Where is the Bahrain GP track?
The Bahrain F1 track, officially called the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC for short) is located in the Sakhir Desert in the middle of Bahrain.
Bahrain is an island country situated in the Persian Gulf and is one of four Grand Prix circuits the Middle East.
See this year’s Bahrain GP schedule for dates, times and details of this year’s F1 race here.
Bahrain F1 circuit layout
Formula 1 has raced on three different track layouts at the Bahrain International Circuit since the Grand Prix was first held at the venue in 2004:
- Grand Prix circuit
- Endurance circuit
- Outer circuit
Grand Prix circuit (International): 2004 - present
- Number of corners: 15
- Circuit length: 5.412km / 3.363 miles
The Grand Prix circuit layout, sometimes known as the International layout, has been used for all but two of the Grand Prix held in Bahrain.
This is the first Bahrain F1 track layout that was ever used for the GP, and is the one that’s still in use today.
Below is the current Bahrain track map.
Endurance circuit: 2010 only
- Number of corners: 24
- Circuit length: 6.299km / 3.914 miles
The Endurance layout was only used once at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix, to celebrate F1’s 60th Birthday. At the time it was the second longest circuit on the calendar, with Spa Francorchamps being the only longer track.
Fernando Alonso won the 2010 race for Ferrari, but neither the drivers, teams nor the fans found the layout particularly riveting so the following year they switched back to the Grand Prix layout for the Formula One.
Outer circuit: 2020 only
- Number of corners: 11
- Circuit length: 3.543km / 2.202 miles
From one of the longest tracks to the shortest ever. The Sakhir Grand Prix was the second event held at the Bahrain International Circuit in 2020, and the layout used for that one round was the Outer circuit layout.
With just 11 turns and being only just over 2 miles long, the Sakhir Grand Prix had the shortest F1 qualifying lap ever, with a 53.377 set by Valtteri Bottas.
George Russell, standing in for a COVID-positive Lewis Hamilton, made the news headlines after he almost won the race on debut for Mercedes. But some poor team strategy and a late puncture cost him what would have been an amazing victory,
See my other article on the Bahrain DRS zones for more info.
The Bahrain F1 track’s longest straight is start / finish straight. It’s used in every different circuit configuration.
The straight is 1.12 km / 0.70 miles long as is where the F1 drivers will reach their maximum speeds on the track.
Formula 1 cars will reach their top speeds in Bahrain at the end of the start / finish straight, just before they hit the brakes for Turn 1. There’s a speed trap there which records their top speeds.
The top speed ever recorded at the Bahrain Grand Prix was 345.8kph / 214.9mph, achieved by Lando Norris driving for McLaren in the 2020 race that took place on the Outer track.
What type of track is Bahrain GP?
The Bahrain GP circuit is a purpose-built FIA Grade 1 race track. It’s built in Bahrain’s biggest desert, Sakhir, so it’s mostly flat with pretty much no elevation change.
Bahrain is a high tyre degradation circuit, so Pirelli often use some of their toughest and most durable compound tyres here.
When the Formula One isn’t being held at the venue it hosts other high-profile racing series such as the Gulf 12 hours and the World Endurance Championship. The MotoGP has never raced here, however.
Is Bahrain a high or low downforce track?
Bahrain has a lot of medium to low speed corners and only a couple of faster ones (turns 11, 12, 13 and 14 and the quicker) so it’s a medium downforce circuit.
Pitlane and paddock
The circuit’s pitlane is on the inside of the track, on the right hand side of the start / finish straight. The paddock area where all the teams base themselves is directly behind the pit garages.