Bahrain reverts to original layout for 2011

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The Bahrain Grand Prix will return to its original circuit layout for the 2011 race in March.

An extended ‘endurance track’ was used for this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix as part of celebrations to mark Formula One’s 60th anniversary.

The new layout added almost a kilometre of tight, narrow, slow corners to their circuit in order to improve overtaking opportunities. The drivers called it "very slow" and "boring", while the teams complained about the bump in turn six.

Organisers have now revealed that next year’s race will take place in the original layout which has hosted the grand prix since 2004.

Shaikh Salman Bin Isa Al Khalifa, acting CEO for the Bahrain International Circuit said:

One of the major tasks we undertook to mark this milestone was implementing changes to our FIA approved track layout, giving the participating teams of the Bahrain Grand Prix a completely new challenge.

It was an enormous task given the time frame we had to implement it, but one that demonstrated Bahrain’s characteristics as a race promoter prepared to continually make changes designed to heighten the awareness and increase the levels of presentation associated with the sport of Formula One.
Shaikh Salman Bin Isa Al Khalifa

Circuit information

Length – 6.299km / 3.914miles
Race distance – 49 laps / 308.405km / 191.642 miles

Full throttle – TBC
Top speed – TBC
Longest flat-out section – TBC

Right/left-hand turns – 13 / 10

Tyre wear – Medium
Brake wear – High
Downforce level – Medium
Gearshifts per lap – TBC

2010 tyre compounds: medium, super-soft
2009 tyre compounds: medium, super-soft
2008 tyre compounds: medium, soft

Bahrain International Circuit track map: 2010

Bahrain International Circuit track map (Click to enlarge)

Bahrain International Circuit track map: 2005-2009

Bahrain International Circuit track map – click to enlarge

Bahrain International Circuit aerial map

More articles about Bahrain International Circuit

44 comments on “Bahrain reverts to original layout for 2011”

  1. This can be summed up in one word.


    1. You mean the experiment with the new section, not the decision to revert back to the old layout, right?

      If so then I agree with you, but I’m quite glad for this decision because we could see that the new layout didn’t work at all, but I was thinking to myself for a long time, will they have the balls to put their hands up and say ‘Sorry, we made a mistake’, and they clearly have, so hats off to them.

      1. damonsmedley
        17th August 2010, 2:03

        Hopefully they also “have the balls” to recognise it is a horrible mistake for the new season to be introduced at this dull venue. I am sure everyone here would agree Melbourne is a fantastic venue to begin a new season, and it always begins on a high note when it starts there. I can not see the Bahrain round delivering the same excitement and enthusiasm with it’s 100 strong audience of super-rich businessmen. Please let Melbourne or even Sepang be round one next year… Actually, anywhere other than Bahrain!

        1. As long as the first race isn’t in Spain because their races are the least exciting (and it would be several degrees cooler)!

          No offence to any Spanish people or their country.

          1. I would still rather it in Spain than Bahrain.

  2. Fair play to the Bahrain GP organisers for daring to try something different. They tried, they failed, so revert back to what worked before. The extended part itself was challenging for the drivers, which is good to see, but ultimately it lead to field spread very early on which dulled the race a fair amount!

    Fingers crossed for 2011.

  3. They should keep turns 5,6,7, & 8 from the new section, and then straight into 21 cutting out the entire infield. It would be a faster and shorter track, likely providing much better racing.

    1. i agree, much more chance for overtaking like this, the first and last corner definatly

    2. Cunning Stunt 8
      17th August 2010, 1:28

      I absolutely agree US_Peter, would be interesting to see how that would go.

  4. The race was boring in 2010 – so what? So were most of the other races held in Bahrain – the problem goes much deeper than a few extra corners (which actually made the race more interesting to watch, even if they didn’t produce any overtaking).

    F1 desperately needs to get away from these kneejerk reactions. They are spoiling the sport.

  5. Anyone really sad about this development?

    Thought not.

    1. I liked the bump.

  6. Well at least this is a step in the right direction.

    Next step, to rid the race altogether.

    1. As ruthless as that may be, I am with you. It adds nothing to the season and there are so many deserving places missing out on a place on the calendar – just so we can go racing at Bahrain and Valencia! Outrageous! And then we hear that Spa is under threat… It is official; Formula 1 is declining into a state of disrepair. Losing fans in favour of dollars supplied by the oil-rich middle east…

  7. Charlie Watts
    16th August 2010, 22:19

    I agree with US_Peter. I’ve thought that would be a good idea when they decided to do the ‘experiment’. There are already several long tracks in F1 (Spa,Abu Dhabi,China, Malysia, Singapore) while all the rest are a fairly similar length. Let’s get some more short tracks. I sort of liked the recent(ish) A1 ring as it was a shorter circuit. I suppose the short Bahrain circuit would be very similar to the A1 ring.

    1. Yes, less is more, when it comes to length. If there is a good passing point, it will arise more often with a shorter track. People who have paid to see the race in person will see the cars more often. More lapped cars coming into play. Etcetera. There is a place for long tracks, but only if the track has somewhere to on this long journey, e.g., Spa, LeMans. Connecting physically identical, uninhabited coordinates in the desert does not warrant an epically long track.

  8. I’m glad it’s been reverted. Not only was the original layout simply better and had fewer ‘poor’ sections, but the run down from turn four to turn six (a cascade effect, one of the better turns that no one speaks of) is class.

