Bahrain gets longer, slower new layout

The new section after turn four on the Bahrain circuit

The new section after turn four on the Bahrain circuit

Bahrain will feature a new section making it the second-longest track on the F1 calendar when the championship opens at the circuit in March.

The race organisers have decided to use the 6.299km ‘Endurance’ layout for the seventh running of the Bahrain Grand Prix which adds eight corners and 0.8km to the track.

The extra sections of the track have been in place since 2006 but have not yet been used by Formula 1. The circuit owners say the extended version of the track “can play host to a maximum of 120 cars at events such as the 24 Hour Race of Bahrain.”

The extra loops can be seen on the satellite view of the track:


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The tighter, slower section is bound to reduce the average speed around the track.

Bahrian International Circuit chairman Zayed Alzayani said:

The loop was completed in 2006 as part of the built-in evolution of the venue for competitors and fans. We gave it its debut with the inaugural 24 Hour Race of Bahrain that same year where it proved extremely successful, and with the changes to the regulations, the teams and the driver line-ups in Formula One this year it is the perfect time to evolve the circuit with this new challenge and new overtaking opportunities.
Zayed Alzayani

This is the second time the Bahrain International Circuit layout has been changed since it held the first Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004. In 2005 the fourth corner on the track was eased.

The 6.2km track is now the second-longest after Spa (7.004km) and ahead of Suzuka (5.807km). Expect the number of laps in this year’s Grand Prix to fall from 57 to 49 to make up the correct distance.

I’m not convinced a 5.4km F1 track suddenly needs to become almost a kilometre longer just because there’ll be six more cars on the track this year. But I’ll reserve judgement until we see the cars in action.

I wonder if they’ve done this to create a less punishing layout for the cars’ brakes, which as we discussed last week will come in for a lot of punishment this year – and Bahrain was always one of the toughest.

But seeing as many F1 circuits have different configurations, why not use more of them? I think a high-speed race around the 3.6km outer track would be fun.

What do you think of the revised Bahrain Grand Prix circuit?

2010 Bahrain Grand Prix

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75 comments on Bahrain gets longer, slower new layout

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  1. HounslowBusGarage said on 25th January 2010, 15:37

    Maybe it’s just me, but I always found the Bahrein track rather tedious. And I’m not sure that adding in another kilometre of wiggle is going to aleviate that.
    I’m not sure why the track authorities would want to
    decrease the punishment on the cars’ brakes. After all, a few missed apexes and fluffed braking manoevres could turn a boring race into something far more memorable.
    I’m not sure why they have decided this is necessary.

  2. TMFOX said on 25th January 2010, 15:41

    My my.. so many changes. My brain is beginning to hurt!

  3. YeaMon said on 25th January 2010, 15:43

    This is one of the few tilke tracks I enjoy. I don’t understand the reasoning behind lengthening the track, but we’ll wait and see how it turns out. I did like the quick right left after turn 4. It’s been there a while, so the conversion is not hard at all. I hope the testing laps rack up though, to get some rubber down.

    Also just by looking at the layout it would be cool to have the section after turn 4 a flat out straight to turn that corner into a possible passing zone.

  4. Whitty 123 said on 25th January 2010, 15:43

    Will this increase overtaking opportunities? That could be another reason.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th January 2010, 15:51

      I think the track is one of the most overtaking-friendly circuits to begin with, but this new section doesn’t have the same tight corners and long braking zones. Given they’ll have to cut the race distance I’d say this won’t help people overtake more.

      • Bartholomew said on 25th January 2010, 22:33

        I think a high-speed race around the 3.6km outer track would be fun.

        Yes Keith, this is the best option !

        • Harvs said on 25th January 2010, 22:50

          why are we always seeing tracks being made slower! It’s boring. its not improving the show.

          i bet that apart from the first lap of the bahrain gp no one will gain a position in this sector. And on track spectators will see the cars less, making races more boring to watch from the circuit. The FIA want to fix the cars and the team because they are “broken” but its the FIA who need to sort it out!

          Im Disapointed!

          No one will ever build a modern day Monza if the stupid idea of slow twisty circuits continues

  5. Robert McKay said on 25th January 2010, 15:51

    Of course, if you have three or four good, serious overtaking opportunities per lap, then dropping the number of laps is less problematic than if you only have one good chance per lap…

    Still, seems a little odd that it’s such a big extension.

    But I like your point Keith about using alternative configurations more, especially since many of the new Tilkedrome circuits have the opportunity to. There should at least be the possibility with experimenting with layouts to see if you can’t find something better overall for the racing.

  6. Vince said on 25th January 2010, 15:54

    Maybe they need to add more grandstands!?!

  7. I don’t think that this “endurance” layout will make much difference to brake usage. It seems to me that this layout adds an additional breaking zone heading into a (tight?) left-right chicane before a slower right hand turn.

    The second hairpin (turn 8?) will have an equally large breaking zone, and beyong that the circuit is the same

    Matt

    • sato113 said on 25th January 2010, 20:10

      it still will have four major braking zones, but now will have a cooling off period between the 2nd and 3rd one.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th January 2010, 22:13

      Matt’s correct in that the existing big braking zones will remain – but they’ll be used less often during a lap, the brakes will have longer to recover between them, and they’ll be used less over a total race distance. So I suspect it adds up to a significant difference.

  8. CounterStrike said on 25th January 2010, 15:55

    http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/5929/800pxbahraininternation.jpg

    Hope you got my point.

    If not I’ll explain :P

  9. Calum said on 25th January 2010, 15:56

    I like Bahrain, the original dessert track, the new layout is ok -and nobody can complain about character being destroyed because it had nome in the first place!

  10. DanThorn said on 25th January 2010, 15:57

    I don’t see the reasoning. It doesn’t look like there’s anywhere to pass and it spoils a what was an ok S bend.

    • Agree. Bahrain may not be a stunning track but it provides entertaining racing with overtaking which would be even better with more cars. It might work ok and I always prefer to reserve jdugement until I see a track in action but I just think they should leave it alone.

  11. Rob R. said on 25th January 2010, 15:57

    It’s us who are going to be doing the enduring…

  12. CounterStrike said on 25th January 2010, 16:04

    Or they should connect turns 9 & 22 & end the pain quickly!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bahrain_International_Circuit–Endurance_Circuit.svg

  13. David said on 25th January 2010, 16:05

    Well, the modification doesn’t cut any of the numerous overtaking corners…but it jeopardize the fast “S” after corner 4, that was the most technical part of the track….everything to add a section that looks slow and tricky.
    I would have rather modified the slow right hand hairpin after the “S”, to make it a fast and long right hand corner, well integrated with the fast and difficult “S” that stands before, or at least used the Keith suggested large fast configuration.
    I agree on the point of using more configurations on certain tracks.

    • Aussie Racer said on 27th January 2010, 15:41

      David, I was just about to post the same comment.. “jeopardize the fast S after corner 4″ … a brilliant section indeed. Atleast it’s they’re trying something different though. Bahrain’s very under rated IMO.

  14. Ned Flanders said on 25th January 2010, 16:11

    What is the purpose of this change? The circuit was hardly too short as it was. The new loop doesn’t open run past any grandstands or viewing areas, it doesn’t offer any new overtaking opportunities, or interesting corners anything of any interest… it looks very boring.

    They should have gone to the opposite extreme and shortened the track by running on the outer track like Keith suggested

  15. Robert McKay said on 25th January 2010, 16:12

    I still believe the mantra should be fewer corners and more laps. The Endurance circuit just looks horrendously overdesigned.

    Remember A1-Ring? What was that, 8 corners?

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