Bahrain announces new track layout
The 2010 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will be kicking off the 60th anniversary season of the FIA Formula One World Championship with a brand new track layout as it extends its existing 5.412km circuit to a thrilling 6.299km.
After six years as host to the biggest sporting, business and social event in the Middle East, the Bahrain International Circuit’s new track extension now offers a challenging loop of corners and height changes reaching out into the Sakhir desert to bring fresh challenges and exciting overtaking opportunities in readiness for the 2010 event.
While the iconic desert circuit will retain its unique character, the new loop will sweep left as the cars accelerate out of the existing Turn 4 and take them into a fast flowing right-hander before a complex sequence of five bends brings them back towards the original circuit. From here they will accelerate through a left-right kink before a tight and challenging hairpin brings them back on to the existing circuit, adding eight new corners to what is already one of the drivers’ favourite venues.
“The loop was completed in 2006 as part of the built-in evolution of the venue for competitors and fans,” said Zayed R. Alzayani, Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit. “We gave it its debut with the inaugural 24 Hour Race of Bahrain that same year where it proved extremely successful, and with the changes to the regulations, the teams and the driver line-ups in Formula One this year it is the perfect time to evolve the circuit with this new challenge and new overtaking opportunities.”
With the grid size increasing thanks to the arrival of the all-new Campos Meta 1, Virgin F1, US F1, Lotus F1 and Sauber teams, this new extension at BIC will offer more circuit space and more dramatic action for the fans at the trackside and a TV audience measured in hundreds of millions when it hosts the opening round of the Formula One season for the first time since 2006. New regulations ban mid-race refuelling and increase the importance of cars passing on the track rather than through pit strategy, which has been another key factor behind the revision.
“The BIC was built to set new standards for international motor sport and Formula One is the pinnacle,” said Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Acting CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit. “As the sport evolves and grows it is entirely fitting that we use our unique geography and circuit design to grow with it and deliver the best racing and entertainment that we can.”
Already the 2010 Formula One season is the most anticipated in recent memory, headlined by the return of Mercedes-Benz as a Formula One constructor for the first time in 55 years led by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher. The 2010 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix marks the first race in Formula One’s 60th season and will see Schumacher and Mercedes confront an all-star line-up including the British McLaren ‘superteam’ of reigning World Champion Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s new partnership of double world champion Fernando Alonso with two-time Bahrain Grand Prix winner Felipe Massa.
Source: Bahrain International Circuit