    I encourage the move to try something different and be diverse. I’m also pleased that they were not hesitant to make another change for the better, even if we’re in the same position as we were.

    This wasn’t the only change to the circuit this year, the sand that surrounds the circuit is now painted and more palm trees have been added and it looks wonderful.

    1. Can I please compliment you on your brilliant name!

  9. “(it) demonstrated Bahrain’s characteristics as a race promoter prepared to continually make changes designed to heighten the awareness and increase the levels of presentation associated with the sport of Formula One.”

    Why can’t they just come out and say ‘sorry, we messed up’?? What a sickly bit of publicity.

    1. That’s how it works these days, I’m afraid, Ned.

  10. As a special why didn’t they use the outer circuit? It looks faster and more fun to drive.

  11. Here’s another vote for the outer circuit.

    If the went that way it would basically be 3 straights and a squigilly bit, which they’d have to tackle at lower downforce to keep their speed up on the straights.
    It also means there would be more laps and therefor more opportunities at making a pass at one of the regular overtaking points (turns 1 and 4).

    As Keith has pointed out before shorter laps can mean less field spread (which is what they’re trying to fight here) and better racing, like brazil.

    If they wanted to try the longer layout to see if it improved racing I see no reason they shouldn’t be willing to try a shorter version to do the same.

    1. Another vote for the outer circuit from me. That would have made for something special on the calender.

  12. dragon_2712 (@)
    17th August 2010, 1:42

    The entire event is usually somewhat lacklustre (and that’s being rather kind), but that new track layout was so bad you just have to scratch your head at the decision makers behind these things sometimes. 2 minute laptimes, a multitude of slow, uninteresting corners (with full fuel loads, they looked like snails) and NO overtaking – I wouldn’t be surprised if those fringe-viewers of F1 turned off for the entire season after the first 20 laps of Bahrain.

    1. And that, exactly, is why Bahrain shouldn’t be the first race of the season.
      Then again, if you HAVE to have one incredibly boring race per season, it’s better if it’s the first, so as to get it over with as quickly as possible.

  13. “As the inaugural round of the Formula One world championship’s 60th anniversary season, it was important for us to celebrate this momentous occasion by doing something very unique and different,” said Shaikh Salman Bin Isa Al Khalifa, the circuit’s acting CEO.

    That’s not true,they had that long configuration because they needed to slot in four more cars on the grid instead of 20 that wee there in 2009.Hope we see better racing in 2011 with the original layout.

    1. Robert McKay
      17th August 2010, 9:32

      Well that was the excuse at the time, although I didn’t buy that one either.

  14. I think the 2010 track layout is a few corners too long, much like the layout at my home GP (Singapore). If they can truncate it by removing the infield section that will make for more laps. I’m pretty sure this will reward teams with better straight line speed though…

      1. If Tilke wants the designs he might have to pay me for them :-)

  15. I’m guessing this means we will have to put up with the mickey mouse layout in F1 2010… :(

    1. Yes, of course :-(

      They should offer the old version as an unlockable track, but I don’t think they will.

    2. And at the start of every season aswell. Still it’s a small price to pay for what looks like a fantastic game! Bring it on!! :D

  16. But surely Bahrain has always been boring, regardless of layout? If you look on the circuit’s website, there is another option – the “outer” circuit, which would make for a real high-speed and far more exciting race. Why not give that a try? It can’t be any duller than either of the layouts used so far, and would at least give the place some value as being a high-speed track

    The unforgivable aspect of it all is that it’s madness to strip Melbourne of it’s status as season-opener in favour of the most reliably boring circuit of the year.

  17. I didn’t mind the new part that much, we just had the bad luck of having a very linear first race on it, but I’m not disappointed in going back to the old version either.

    Although I still stand firm on my point that the Outer circuit should be modified just enough to earn the FIA A license and then should be home of the race.

  18. Just look at the attached Google Satellite image! The middle of no-where. How is that exciting? Such poor attendance there is only need for a single grand stand!

  19. Like Keith suggested in the poll after the GP, Bahrain should use the outer layout, because it would make Bahrain a unique circuit and something to look forward to. I love the drastic elevation changes in the Sector 2, but I think having another screamer would be good for the calendar.

  20. I’m positive to hear they are reverting to the familiar Grand Prix layout. Subjectively, I appreciate the faster run from turns 4 downhill to 7 more than the variant that was used this year.

    What I find interesting that the quote provided doesn’t attempt to give any reasons for this decision. I’m a bit surprised to hear it was such a “major”, even a “monumental” task to implement the decision of using a different, yet pre-existing course layout.

  21. Its just a shame that we will be forced to drive around the endurance track in the F1 2010 game :(

  22. I personally think they should scrap the track and re-do it, in reverse, and then cut from 21 to 9, then go down the original track from 5 to 13, all you need to do is add a sweeping left to that area to turn down the hill, then when you get to 18 go straight to 3. :)



  23. I think that this is great, we should see a better race next year.

    However, most people don’t realise that there was a very high number of overtaking at Bahrain this year, but due to the poor camera angles from FOM, we didn’t see the majority of them, prompting everyone to say that F1 is boring.

    It wasn’t a bad race, just processional (no bias there)

  24. they needed to mark the 60th anniversary with something people would remember. and what better way to remember the event by using a crap layout everyone would be complaining about for the next year! genius!

  25. they need to change that wierd hairpin that leads on to the infield straight as well. The one were they crest the hill and then instantly brake and turn left.I hate that corner, it does absolutly nothing for the racing.

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