The Bahrain International Circuit is a 5.412 km long motor racing circuit designed by Hermann Tilke in Sakhir, Bahrain, in the sparsely populated southwestern part of the country. It is used by Formula One, as well as GP2, F3, V8 Supercars and various other events. In Formula One, it hosts the Bahrain and Sakhir Grands Prix.
The circuit was modified for 2010, by using the previously-constructed "Endurance Circuit" extension that made the track the second longest on the F1 calendar, at 6.299 km.
This extension was not used after 2010, but due to a violent uprising in the country, the 2011 race was postponed, and placed later in the calendar, before the race organizers ultimately chose to cancel the race.
The tenth running of the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2014 marked the 900th Formula One World Championship Grand Prix. To mark this and the tenth Bahrain GP, the race was run as a twilight race under floodlights. It was won by Lewis Hamilton.
The track runs in a clockwise direction, and has four straights, usually separated by groups of corners. The layout is mostly flat, with some variations of a few meters up or down. Since this is desert, dust and grit are always a concern for both tires and engine intakes, but the facilities are first rate, and this is regarded as one of the popular stops of the calendar.
Grand Prix Circuit
The start/finish line and pits are on a 3⁄4 km straight, with both the grid and timing light closer to the beginning of the straight. This is the first DRS zome of the circuit. T1 is a tight 135° right, followed immediately by T2, a wider 60° left then T3, a flat-out and gentle right kink. A 1⁄2 km straight (and the second DRS zone) leads to T4, another 135° right, but not as tight as T1. This ends at a very gently sweeping left, called T5, but is actually a short straight. T6 and T7 is a quick and sweeping 60° right-left combination, leading into a short straight before T8, a tricky 150° right. It is followed by another shorter straight and T9, a sweeping 45° left. The exit of T9 is only significant because it marks a braking point for T10, a tight 135° left that marks the beginning of the back straight.
This 1⁄2 km straight would seem to be right behind the paddock, but in actuality there is a drag strip and some grandstands between them. The straight is long enough to be the third DRS zone, even though it ends with a wide and increasing radius 135° turn (T11). A very brief straight allows the cars to set up for T12, itself a sweeping right that happens to work out at 90°. Another short straight leads to T13, a decreasing radius 120° right that may be the most difficult on the circuit. Even more important is that it leads onto the fourth straight of 1⁄2 km or greater, but this is the only one not set up for DRS. At the end, there is T14, a sharp right of just over 90°. This is followed by T15, a slight kink to the right that puts the cars on the start/finish straight, but is basically ignored while accelerating.
Pit in is just after T15, and the merge point of the pit exit is just before T1. In this configuration the track is 5.412 km/3.363 miles in length.
For the 2010 race, a longer configuration of the course was tried. Called the "Endurance Circuit", this involved a sharper left just after T4, and after an extra eight turns, it rejoined the Grand Prix Circuit about 100 meters further down, just before T6. The circuit length was increased to 6.299 km/3.914 miles, but the new section was slow, technical, had no room for passing, added nothing to the experience and was not popular. This section has not been used for F1 since.
Due to the delayed start to the 2020 Formula One Season, the Bahrain Grand Prix was postponed and rescheduled on November 29, and it was also announced that the circuit would be hosting as a double header. The second race, labeled as the Sakhir Grand Prix used the outer "oval" layout. This circuit used a short link, cutting from turns 9 to 14 of the endurance circuit. This circuit measured a very short 3.543 km/2.202 miles, with Valtteri Bottas setting a record with his pole time of 53.377 seconds, the shortest pole time in F1 history.
Year by Year winners
|4||Sebastian Vettel||2012, 2013, 2017, 2018|
|Lewis Hamilton||2014, 2015, 2019, 2020|
|3||Fernando Alonso||2005, 2006, 2010|
|2||Felipe Massa||2007, 2008|
|6||Ferrari||2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2017, 2018|
|5||Mercedes||2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020|
|Red Bull||2012, 2013|
|V T E||Bahrain Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Bahrain International Circuit (2004–present)|
|Races||2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • |
|V T E||Sakhir Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Bahrain International Circuit (2020–present)|
|v·d·e||Nominate this page for Featured Article|