Bahrain Grand Prix

Held in April each year, the Bahrain Grand Prix is one of the newest events on the Formula 1 calendar. The Grand Prix debuted in 2004, making history as the first F1 race to be staged in the Middle East, beating fellow contenders Egypt and Lebanon to become the event’s host nation.

The inaugural race was the third event of the F1 season and, held at the Bahrain International Circuit, was a huge success, being awarded the ‘best organised Grand Prix of the Year’ title by the FIA (Federation Internationale De L’Automobile). Due to the success of the Bahrain Grand Prix, a second Middle Eastern circuit is currently under construction on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, with the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix being proposed for 2009.

The Circuit

The Bahrain Grand Prix takes place on Formula One’s only desert track, on a 400 acre plot of land in Sakhir, south west of Manama, the capital of Bahrain. The track was designed by Herman Tilke, the German architect who also masterminded the newly built circuit for the Turkish Grand Prix. Work began on the Sakhir circuit in 2002, with Prince Andrew laying a marble stone to mark the spot where the Grandstand would be constructed.

Bahrain Grand PrixBahrain Grand Prix

The circuit consists of six individual tracks, four of which can be used at once, catering for car and motor racing as well as F1 competition. The Grand Prix track is a challenging circuit covering a distance of 5.4 km whilst combining fast, medium and relatively slow speed corners. Contestants are required to complete 57 laps, giving the race an overall length of 308.238 km.

The circuit consists of sixteen turns with a maximum uphill slope of 5.25 % and a maximum downhill slope of 5.0 %, giving an average lap time of 1 minute 33.63 seconds. The track has three long straights between the slow corners which, coupled with the oppressive heat and sand blown from the desert, require good brakes and tyres for maintaining grip around the circuit.

On the plus side, the track provides many excellent overtaking opportunities and there is a large run-off area outside the circuit, meaning drivers have a good chance of getting back on-track without damage, making Bahrain one of the world’s safest (but arguably less exciting) F1 circuits.

As well as having an F1 track, the Sakhir circuit also has a test track, a drag strip, and an oval for CART racing. It accommodates up to 70,000 spectators and has a Grandstand with a capacity of 10,000. It has a range of corporate facilities, including a nine storey VIP tower and a state-of-the-art media centre.

The Race: 2004

Held on April 4 2004, the Bahrain Grand Prix was won by Michael Schumacher from pole position with a time of 1:30.159, the 73rd F1 win of his career. Rubens Barrichello, Schumacher’s Ferrari team-mate, came in second but the two McLaren drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard, were forced to retire due to engine problems, highlighting key constructional issues for the team.

Results

  • 1 – Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari
  • 2 – Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Ferrari
  • 3 – Jenson Button (United Kingdom) BAR-Honda
  • 4 – Jarno Trulli (Italy) Renault
  • 5 – Takuma Sato (Japan) BAR-Honda
  • 6 – Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault
  • 7 – Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Williams-BMW
  • 8 – Mark Webber (Australia) Jaguar-Cosworth

The Race: 2005

The second Bahrain Grand Prix was held on April 3 2005, the day after the death of Pope John Paul II, which put a sombre mood on the day’s proceedings. The race was the hottest event in F1 history, with track temperatures reaching 56 º C, causing braking issues for many of the drivers.

Fernando Alonso qualified for pole position and was first to reach Turn 1, a clear winner from the early stages. Michael Schumacher soon moved to the second grid slot and stayed in hot pursuit of Alonso but on lap 12 his hydraulics failed and he was forced to retire. On the whole the race was uneventful and Alonso won the race by an impressive 13 seconds, making it the 100th Grand Prix win for Renault.

Results

  • 1 – Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault
  • 2 – Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota
  • 3 – Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 4 – Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Toyota
  • 5 – Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 6 – Mark Webber (Australia) Williams-BMW
  • 7 – Felippe Massa (Brazil) Sauber-Petronas
  • 8 – David Coulthard (United Kingdom) Red Bull-Cosworth

The Race: 2006

The 2006 race was played under new qualifying rules, in which the traditional one hour session was split into three knock-out rounds. Michael Schumacher started the race from pole position and began to pull away almost immediately, but after the second pit-stop Fernando Alonso managed to overtake Schumacher and won the race by a fraction of a second.

