In addition to presiding over development of the airport and hotel at Le Castellet in France, Philippe Gurdjian has been the Executive F1 Consultant overseeing the preparation and running of the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix which has been acclaimed as a resounding success. Held on April 4th, 2004 at Sakhir, south of Bahrain's capital Manama, the event was widely praised by the F1 community.
Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the General Organisation for Youth and Sports, and CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit decided on Jaunuary 11, 2004 to appoint Philippe Gurdjian to oversee completion of the circuit construction at Sakhir in time for inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix. Gurdjian first visited the site when he accompanied Bernie Ecclestone to Bahrain on December 21st, 2003.
"When I was appointed, I faced a tight deadline of only ten weeks - 100 days - to complete preparations for the event: finalising the completion of the track and supervising the set-up of the paddock area for the F1 teams, as well as building grandstands to accommodate the public. I assumed general responsibility for the organisation of this year's Bahrain Grand Prix."
"The 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix was the 20th Grand Prix that I have worked on since 1985 (six GPs at Paul Ricard, seven at Magny-Cours, three in Malaysia, nine in Spain and one in Abu Dhabi)."
"We achieved all our objectives working both day and night. The US$150 Million venue was completed on schedule. In a very short period of time we were able to master all the unforeseen parameters of hosting a Formula 1 Grand Prix in the desert. We overcame all obstacles from the unbearable heat in this part of the world, to the teams' concerns to protect their cars from the fine sand and dust parts, and the fear of unexpected sandstorms."
The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is the largest international sporting event to have ever been organised in the Gulf region. 40,000 spectators attended the inaugural Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix and 10,000 VIPs witnessed the compelling action at the breathtaking circuit.
During the 2004 FIA Award Ceremony, Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix received the Special FOM (Formula One Management) award for the Best Organised Grand Prix of 2004. This trophy was awarded to International Bahrain Circuit for the great efforts that the organisers went into to achieve their very first Formula One Grand Prix.
One more time, the world of international motorsport has underlined the qualities, the excellence and the professionalism of Philippe Gurdjian, by presenting to Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, the Special FOM Price for the Best Organisation of a Formula One Grand Prix.
"Within the little time that we had to achieve the construction works of the new Bahrain International Circuit, it was a quite difficult task" said Formula One Executive Consultant Philippe Gurdjian. "We have known how to put the right teams at the right place in order to manage the hard work and fulfil the organisation of this Grand Prix."
"I am very happy to see the Bahrain International Circuit receive the special FOM Price and more even for the Bahrainis themselves, as they deserve it, having been able to respond to strong Formula One very high quality standards." concluded Philippe Gurdjian.
This award is also great for the Frenchman, who has now received this prestigious award for the fifth time: two for his first French Grands Prix at Nevers-Magny-Cours in 1991 and 1992, one for Malaysian Grand Prix in 1999, and one for the Spanish Grand Prix in 2003. It was followed five years later for the inaugural race in Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit.