The Formula One season in Bahrain is back once again, and Bahrain is proudly hosting the first race in the season. Thousands of F1 fans are welcomed to the Kingdom as a series of celebrations and events are lined up to mark the racing reason.

The 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix is held from March 18-20. The establishment of the Bahrain International Circuit and Bahrain’s hosting of the F1 was a ground-breaking event in 2004, with Bahrain becoming the first Middle Eastern country to host this race, in what was designed to be the first desert track.

F1 pre-season testing for 2022 has been divided between Barcelona and Bahrain. The Bahrain events have employed the traditional format; with fans in attendance, and live TV coverage. The test was run during the week before the 2022 F1 opener.

It is clear that the core F1 teams look forward to the Bahrain leg of the racing. Formula One is a much-needed boost to Bahrain’s economy and provides hundreds of jobs; as well as the indirect benefits to the tourism industry, catering business and other businesses which benefit from the inflow of visitors, cash, advertising, investment and media attention.

This is a period of national celebration and a huge proportion of Bahrainis have purchased tickets to witness some of the racing. Others simply head for the circuit area to enjoy the associated entertainments and breath in the festival, racing vibe.  

Facts about the track

The circuit lies close to the western edge of Bahrain Island, and is surrounded by desert. The local topography is mostly flat, but the circuit itself does have significant variations in elevation. The difference between its highest and lowest points is 18 metres.

The Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir is 5.412 km long. The cars racing in the 2018 Grand Prix will have to complete 57 laps. This contrasts with Bahrain’s 6.3 km Endurance Circuit which was used in 2010 to mark the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Formula One.

The circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke, a German architect who also designed Malaysia’s Sepang Circuit. The circuit cost approximately $150 million to construct. It has six separate tracks, including a test oval and a drag strip.

The long straights of Bahrain’s track give it a reputation as a power-dominated circuit. The circuit has 15 corners, including three hairpin bends.

The lack of rain (averaging just 70 mm of rain per year) or storms means that drivers don’t usually have to worry about unpleasant surprises from the weather. However, strong winds can be a factor. Construction of the Sakhir circuit was initiated by the Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The Crown Prince is the Honorary President of the Bahrain Motor Federation.

The track is made up of crushed Greywacke aggregate rock from a quarry in Shropshire in the UK.  In the desert climate, sand blowing onto the track can be an issue. Among the measures to deal with the sand is the practice of spraying glue on to the sand around the track, which clumps the sand together and makes it less prone to blowing onto the track.

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