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. GooddayBruce
    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.

  2. 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.

  3. Andrew White
    16th March 2010, 12:56

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

    1. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. “would be nice to have one”, sorry

  7. therealjackson
    16th March 2010, 13:30

    if their hell bent on using part of the endurance layout, how about http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3549303

    1. If they desigen your version with following in mind it could add some quick elevation change and a new overtaking point. I like it.

      You would still have to widen the road, tighten, possibly make a hairpin out of the corner at 4km. Possibly loose the rather good looking fast corner before, depending on how much it space out the cars or if it was followable.

      No idea again what the bend after 4k would do. Basically for your circuit to work, an I think it could you would have to be absoultely sure that by the final corner the cars where pretty close. Fundementally though it could work, great job.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        16th March 2010, 21:25

        Yeah, you can’t just “add a elvation change” so easily. They’d need to dig it all up, build som aritficial hills and then re-build the circuit. Not worth it.

        1. Well obviously not, but why add whats already there?

  8. why doesn’t the renault have any LADA logo on the side of it in the photo?

  9. I think out of all the new circuits Bahrain has been the best maybe not always in terms of circuit but in terms of organisation.

    For instance, we already know that the layouts going to be different next year, why? Because the prince who suggested the change, for reasons motoracing fans would approve of said it made the racing worse. Well fantastic, we all complain about flat, featurless, boring long straights and corners Bahrain. What do they do? They give it some features and they try and add a different flavour to the track, though that change somewhat missed the point, yet they already admit they’ve got it wrong and promised to fix it.

    Frankly I think they should go back to the old layout, or keep trying new things. But I don’t think it’s fair to say the old track had no charcter, sure the surroundings where bland. Which there proving is fixable but the track was designed with one thought in mind, how do you overtake in F1 well, you exit a corner under better mechanical traction to carry better speed on to the straight, you use that extra pace and the slip stream to get along side an either cleanly pass them on the straight or under braking, or if we lucky fight for position on track through the next complex of corners. Which may well have been what they where aiming at through the new section. Unfortunatley the new section was too narrow and two high downforce the twin banes of modern F1, it’s why Singapore and the Hungaroring are such nightmares. Despite part of the principle being a good idea the new section killed what the rest of the track was designed to produce, by a man much cleverer than we. (See Sakir, Sepang and Istanbul Park).

    Lessons for Sakir an all tracks keep the track philosophy in mind when designing and changing your track. If what your adding on is very different from the rest of the rest of the track the rest of the track will change. Bahrain could be improved but you have to remember what works in a circuit to improve the character that it already has, it’s nigh on impossible to change the character of a circuit already built unless you Hokeinheim it.

    Bahrain is a place I, like a few others have warmed up to because the orgainisers actually have the veiwers wishes at heart. Quite simply we lucked out, the guy whose funding this is a petrol head and a fan of F1. It’s why i’m a fan of the Sakir circuit in generall, providing they keep it up.

    1. yes scribe well said, at least they are listening and trying to improve things, good on them

  10. I think that the problem with modern tracks is that they lack character because they have all kinds of turns on one track. The Outer Track would have some in my opinion!

  11. I think the outer track would be interesting. I also think they should try running the race a little later in the day. It’s so bright that even I have to squint just looking at the tv!

  12. I think the first one. This new track have very slow corners… bored…

  13. Maybe they should add jumps and a couple water hazards. I don’t think much short of that could liven up the racing at this track.

    I’ll be the 84th person to recommend the outer track; it’s like the old Silverstone, a speed drome. You might even see cars save pit time by stopping only for left side tires, as in NASCAR.

    1. I too voted the outer circuit, but I don’t know where people are getting the idea that it’s a fast circuit from. It’s more reminsiscent of the reviled A1 Ring rather than Silverstone of old – no fast corners.

      Unless fast means simply long straights these days of course.

  14. How about a second race in Interlagos or Spa, and we’ll just call it the Bahrain GP. Cover up the Sakir circuit with sand and forget about it.

  15. The best would be the outter track with few added corners.

  16. “Which track should Bahrain use in 2011?”


  17. Marc Connell
    16th March 2010, 15:08

    outer ring or paddock track. Looks like the cars will be fast there, Less corners = closer racing and maybe more over taking.

  18. I think the old track configuration is the best option, but not the tracks are main issue of th lack of overtaking. The main issue is aerodynamics and engine power. When in f1 was V10 engines there were more overtaking. But when V10 were replaced by V8 the speeds in the corners increased, and then began a new era of aerodynamics, because engine development was frozen, then teams began to spend more money on aerodynamics. So FIA should let development of engines, because it haven’t reduce the costs sa expected. What do you think, Keith?

    1. Like I said the other day, it’s mostly an aerodynamics thing: Bringing back refuelling will not solve F1’s overtaking problem

      But I do think some mistakes are being made with the choice of tracks and the long Bahrain layout was a case in point. Ditto Abu Dhabi – why build chicanes into a new design? Barmy.

      1. But when engines were more powerful, there was harder to control an F1 car, so overtaking was easier.

      2. Abu Dhabi is a scandalous, particularly repulsive case of lots of money but no imagination or taste. Even the V8 Supercar race there was pathetic.

        But not all new tracks are bad.
        – Portimao is looks good and but is not used.
        – I thought Dubai Autodrome was quite interesting but there seems to be no more racing at all there anymore. Why?
        – Paul Ricard has returned to hosting races. The new layouts are not the bad, the long Mistral straight is still there, combined with the challenging technical section at the end of the lap.
        – Sepang is also a class track in my opinion: a nice mix of fast, flowing complexes and big braking areas for slow corners.
        – And Istambul has a few interesting corners.

        1. …if we really have to keep Bahrain, I’d go for the outer circuit.

          If the big bosses want to give the place more character, get rid of all the color and scale down the modern shiny buildings to a minimum. Make it look like a real race in the desert; it’s the only character this place can ever have.

          A high speed slipstream contest through the desert might turn into something classic.

  19. The outer track has fascinated me since the moment I saw it on Google Map. I think it has alot more “character” (which the Sheik was saying he wanted) than any of the other layouts, and atleast has a unique look compared to any other track on the calendar.

    It reminds me of a cross between a scaled down Le Mans and the A1 ring, both of which I thoroughly enjoy.

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