Bahrain International Circuit: The Formula 1 oasis in the sand dunes of Middle East
The Bahrain Grand Prix is going to commence on April 18, 2013 which is only a few days away. This exciting and prestigious event will take place in the legendary Bahrain International Circuit located in Sakhir which has already hosted some of the most popular motorsports in the world.
If you didn’t know, the Bahrain International Circuit is really special for a number of reasons. This is the very first motorsport venue that ever hosted the Grand Prix in the Middle East (in 2004). Ever since then, the circuit has been hosting a number of racing events including but limiting to drag races, V8 Supercar seasons, GP2, the annual Bahrain Grand Prix and so on. With its innovative design and characteristics it has become the top choice for some of the international and next generation Bahraini racers.
It was 2002 when the construction of the Bahrain International Circuit started as a national objective for Bahrain and it was initiated by the Crown Prince, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Although it was scheduled to host the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004, some of the critics were really concerned about its construction progress. However, the involved authority and employees managed to open up the circuit for the Bahrain Grand Prix in due time. This circuit was designed by the legendary German architect Hermann Tilke who also designed the Malaysian Sepang circuit. It took almost around 2 years and 150 million US dollars to complete the construction work. The full circuit is 6.299 km in length and consists of 6 different tracks which are the Grand Prix track (5.412 km), the Inner track (2.55 km), the Outer track (3.664 km), the Paddock Circuit (3.7 km), the Drag Strip (1.2 km) and the Oval track (2km).
The contractors made the surface of the track with Graywacke aggregate which was shipped to Bahrain from Bayston Hill quarry in Shropshire, England. The surface material is highly acclaimed by circuit authorities and Formula One drivers for the high level of grip. However, the construction of the circuit had a unique problem of its own. It was situated in the middle of the desert and it was quite difficult to keep the sand off the track. However, a genius idea to spray a special adhesive on the nearby sand around the track finally solved the problem.
The circuit made a number of achievements since it opened up. In 2007 the circuit became the first Grand Prix circuit to be awarded by the distinguished FIA Institute Centre of Excellence award. The award was given for efficient race marshal, excellent safety, and medical facilities, and for the high standards of technology required to maintain them. Although it is a very popular motorsport venue, it has been criticised on a number occasions for not penalizing the racers who move away from the track. Yet it remains as a challenging oasis for F1 racers in the sand dunes of Bahrain which is full of trills, excitement and adventure.