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. Steezy said on 16th March 2010, 11:11

    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.

  2. MPJ1994 said on 16th March 2010, 11:15

    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.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

  3. JHunt123 said on 16th March 2010, 11:29

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

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

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

      • JHunt123 said on 16th March 2010, 12:08

        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 ?

  4. I think they should use the Nordschleife.

  5. 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.

    • David B said on 16th March 2010, 12:33

      This look great! Reminds me the old Interlagos…

    • BasCB said on 16th March 2010, 12:52

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

      Where did you get this layout from?

      • 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).

    • verstappen said on 16th March 2010, 19:36

      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

    • Lachie said on 17th March 2010, 7:37

      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?

  6. Hockenheim said on 16th March 2010, 12:23

    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

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

      • Hockenheim said on 16th March 2010, 12:58

        Don’t tell me you believe that.

        • Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

        • Scribe said on 16th March 2010, 14:26

          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.

    • Zazeems said on 16th March 2010, 19:24


      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!!!!!!!

  7. Lachie said on 16th March 2010, 12:28

    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 ;)

  8. sumedh said on 16th March 2010, 12:30

    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.

    • Scribe said on 16th March 2010, 14:31

      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.

  9. Mike said on 16th March 2010, 12:38

    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?

  10. UneedAFinn2Win said on 16th March 2010, 12:51

    Which track should Bahrain use in 2011?

    Barber Motorsport Park, Birmingham, Alabama.

  11. GooddayBruce said on 16th March 2010, 12:54

    The new Layout is awful. The slow and twist section served only to spread out the cars and prevent any overtaking happening at other parts of the lap.

    The outer track is very old skool but I can’t see F1 returning to a layout of that sort at the expense of the technical section that precedes and the fast open corner that follows the back straight.

    The paddock layout is designed for spectators – but there are no spectators at Bahrain so there is no point in this.

    Better to revert to the old layout in my mind.

  12. What I really want to see, and have wanted to see for some time, is a track with optional configurations. So there are parts of the track that split into two then recombine with one route benefiting reduced downforce settings and requiring more speed and another benefiting higher downforce low speed settings (low and high being comparative rather than absolute), or even just two different routes.

  13. Andrew White said on 16th March 2010, 12:56

    The outer track would be interesting, but the laps would probably be under a minute long.

    • Dean said on 16th March 2010, 22:36

      That would be good if the race turns of to be boring like this year – at least the laps would appear to go past quicker!

  14. Wayne said on 16th March 2010, 12:57

    Outer track or nothing at all.

    Since the majority of people seem to prefer the outer layout we can expect them to ignore us all and carry on with the mickey mouse rubbish we watched on Sunday.

  15. Bebilou said on 16th March 2010, 13:27

    The Outer track, of course.
    – They would really have to deal with the trafic.
    – Turns 5-6-7-8 are the most interesting of the entire track configurations.
    – The inside part of the Bahrain circuit is boring (except the long and fast right after the backstraight).
    – We don’t have “short tracks” in F1, it would be have to have one and therefore add some variety.

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