F1- stunt team axed over cost

High-flying stunt team The Blades have been axed from the Formula One entertainment because of massive financial losses sustained last year, it was revealed yesterday. The team of aerial acrobats was brought to Bahrain from London for a three-month tour of the Gulf ahead of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix last year. Their visit was organized by Magnum Holdings, an affiliate of the Unitag Group, but company chairman Jamil Wafa said a lack of interest from the private sector cost the firm thousands of dinars.

"Their three-month stay in the Gulf cost about BD400,000, which was shared equally by our company and The Blades," he told the GDN. "As we did not get any support from advertisers and sponsors, we suffered a huge loss."

Besides a performance at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), The Blades also demonstrated a series of spectacular flying maneuvers in their specially designed planes at Amwaj Islands and above the waterfront of the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.

"The seven-member team included five pilots and two engineers," he added. "The four planes' charges for hangar and storage, and crew members' accommodation and other expenses cost us a lot. "The daredevil display by one of the world's leading formation aerobatics teams was the first of its kind in Bahrain. We expected genuine support from the business community for such a super entertainment."

Mr. Wafa said his team had sent out hundreds of letters to prospective sponsors and advertisers.

"However, the response was very poor," he added.

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