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. GeeMac said on 26th January 2010, 5:40

    Bajrain GP organisers and the FIA in the meeting that preceeded this change:

    BGPO: “We want to use the endurance layout for next years Grand Prix.”

    FIA: “Sure, that sounds like a great idea. We love it when the tracks are long, slow and safe.”

    BGPO: “But won’t the race be too long if we run the same number of laps on a longer circuit layout?”

    FIA: “Oh yeah, good point. Ok, let’s reduce the number of laps too.”

    Anyone see the irony here, or is it just me?

  2. “In 2005 the fourth corner on the track was eased.”

    It was??!

  3. Bebilou said on 26th January 2010, 8:38

    At least with this new configuration the track will have something different than the Tilke’s classic straight/hairpin combination. The new portion will be medium/slow corners, but it will give the track a personnality.

    Nevertheless, the best option would have been to use the outer track, for faster racing. They seriously should consider that.

  4. Magnificent Geoffrey said on 26th January 2010, 8:51

    Having Bahrain as the curtain-raiser for the season was not a very exciting prospect at all, especially considering how much of a let down the race in ’06 was in terms of spectacle and atmosphere. With this extra section, who knows? It may throw something new and exciting into the mix for the first race of this new 26-car era. It’s making me more hyped about the start of the season at least!

  5. David said on 26th January 2010, 10:09

    Lap time will increase to 1’50”, I think. The new complex appears to be very slow.

  6. GooddayBruce said on 26th January 2010, 13:21

    Wow, loving the outer track. That should provide some overtaking. It reminds me of old Silverstone!

  7. David said on 26th January 2010, 14:15

    Fully agree Bruce. Fully agree.
    It would be a great chance to see some “old style” races, on an old style track.

  8. gpcambell said on 26th January 2010, 15:20

    Love the look of that outer circuit but i think the brakes would last about 4 laps. Also they’d never do it cause it would be too fast.

    But be bang up for putting bahrain into “speedy season” of monza and spa. (ie australia and asia races, bahrain, monza, spa, monaco etc. etc.)

    • Ulfuls said on 27th January 2010, 21:05

      Be tough to do from a weather point of view though. When it’s decent in Bahrain it’s raining and cold in Belgium and Italy, and when it’s (comparatively) decent in Belgium and Italy, people and machinery would be liquefying in Bahrain.

  9. zomtec said on 26th January 2010, 16:27

    old silverstone without the fast corners…

  10. “Tighter and slower” usually means less of a chance to overtake and therefore boring! UUGGHHHH WHYYYY!!! *&^%$”!

  11. Rodrrico said on 1st February 2010, 13:19

    All the modern F1 tracks are mediocre becaose they are slow and have a “start/stop” nature about them. I say use the outer ring of Bahrain to bring back a taste of the old days with great racing tracks not a ‘city’ traffic styled race.

  12. Spud said on 7th March 2010, 22:38

    I watched a V8 Supercar race the othe day on Eurosport.

    It was the race at Abu Dhabi. It was brilliant to watch, then I spotted the number of cars on track…. 29.

    And then I noticed that they were using…… the short course, (the cars turned left before the chicane/hairpin section).

    Then it struck me, why can’t F1 have more cars in a race then the 26??

    Also, looking at the map of Bahrain, the outer ring of the track would make for a great race!! Monza the 2nd! Almost…

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