Results

  • 1 – Fernando Alonso (Spain) Renault
  • 2 – Michael Schummacher (Germany) Ferrari
  • 3 – Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 4 – Jenson Button (United Kingdom) Honda
  • 5 – Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 6 – Mark Webber (Australia) Williams-Cosworth
  • 7 – Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams-Cosworth
  • 8 – Christian Klien (Austria) Red Bull-Ferrari

The Race: 2007

Held on April 15, the 2007 race was the first Bahrain Grand Prix for young British driver, Lewis Hamilton, who became the first rookie in Formula 1 history to make the podium in each of his inaugural world championship races. Felippe Massa started from pole position and led the race, finishing 2.3 seconds in front of Hamilton with Raikkonen placing third. The race was a struggle for the Renault cars and both Red Bull drivers retired in quick succession.

  • 1 – Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari
  • 2 – Lewis Hamilton (United Kingdom) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 3 – Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari
  • 4 – Nick Heidfield (Germany) BMW Sauber
  • 5 – Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren-Mercedes
  • 6 – Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber
  • 7 – Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota
  • 8 – Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Renault

Travel

Official tour packages are available for F1 fans from the official Great Prix of Bahrain website. Tours include accommodation, airport pick-up, transport to and from the circuit each day of the race, race tickets and flights (depending on the country of origin). Prices vary depending upon accommodation. The circuit is 30 km from Manama (the island’s capital city) but is relatively difficult to access as there are no trains on the island and only one major highway. Taxis are very expensive but there is a shuttle bus from Manama to Sakhir on race days. There is a causeway connecting Bahrain with Saudi Arabia for race-goers staying off the island.

Tours include accommodation, airport pick-up (from Bahrain International Airport), transport to and from the circuit each day of the race, race tickets and flights (depending on the country of origin).

Tickets

Tickets for the Bahrain Grand Prix can be bought online at the following prices:

Main Grandstand

  • Adult 3 Days: 150 BD
  • Child (aged 3 – 15) 3 Days: 75 BD
  • Student 3 Days: 135 BD
  • Senior Citizen 3 Days: 135 BD
  • Adult Race Day: 120 BD
  • Child Race Day: 60 BD
  • Student Race Day: 108 BD
  • Senior Citizen Race Day: 108 BD

Batelco Grandstand

  • Adult 3 Days: 120 BD
  • Child 3 Days: 60 BD
  • Student 3 Days: 108 BD
  • Senior Citizen 3 Days: 108 BD
  • Adult Race Day: 100 BD
  • Child Race Day: 50 BD
  • Student Race Day: 90 BD
  • Senior Citizen Race Day: 90 BD

Turn 1 Grandstand

  • Adult 3 Days: 80 BD
  • Child 3 Days: 40 BD
  • Student 3 Days: 72 BD
  • Senior Citizen 3 Days: 72 BD
  • Adult Race Day: 65 BD
  • Child Race Day: 32.50 BD
  • Student Race Day: 58.50 BD
  • Senior Citizen Race Day: 58.50 BD

University Grandstand

  • Adult 3 Days: 60 BD
  • Child 3 Days: 30 BD
  • Student 3 Days: 54 BD
  • Senior Citizen 3 Days: 54 BD
  • Adult Race Day: 50 BD
  • Child Race Day: 25 BD
  • Student Race Day: 45 BD
  • Senior Citizen Race Day: 45 BD

Victory Grandstand

  • Adult 3 Days: 30 BD
  • Child 3 Days: 15 BD
  • Student 3 Days: 27 BD
  • Senior Citizen 3 Days: 27 BD
  • Adult Race Day: 25 BD
  • Child Race Day: 12.50 BD
  • Student Race Day: 22.50 BD
  • Senior Citizen Race Day: 22.50 BD

All prices are given in Bahraini Dinar: there is approximately 0.75 BD to a pound.

Contact

For general enquiries about the Bahrain Grand Prix contact the Sakhir circuit:

Address: Bahrain International Circuit P.O. Box 26381 Sakhir Kingdom of Bahrain

Tel: +973 1745 0000

Fax: +973 1745 1111