Which track should Bahrain use in 2011?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

154 comments on “Which track should Bahrain use in 2011?”

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. Barney Gumble
    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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. Prisoner Monkeys
    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).

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      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.

  11. Outer Track for me. It’s very simple and very fast, but in that sense it’s unique for the calendar. Not quite an Oval so the purists can’t throw anything out of the pram. It would be fun watching the cars on such a track.

  12. Having watched the V8 Supercars in the past on the paddock track, I can say that its nothing special. It would remove the overtaking opportunity at 4, leaving only two possible.

    I think that next year they should try the outer layout or use the old GP track, although I think its more likely that the new GP track will be used again.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      16th March 2010, 11:25

      I don’t know – if there’s one point in Bahrain’s favour, it’s that the organisers seem to genuinely want to put on a good race, even if they have trouble getting bums on seats. Given the reaction from drivers and fans, the organisers may be amenable to reverting to the old format or trying the outer loop. They’d certainly be easier to persuade than any of the other circuit owners/organisers.

      1. Wait, someone, wants to do things to please the fans? wow….

  13. Have it on the Sao Paulo street track they had the Indycars on this weekend, that looked like a cracking race..

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      16th March 2010, 11:41

      Yeah, apart from the first of their names being ‘B’, there’s no similarities between Bahrain and Brazil. To have a race on the Sao Paulo treet circuit would mean losing Interlagos … which is basically a crime worthy of crucifixion.

      1. Also F1 would never be allowed the race there because of the bumps

      2. We should have both the SP street and the regular track! Just call the second race the Bahrain GP, what the heck they did that with the ‘Luxemborg’,’European’ and ‘Pacific’ GPs right ?

  14. I think they should use the Nordschleife.

    1. you beat me to it

    2. People would complain about only seeing the cars every 6-7 minutes ;)

  15. I posted this in an earlier thread, but I think they should use something like this, if anything:


    You get the speed of the other circuit, and the turns of the inner circuit, but it makes better use of the extended circuit’s wiggly bits.

    1. This look great! Reminds me the old Interlagos…

    2. That looks nice, maybe we can have a try at persuading the Track management!

      Where did you get this layout from?

      1. I drew a black line over a map of the track I nicked from the preview page of this website, so It’s my own design, but uses existing track in all but one point (the transition from the drag strip to the infield).

    3. That would be my first choice, although I cannot make up my mind about the direction…maybe this lay out and then anti clock wise?

      2nd the outer and 3rd the old track

    4. That looks fantastic and I especially like how it uses roads that are already there. The general layout kinda gives me a Sebring feel. If this were an option i’d choose this THEN the Outer circuit.

      Can we get this to the organisers?

  16. I say, bring back the old Hockenheim layout.

    But, hold on a minute, oh no you can’t because you’ve KILLED IT!!! The reason – too few laps for people to enjoy the spectacle. It was 45 for those that don’t remember. 45 of fast exciting laps. So may I ask why is it ok for Bahrain run 49, boring like hell laps?

    Those are the reminders, sad isn’t it. http://octane.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=29408

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      16th March 2010, 12:42

      Actually, the reason why it was dropped was because there was no access to the Ostkurve for safety vehicles. Given that Tilke’s re-design treated the old circut as a perimeter – considering that he never extended beyond it – it’s fairly obvious that the owners of Hockenheim do not own the land surrounding it. I suspect it may be some kind of national park or protected land. In the event of a serious accident (think Robert Kubica in Monteal), safety vehicles would have to drive from the pit lane to the scene of the accident, losing critical time all the while.

      1. Don’t tell me you believe that.

        1. Prisoner Monkeys
          16th March 2010, 14:26

          It makes more sense than some crack-brained rationale that it had to do with spectators not seeing the cars enough. After all, Hockenheim was within the FIA’s guidelines for maximum circuit length and they don’t seem to have that problem at Spa, which is longer than the old Hockenheim.

        2. Why shouldn’t that be the truth. The forest sourounding Hockenheim is hauntingly beautiful, especially to motoracing fans. An Hockenheim wasn’t quite up to scratch anyway, an despite the rose tinted spectacles we look at the old track with all it had going for it was that it had the fastest straights, back in the day. All the contempories of the circuit said it was souless as anything, an crucially difficult to overtake on. The modern circuit may be very bland but at least it produces good raciingn an has at least one good overtaking spot.

    2. @Hockenheim

      Those photos almost made me cry. I hate going back to Hockenheim because it reminds me of what a great circuit has been slaughtered. D:

      Isn’t there anything, any of us fans can do to get our point across!!!! Proper circuits please!!!!!!!

  17. I know it’s only the angle but the illustration of the outer circuit brings to mind Reims and consarn it that’s the kind of track we need! PUT F1 ON THE OUTER!…..uh yeah ;)

  18. The reason which the organizers gave was that adding the extra kilometre helped in spacing out the cars, as there were supposed to be 26 this year.

    I prefer the old track. Races on it in 2006 and 2009 have been pretty exciting. It is one of the few layouts that can produce good action even in the dry.

    1. I don’t know why they thought they should do that, closer cars means better racing, rule 1. Totaly baffles, surley someone could have told the well meaning Bahraines that this would kill the racing.

      Hopefully Sakir learns that what ain’t broke.

  19. The outer track would be very fast, Which of course the spectators would like, but is it safe?

    Well, Bahrain is one of the safest facilities of the world class tracks and it has positively mammoth run off areas, It just might be feasible, That and It wouldn’t be another Tilkedrome, It would actually be different!

    I hope the outer track gets used, It’s good for the spectators, I wonder how the drivers would take it?

  20. UneedAFinn2Win
    16th March 2010, 12:51

    Which track should Bahrain use in 2011?

    Barber Motorsport Park, Birmingham, Alabama.

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