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:

View Larger Map

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

  1. Younger Hamilton said on 25th January 2010, 17:01

    if the track distance to increased massively it should mean the number of laps in the Grand Prix should be decreaased

  2. sumedh said on 25th January 2010, 17:06

    Easy on braking!!! I was about to say the opposite.

    There was a fairly flat out section after turn 4 before which allowed some sort of cooling. Now even that is lost.

    BTW, any news on what will be the number of laps to be completed now? They should reduce by around 16-20% by my math calculations. Any official word on that?

  3. The sketch at the top of the post actually doesn’t match up completely with the circuit as visible in the satellite images. The graphic seems to indicate that a significant portion of the actual track would be cut after the new turn 8, whereas the endurance circuit on the satellite image merely connects to the GP circuit with another hairpin between what used to be turns 4 and 5 on the GP layout…

    • Invoke said on 25th January 2010, 17:14

      I wouldn’t rely on Google’s satellite imagery to be totally up to date, they could well have altered the track since the photos were taken.

  4. …and I’ve seen that wrong, obviously. Nothing to see here, move along.

  5. It’s stupid. This makes a processional race even more boring and……processional. The only thing Bahrain has going for it is the control tower that looks like a pineapple.

  6. David said on 25th January 2010, 17:39

    Anyway I think it is going to be a difficult track. Lot of corners. Difficult, not spectacular, but difficult.

  7. Rob R. said on 25th January 2010, 17:56

    I hope the drivers make a stink about this and it is changed.

  8. James Brickles said on 25th January 2010, 17:58

    I approve of the fact that it won’t be a predictable Tilke 56/7/8 lap race distance anymore like we’ve become used to. ;)

  9. The track has no real history, so why not? Variety is the spice of life!

  10. John H said on 25th January 2010, 18:46

    Definitely one of Tilke’s better tracks. Let’s wait and see with this one, but if it is to create “new overtaking opportunities,” then I’m not sure it will suceeed.

  11. Icthyes said on 25th January 2010, 18:51

    Looks interesting, we’ll have to see how it pans out, though I think Keith’s suggestion is superb.

    I never thought that much of the original section but it wad a quick way to get to the downhill hairpins. The most boring part of the track is Sector 3, they should have done something with that.

    Bahrain was always just a drive in the desert for me anyway, so I doubt this new layout will disappoint me, and hey, it might turn out alright!

  12. Bowks said on 25th January 2010, 20:34

    I wonder if the drivers will want to take a short-cut via the original route.
    On a more serious note, it may be good that circuits use these alternative routes. Silverstone and Abu Dhabi have options to do this as would Paul Ricard if it were to be used again.

  13. 6 weeks on Friday until 1st Practice, CAN’T WAIT! :-)

    Amazing how quickly the time goes.

  14. Bartholomew said on 25th January 2010, 21:31

    Too many generic curves. They should have less curves but more memorable and distinctive ones.
    Look at Monza : no one says they have too few curves.

  15. Screw all the naysayers… I think this is great news.

    More different, more better. To be able to win the WDC you should have to drive on lots of different types of tracks. The more the better in my mind. I hope to see F1 running on the Ring again in my lifetime. I still think running on the quad oval at Indy would be terrrific.

    Here in the states the Na$crap folks think that Daytona is the “Best racing there is”. Tons of adverts right now on TV. Well, Ok… lets race F1 there! ok… moron left turners… uh… what was your best lap time? LOL…

    Sorry… i cant type because my eyes are tearing up from laughing…

    Ok… I understand the argument about not running these fragile cars on a banked tri-oval. And I am totally behind not doing it for safety reasons although I think it would be one of the most entertaining things ever to put the giant bloated low tech sedans on the same track (catch us if you can, bozos… and Fernando, be extra careful passing JimBob for the 65th time today.).

    Ah, what an impractical dream. But putting more variables into the existing tracks seems like a great idea to me.

    Anyway, (unlike most of Bernie’s stupid ideas) this is a step in the right direction to making F1 better.

  16. Jonesracing82 said on 26th January 2010, 0:59

    so thats 0.8 k longer and 8 extra corners?
    i’d love to know how that will make this track more exciting!

  17. I never liked Bahrain, I’ve found it bland and boring. Now it’s even more tedious. Circuits should be like Spa, not curling around themselves.

  18. Macca said on 26th January 2010, 3:07

    I think this change could be quite good. I’m fairly sure that area of land is very unjulating so that could be good.

    Any changes to track and car designs are always exiting to see in action so I welcom this move.

  19. Stealthman said on 26th January 2010, 5:20

    With this change, the top quarter of Bahrain now looks like the head of a bird with its brains spilling out. :|

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