racing Pressure SPA, a multinational that focuses on motor recreation protection apparatus. It manages a number of manufacturers together with Bell Racing — which began in the USA in 1954 and is the main provider of helmets for Components One.

All through the 2023 Components One season in Bahrain, 14 out of 20 drivers used Bell Racing Helmets produced on the Sakhir facility, Yazbeck stated. The sprawling complicated used to be arrange in 2015 as a part of an effort through Racing Pressure SPA to centralize manufacturing efforts in a single world hub. The power will enlarge from seven thousand to 12 thousand sq. meters through the top of the 12 months, in step with Yazbeck.

The Bell Racing Helmets were sported through racing champions corresponding to Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Spaniard Carlos Sainz, in addition to different individuals of the Ferrari, McLaren and Alfa Romeo groups. In 2004, Bahrain turned into the primary Arab nation to host a Components One race earlier than the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar adopted go well with. Making an investment closely in sports activities, Gulf states looking to wean their economies clear of oil are frequently accused of looking to ‘recreation wash’ their popularity which is steadily undermined through accusations of human rights violations. However a aggressive tax gadget and exemptions on customized charges for sure imports makes Bahrain “your best choice,” for helmet manufacturing, stated Yazbeck.

House to the USA Military’s 5th Fleet, the tiny kingdom’s ties to Washington additionally spice up its enchantment. “One of the vital primary causes of transferring to Bahrain is the Unfastened Industry Settlement between the USA and Bahrain,” which entered into drive in 2006, stated Yazbeck. “This is essential for us as a result of greater than 55 p.c of our production is sent to the USA.” Throughout the manufacturing unit, staff in gray t-shirts take a look at the helmets for protection. Others polish or paint their external earlier than packing them in cardboard bins for export to greater than 80 international locations international. “It takes 14 days from the day we commence until the day we end to fabricate one helmet,” Yazbeck stated. “It’s a handbook activity… it’s a hand-crafted product, it’s craftsmanship.”

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