Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2020, the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place over 57 laps of the 5.412-kilometre Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir on Sunday, November 29.
The Bahrain International Circuit is a motorsport venue opened in 2004 and used for drag racing, GP2 Series and the annual Bahrain Grand Prix. The 2004 Grand Prix was the first held in the Middle East. Beginning in 2006, Australian V8 Supercars raced at the BIC, with the event known as the Desert 400. However, the V8 Supercars did not return for the 2011 V8 Supercar season. 24 Hour endurance races are also hosted at BIC. The circuit has a FIA Grade 1 license.
The construction of the Bahrain circuit was a national objective for Bahrain, initiated by the Crown Prince, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The Crown Prince is the Honorary President of the Bahrain Motor Federation. TRL was asked to build the circuit, headed by Patrick Brogan. Race organizers were worried that the circuit would not be complete in time for the 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix and attempted to cancel the event; however, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone refused this request. In the end, the circuit was not quite fully complete, but was good enough for the grand prix to go ahead.
After the 2004 race and ahead of the 2005 race the track was realigned at turn four, decreasing the circuit's overall length by 5 metres. In 2007 the circuit became the first Grand Prix circuit to be awarded the distinguished FIA Institute Centre of Excellence award, given for excellent safety, race marshal, and medical facilities, and for the high standards of technology required to maintain these. At the 2009 Grand Prix, BIC announced a collaboration with @bahrain to develop land next to the circuit. @bahrain is part of the Mumtalakat group of companies. @bahrain will dedicate more than 1 million square meters of business, entertainment and educational space with a value in excess of US$2bn (BHD 850million), making it one of the largest investment projects to take place in Bahrain in the past five years.
The circuit was designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, the same architect who designed the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. The main contractor for the project was Cebarco-WCT. The circuit cost approximately 56.2 million Bahraini Dinars (US$150 million) to construct. It has six separate tracks, including a test oval and a drag strip. The circuit posed a unique problem. Positioned in the middle of a desert, there were worries that sand would blow onto the circuit and disrupt the race. However, organizers were able to keep the sand off the track by spraying an adhesive on the sand around the track.
The surface of the track is made of graywacke aggregate, shipped to Bahrain from Bayston Hill quarry in Shropshire, England. The surface material is highly acclaimed by circuit bosses and Formula 1 drivers for the high level of grip it offers. The same aggregate material is used at the Yas Marina Circuit, venue of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
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.
A lap in a Formula One car - The DRS zone is on the pit straight at the Bahrain Grand Prix (starting 2012), so turn 1 ("Michael Schumacher turn") is the prime overtaking opportunity. The corner itself is incredibly tight; a typical F1 car must brake approximately 100 metres before the corner and shift right down to gear one. The width of the track further adds to the overtaking possibilities. Turns 2 and 3 are flat out and gaining a good exit can set up an overtaking opportunity into turn 4. The straight leading to turn 4 is very long with a DRS zone, and the track at the corner itself is incredibly wide, at about thirty metres. Turns 5, 6 and 7 make up a high-speed left-right-left "S" section that leads into turn 8, a right-hand hairpin where taking a wide line can avoid the bump on the apex which unsettles the car. Turns 9 and 10 are very challenging as they are two blind left-handers where cars must brake, downshift and turn simultaneously – they go from 205 km/h in gear 5 down to 63 km/h in gear 1 whilst trying to avoid locking up their inside front tyres. The back straight leads down into turns 11, 12 and 13, a medium-speed complex of corners. Turn 11 is a fourth-gear left hander that leads immediately into the flat-out right hander of 12, then the third gear right-hander of turn 13 which requires a good exit to gain speed down the following straight. It is worth braking quite early for turn 14 to gain speed down the main straight. If you brake about 100 metres before the apex then it is easy to keep it tidy through the slow right hander and you can also put the power down early, and gain speed all the way through turn 15 and the main straight (which is the DRS zone).