2020 Bahrain Grand Prix
Number of Laps: 57
Circuit Length: 5.412km
Race Distance: 308.238 km
Lap Record: 1:31.447 Pedro de la Rosa (2005)
The first night race of the season sees drivers racing across the desert at the spectacular 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix will run from 20-22 March, 2020, in Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain.
20 March – Free Practice 1 & 2
21 March – Free Practice 3 & Qualifying
22 March – Race
With the nature of the Bahrain International Circuit being located in the desert, unlike most circuits on the calendar, there is no General Admission option for Bahrain Grand Prix tickets, with fans needing to choose from one of five grandstands.
Tickets to the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix start from BHD 60.00 for children and BHD 120.00 for adults, for a three-day pass. This gives fans a seat in either the Turn One, Batelco, University, or Victory Grandstand.
The Main Grandstand is, as the name suggests, the main stand facing pit lane, and is also the most expensive, with children’s tickets from BHD 75.00 and adult tickets from BHD 150.00
The Bahrain Grand Prix circuit is located in the Sakhir desert at the Bahrain International Circuit, and made history as the first ever Formula 1 race to be held in the Middle East when it made it’s debut in 2004.
Public transport in Bahrain is limited, and unfortunately doesn’t cater for race fans going to the Bahrain International Circuit for the F1 race weekend. Therefore, the best way to get to the tack is by hiring a car or taking a taxi.
There are also free shuttles leaving from several high-end hotels that will take guests straight to the circuit.
Hotels include Gulf Hotel, Ritz-Carlton, Intercontinental Regency, Sofitel, Downtown Rotana, K Hotel, Best Western Plus The Olive, Ramada City Centre, S Hotel, Swiss-Belhotel Seef, Domain Hotel, Wyndham Garden, Crowne Plaza, Diplomat Radisson Blu, Reef Resort & Spa, Sheraton, Jumeirah Royal Saray, Fraser Suites Seef.
You can bet on individual races throughout the 2020 Formula 1 season, the qualifying head-to-head battle, and the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships at beteasy.com.au
Building began in Sakhir for the Bahrain F1 track at the end of 2002 (December). Clocking in at an estimated $150 million US, it took just 16 months to completed and involved importing the tarmac ingredients from England.
Designer Hermann Tilke, an FIA favourite for track design, was given a completely blank canvas to work with as no road or racing tarmac had previously been lain here. The fight to host the first Grand Prix in the Middle East was fierce with Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates all vying for an opportunity to host the event and secure a future for F1 racing in the region. As well as winning the right to hosting F1 in the Persian Gulf, the Bahrain circuit also provided a home for other motor sport events including GT races, Formula 3, drag races, as well as the Australian V8 Supercar series.
The first Bahrain Grand Prix was April 4th 2004. It was the first F1 race to be held in the Middle East. From an organisational standpoint the race went so smoothly it was award the Best Organised Grand Prix by the FIA for that racing season.
The original build was a technical 5.41 km track (3.36 miles). This is the race length most often used. Drivers complete 57 laps for a total of 308.40 km (191.63) miles. There has been one instance in the track’s history of a longer circuit used. Known as the Endurance Circuit the extension slotted in after turn four and steered drivers through a twisted section of turns, including a hairpin turn, before returning to the original track. The total length of the extended track was 6.3 km (3.91 miles). This track was used in 2010 as part of the F1’s ‘diamond jubilee’ celebrations. Due to driver complaints about the addition it’s continued use was abandoned and the original track put back in play for subsequent races.
Singapore and Bahrain are Formula One Grand Prix night races held under floodlights. Bahrain begins at sunset so has partial daylight but is completed after the sun goes down. Unlike the Singapore Grand Prix which was always planned and designed as a night race since the first race in 2008, the Bahrain circuit moved to a night race with the jubilee edition in 2010, and stayed that way. The change is partially to help with driver and spectator comfort in the desert conditions and also to align with European live television event broadcasting.
Bahrain hosts the Formula One Grand Prix early in the racing season, usually in the month of April.
The Bahrain Grand Prix event started out as the third race on the F1 calendar following Australia and Malaysia. This position mostly held firm from 2004 until 2009. There were exceptions to this, with Bahrain hosting the season opening race on two occasions. In 2006 a schedule swap took place between Australian and Bahrain for the opening due to a calendar clash with Australia hosting of the Commonwealth Games.
Bahrain again hosted the season opening race in 2010, which included the extended endurance track as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations and the first night race at Sakhir.
In 2009, 2012 and 2013 China hosted the third race on the F1 racing season calendar with Bahrain pushed back to fourth.
The 2011 race was moved to October due to civil unrest, however, due to personnel and logistic issues following the sacking of many of the Grand Prix event organisers.
In 2014 Bahrain resumed its third spot position behind Australia and Malaysia this time with China following in fourth, however, this would only be repeated on one more occasion in 2017.
More recently Bahrain has taken 2nd position on the calendar, between Australia and China for the 2016, 2018 and 2019 seasons. Even with the introduction of new races in the 2020 season, Bahrain continues to host the second race with newcomer Vietnam slotting in third place behind the Gulf Air sponsored event.
The track highlights that drivers look forward to is the challenge of executing Turn 10. The downhill left hander is tight and off-camber while the lightning fast run through Turn 12 gives drivers a chance to feel their car come to life. Overtaking is possible on the Bahrain circuit so drivers are open to fight for position on track making it quite an aggressive run especially at Turn 1, Michael Schumacher Turn where breaking needs to be exact to navigate the tight bend.
The technical track is made all the more difficult for drivers and teams alike with a wide fluctuation of temperatures between session making the perfect set up tricky to find. Desert winds, the glare of the setting sun and subsequent shadows and floodlights also add some challenges.
Bahrain has been able to treat racing fans to some fantastic dog fights through its history. The overtaking ability makes for some thrilling race-long battles that can often keep crowds guessing for place points until the very end. Less than 50% of winners have started on pole with positions repeatedly swapped and won back over the course of the night. For this reason the race action has been dubbed a duel in the desert.
The night racing makes for a stunning show with sparks flying and race colours popping under the bright overhead glow.
Many visitors enjoy the sunshine the archipelago brings as well as the spectacular resort accommodation that offer every luxury imaginable.
An entertaining feature is one of the world’s best go karting venues, located next door to the track for those who want to catch some speed themselves.
With fewer seats than other venues Bahrain limits it’s capacity to 50,000 compared to China’s 200,000. With that said, for value for money the best seats are in the Batelco grandstand between Turn 10 and 11. This spot gives you a great view of four corners, Turn 8, 9, 10 and then run down to the short-apex at Turn 11.
The 2011 Bahrain race was moved to October due to civil unrest and uprising. Due to personnel and logistic issues following the sacking of many of the Grand Prix event organisers who were reported to have taken part in protests, teams and drivers asked that the postponed race be cancelled, which the FIA allowed.
Civil unrest in the Middle East continues and is ongoing, however, it has never returned to the disruptive heights that cancelled the 2011 event.
While human rights activists and some racing teams pushed for an the additional cancellation of the 2012 race due to concerns about the Bahraini authorities abusing the rights of many of its people and concerns for safety, the race went ahead as planned on April 22nd.
The Bahrain Grand Prix organises decided in 2014 that Turn 1 would be named in respect and admiration of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and also to show support following his debilitating injury which had occurred only a few months prior.