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Bahrain circuit construction still on schedule 12 Jan 2004

Work on the Bahrain International Circuit, venue for this year's inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix, is ahead of schedule prior to the circuit's FIA inspection date of March 7, it was announced today (Monday).

The brand new circuit to the south of capital city Manama is 89% completed according to the construction team's schedule. Work has been in operation around the clock prior to the Grand Prix on April 4. The first layer of the 5.410 kilometre (3.362 mile) track has been laid and engineers are now beginning work on the second and third layers.

Run-off areas, gravel traps, safety barriers, marshal posts, control facilities and the medical centre are all in the final stages of preparation and the completed track will be ready for Formula One cars at the end of February, prior to the FIA circuit inspection that takes place in March.

Team owner Eddie Jordan this week became the latest high profile visitor to the circuit, following in the footsteps of Bernie Ecclestone, Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher. "I am amazed, breathless actually," commented Jordan. "The circuit exceeds words. I was tremendously impressed with the work that everyone in Bahrain has done in building this magnificent circuit."

The 2004 Grand Prix of Bahrain will be the first round of the FIA Formula One World Championship to be held in the Middle East and a crowd of 100,000 people is expected over the three-day event.