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

  1. sato113 said on 25th January 2010, 16:26

    i don’t understand how it will create ‘new overtaking opportunities’. (Zayed Alzayani)

    ‘I think a high-speed race around the 3.6km outer track would be fun.’ agreed keith, why don’t they do this!!!???

    • Invoke said on 25th January 2010, 17:09

      Perhaps it’s a safety issue? I too would like to see some nice high speed tracks on the calendar, or even (dare I say it) an oval!

      Just to have something different would be great, all the FIA track specifications need relaxing in my opinion, what I would give for a high speed track (old Monza*), or an ultra-length track or some gradient (nordschleife*).

      I know we can’t actually run these tracks I just felt like a bit of a rant, sorry :)

  2. David said on 25th January 2010, 16:26

    I didn’t like A1 Ring at all…I used to compare it with Osterreichring that was one of my favorite!

    • Robert McKay said on 25th January 2010, 16:52

      It wasn’t a great circuit like a Spa, but in terms of generating good racing and overtaking it worked quite well.

      A bit like Bahrain has been – fairly soulless but the racing is not actually too bad. They are kind of alike in that respect.

      And they were kind of similar overall layouts in terms of track shape, before Bahrain got twistyitis…

      • David said on 25th January 2010, 17:02

        I agree on what you said. I’m not against straight-hairpin tracks (in a sense A1 and Bahrein are straight and tight corners sequences), what I like more is that they are followed by some fast corners sectors and gradients. At A1 there was only two left fast corners, really a few.

  3. Robert said on 25th January 2010, 16:42

    I just feel sorry for the Codemasters f1 2010 developers… They will have to redesign the track on the game!

  4. wasiF1 said on 25th January 2010, 16:55

    If it provides good racing then it’s ok,if not then it’s a disaster.

  5. Charles Carmichael said on 25th January 2010, 16:57

    i think it will be most interesting if they decide to use this configuration:

  6. 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

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

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

  13. 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. ;)

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

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