Bahrain International Circuit - Perfect venue in the middle of nowhere
Bahrain International Circuit, built in 2004 at a cost of $150 million, is one of the most modern racing facilities in the world. This circuit is another brainchild of the famous German architect and track designer Hermann Tilke.
Construction of the circuit was Bahrain’s national objective
In the world of motorsport, Bahrain’s presence and influence are minor, but the Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa who is at the same time an Honorary President of the Bahrain Motorsport Federation, insisted on the construction of the classy circuit, saying that it is one of the national objectives.
With a big budget and support of the Bahrain, Tilke had enough resources to make one of his masterpieces and construction started in December 2002 but, the task wasn’t easy. Its location in the desert caused concern that sand will blow onto the circuit and make the work almost impossible. But, Tilke and his team knew what they were doing and they managed to finish the construction, probably at the last minute.
Battle against the desert
For the construction of the track, Graywacke aggregate imported from England was used, which was already confirmed as an excellent material on other circuits, and was praised by the drivers for giving a lot of grips. The problem with sand was resolved with adhesive spraying in the areas near the track. Although the race organizers made a request to postpone the event as the work on the circuit was not completed, Bahrain International Circuit was ready to host the first Formula 1 World Championship Grand Prix in the Middle East in March 2004.
Ferrari drivers are holding lap record times
Bahrain International Circuit has FIA grade A licence and six different layouts. Best known is Grand Prix circuit, a clockwise running track with a length of 5.412 km and 15 turns. It is considered as a relatively fast track with a couple of fast straights, but also with a couple of tricky and demanding turns.
Driving a Ferrari, Michael Schumacher set the record lap time during 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix – 1:30.252 while the fastest lap on the Endurance circuit, which is 6.299 km long and has 23 turns, drove another Ferrari driver, Fernando Alonso in 2010 – 1:58.287.
Video – Fernando Alonso onboard at Bahrain International Circuit
The Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix is usually held early in the season. It was once called off due to safety reasons. In 2011, the political situation in Bahrain was critical after the uprising as a part of the revolutionary wave of protests in the Middle East and Northern Africa. That was the only year in which Grand Prix of Bahrain wasn’t held. In 2014, for the first time, the race was under the lights as it was scheduled to be a night race which is more appropriate for both drivers and spectators.
Bahrain International Circuit has six layouts
Except Formula 1 Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit hosted or still hosts many other top-class racing events, like FIA World Endurance Championship 6 hours race, FIA GT Cup, Porsche Supercup, V8 Supercars, as well as motorbikes events.
The track has another four layouts –Flat oval, Inner circuit, Outer circuit and Paddock circuit, used for different types of racing events. The capacity of the circuit is 70.000 and visitors can enjoy in various attractive places such as Sakhir Tower which offers a 360 degrees view at the circuit and its attractions and which instantly became one of the Bahrain’s trademarks.
Modern and multi-purpose facility
Bahrain International Circuit, just as many other circuits in the world, has plenty to offer. Paddock club is a multi-purpose building located on Formula 1 pit lane and can be used for various events, like exhibitions or gala dinners. Oasis complex with 12 high-standard suites, each with private balconies, is located in the center of the circuit. Entertainment Plaza which offers various shopping and refreshing possibilities is located behind the main stand, whilst the modern Media center provides everything that is needed for journalists.
In 2007, Bahrain International Circuit was the first Grand Prix to be awarded the FIA Institute Centre of Excellence award for extraordinary conditions of the facilities and a high standard of its maintenance.
Address: Gate 255, Gulf of Bahrain Avenue, Umm Jidar 1062, Sakhir, Bahrain
Phone: +973 1745 000