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26 - 29 Nov
Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2020
Bahrain International Circuit
First Grand Prix
Number of Laps
1:31.447 Pedro de la Rosa (2005)
Ground was broken for the Bahrain International Circuit in December 2002. Like the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, the developers had a blank, sandy canvas to work with, and with that fashioned the technical, 5.4km track designed by Hermann Tilke.
It was 2004 when the drivers first lined up under an unusually cloudy sky for the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix. The race was dominated (like many in 2004) by the two Ferraris, with Michael Schumacher winning out from Rubens Barrichello, while the crowds were also treated to a fantastic dog-fight between the Jaguar of Mark Webber and the Renault of Fernando Alonso.
Which one – we’ll be using two in 2020. The first, for the Bahrain Grand Prix, is the standard GP circuit that’s been used in every year bar 2010 (when F1 briefly switched to the 6.3km Endurance circuit), a track that usually provides great racing and overtaking, and which is crowned by the tight, downhill, off-camber left at Turn 10 and the fast run through Turn 12. However, excitingly for the 2020 Sakhir GP, drivers will race under the floodlights on the more open Outer circuit, a 3.5km (that’s just 0.2km longer than Monaco, the shortest track on the calendar) blast around the perimeter of the track, the cars arcing left instead of right at the exit of Turn 4 and then negotiating a fast right-handed swoop and a chicane, before re-joining the old track for a flat-out run down to the final corner.
Given the nature of the track, race-goers in Bahrain have always got a decent chance of being treated to a 'duel in the desert' or three. Away from the race track, Bahrain, as you might expect, is a great place to catch some rays, with the 33-island archipelago kingdom featuring some jaw-dropping resorts. And if you want to do some racing yourself, the Bahrain International Karting Circuit, located right next to the track, is one of the world’s top karting facilities.
Your options are slightly limited in Bahrain, given that the organisers understandably don’t want loads of fans having to traipse out into the middle of a hot desert to watch the action! We reckon your best bet is to get a place in the Batelco grandstand, giving you a great view of cars charging into Turn 8, hammering through 9 and 10 and then passing you on the run down to the short-apex Turn 11. Otherwise, the grandstand on the outside of Turns 1 and 2 will allow you to watch overtaking aplenty on either track layout.
Valtteri Bottas’s Bahrain Grand Prix circuit guide
RACE HIGHLIGHTS: 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix
#WeAreF1 - The inspirational Bahrain marshals