Which track should Bahrain use in 2011?

The new section of track added little to the Bahrain Grand Prix

The new section of track added little to the Bahrain Grand Prix

If the point of the new course at Bahrain was to give us a greater appreciation of the old track it worked. I didn’t hear many people have a positive word to say about the new layout.

But the organisers claimed the new loop was designed to improve overtaking opportunities – at which it failed miserably.

So what should they do next year? Stick with the new course or go back to the old one? I say neither – they should try some of Bahrain’s other configurations instead.

New Grand Prix Track

New Grand Prix track

New Grand Prix track

Lap length: 6.299km
Laps: 49

I’m at a loss to explain why the Bahrain Grand Prix organisers felt adding almost a kilometre of tight, narrow, slow corners to their circuit was going to make overtaking easier.

The drivers called it “very slow” and “nothing special”. The teams complained about the bump in turn six. And only seeing the cars come by once every two minutes can’t have been much fun for the spectators at the track either.

Old Grand Prix Track

Old Grand Prix track

Old Grand Prix track

Lap length: 5.412km
Laps: 57

The original Bahrain Grand Prix circuit had a reputation for being one of the better circuits for overtaking thanks to its long straights leading into big braking zones and turns one and four.

Outer Track

Outer track

Outer track

Lap length: 3.664km
Laps: 84 (estimate)

The outer track follows the more interesting part of the new track including the controversial turn six bump. But instead of turning right into the very slow sequence of bends, it links up with the original track in the final sector.

I think there’s a lot to be said for this layout. The shorter lap length would make it harder for cars to escape traffic and it includes all three of the major overtaking zones.

Paddock Track

Paddock track

Paddock track

The Bahrain Grand Prix website says this track is “for spectator-friendly series such as the Australian V8 Supercars.” Why can’t F1 race on the ‘spectator-friendly’ track?

Lap length: 3.7km
Laps: 83 (estimate)


Which Bahrain track should they use in 2011?

  • New Grand Prix Track (2%)
  • Old Grand Prix Track (34%)
  • Outer Track (46%)
  • Paddock Track (17%)
  • No preference (1%)

Total Voters: 1,893

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You can see the different configurations available on the satellite map of the track:

New Bahrain Grand Prix track

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154 comments on Which track should Bahrain use in 2011?

  1. Kristian said on 16th March 2010, 10:45

    I would love to see a race at the outer track. It would certainly introduce a slipstreaming element, and it would be much more unique on the calendar with very low downforce. The old Hockenheim always produced great racing and unusual results, and I’m sure on the outer track the Bahrain GP will be a race to be anticipated rather than a race to be endured.

  2. Peter said on 16th March 2010, 10:45

    I voted outer track. Following the track thinking of F1 cars I think this would be very nice actually. Also provides enough laps to do something strategically interesting.

  3. Outer. Not exactly a great configuration (not one fast corner), but there might be some overtaking.

    Can’t see it happening though ;-)

  4. perveze7 said on 16th March 2010, 10:49

    The organisers should use the old er track in future.

  5. perveze7 said on 16th March 2010, 10:49

    The organisers should use the older track in future.

  6. DanThorn said on 16th March 2010, 10:50

    The outer would be different and interesting – maybe not as a long term solution (I liked the old GP track just fine) but for a one off to see how it goes and how the drivers feel about it. If successful, then the FIA and Tilke may look into creating more faster tracks in the future. Even if it isn’t successful, I think most people would simply appreciate the variety.

    It’ll probably never happen of course, but we can dream!

  7. BasCB said on 16th March 2010, 10:57

    I think it would be nice to have a try at the outer track. Maybe they can get a go at being the most high speed circuit on the calender!
    The high speeds combined with the heat in Bahrain would make it a real hard track for the engines and tyres. Not to mention the bumps in corner 6.

    The paddock track might be interesting as well, or they could just return to the old layout which was pretty high speed as well.

  8. Barney Gumble said on 16th March 2010, 10:57

    Like most people above I’d love to see race on the outer track. OK, so there’s not much to it, and I’m not suggesting that all new tracks should be so simplistic, but for the novelty of seeing F1 cars on such a high speed layout once in a while would be amazing. It’s a bit short, but so what, it wouldn’t bother me! Perhaps we should start some sort of petition to use that circuit next season- not that FOM ever listens to the fans…

    Oh, and I think that the claim that the new loop would add ‘new overtaking opportunities’ was basically a lie.

  9. I voted for the Outer Track but considering the length of that and the Paddock Track I don’t think it will happen, so failing that I hope they go back to the Old Grand Prix Track.

    As the New Grand Prix Track has the fewest votes so far with 3% that will probably mean it will be back next year.

    I think the Grand Prix calendar should have a variety of different types of circuit, so a car has to be a good all rounder rather than just suited to one type of track.

  10. BasCB said on 16th March 2010, 11:03

    The outer track is better as well for the spectators on track. Those that want to just sit and sleep in the sun can get seated on the secondary grandstand at the backstraight.

    The ones on the main grandstands would see the cars getting by almost 2 times as often.

  11. Ronman said on 16th March 2010, 11:04

    KEITH, it is imperative that you relay the result of the votes to the BIC management…

  12. David B said on 16th March 2010, 11:04

    The more I read the more I question…is there a single reason why they shouldn’t use outer track???
    1) Too fast…it’s formula 1 gran prix, it must be fast!
    2) Not a fast corner…I know it’s not like Parabolica or Lesmo 1, but the second bend, the forth and the long right hand with the bump in the new sector look quite fast.
    3) Too short course…what does it mean? The shorter the more car passages the audience can see.

    Again, I see no reason, but “conservatorism”, why we shoudn’t try.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys said on 16th March 2010, 11:05

    Formula 1 needs a format shake-up. Make Bahrain a unique event: one hundred laps of the outer circuit. It’ll be sixty kilometres longer than the standard race distance, but it will be very quick, the equivalent of a sprint race. Lap times could get very close to a minute flat, so pitstops will be critical because a mistake is going to cost you dearly.

    Why can’t F1 race on the ’spectator-friendly’ track?

    Because it’s not very good. It was used by the V8 Supercars, but it wasn’t received very well. It cuts out the most interesting section of the old circuit, including the very challenging double left (the old turn nine and ten).

    • That’s a really really good idea. I know some people want ovals but I think this would be a better solution, a sprint race and the pitstop thing would work brilliantly.

      Annoyingly the track won’t change for next year they’ll just smooth that bump out so it’s easier for the drivers.

  14. The problem with the new track layout (think they call it the endurance layout) is it’s inconsistent with the rest of the circuit. The layout of the old grand prix track is pretty open and flowing, some reasonable straights with challenging corners. The new section is just completely at odds with the rest of the circuit and didnt add anything to the spectacle. It would be good for LMS or endurance with a lot of cars on track but not for F1.

  15. I know there are supposed to be quite a bit of FIA regulations regarding F1 tracks but is there a minimum or maximum length for a new track in terms of lap length, number of laps or lap time?

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 16th March 2010, 11:16

      There are regulations relating to track length; the maximum allowable is seven kilometres, but most circuits – particularly the new ones – weigh in at around five and a half.

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