To coincide with Formula 1’s® 14th visit to the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend, here’s 10 Fast Facts about the Bahrain Grand Prix. Will we see another thriller under the desert stars in 2018?
The layout of the Bahrain International Circuit (sometimes known as “Sakhir” after the area where it is located) was penned by F1’s® go-to track designer, Hermann Tilke. The circuit was constructed at a cost of $150m USD ahead of the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004.
Fernando Alonso Most Experienced…and Most Successful
Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen are the only current drivers to have taken part in the first Bahrain Grand Prix at the circuit. The desert track has been good for the Spaniard; Alonso has recorded three victories in the Bahrain Grand Prix and holds the joint record with Sebastian Vettel for most wins at the circuit.
Ferrari have been the most successful constructor in Bahrain, notching up five victories to date. Mercedes have won three times, with both Renault and Red Bull winning twice respectively. McLaren is yet to record a victory in Bahrain, which is one of just three current circuits (the others being Baku City Circuit and Sochi Autodrom) where the Woking-based squad have not won.
In 2010, the Bahrain Grand Prix was run on a longer version of the Bahrain International Circuit. The 6.299km “Endurance” circuit featured 24 corners (as opposed to 15 corners for the regular 5.412km “Grand Prix” circuit). Ultimately, it didn’t prove a hit with drivers and hasn’t been used since.
The same drivers occupied the top three steps of the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2012 and 2013. Sebastian Vettel won both races for Red Bull, while the Lotuses of Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean finished second and third respectively in both years.
Michael Schumacher’s Turn
Following Michael Schumacher’s skiing accident in late 2013, the first turn hairpin at Bahrain International Circuit was named in honor of the seven-time World Champion, who won the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix in the all-conquering Ferrari F2004. It remains the only turn at the circuit with a name other than a number.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the event, the Bahrain Grand Prix was held under lights for the first time in 2014. The $17m USD investment, which saw the installation of 495 lighting poles and 4500 light fittings, immediately paid off as the first night race featured a memorable wheel-to-wheel duel between the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and is widely considered a modern classic.
Rosewater Instead of Champagne
The sale of alcohol is not banned in Bahrain (like it is in neighboring Saudi Arabia), but there are still restrictions. F1® teams are not allowed to display the logos of alcohol sponsors, and the top three drivers have to make do with a non-alcoholic rosewater drink called Waard for their podium celebrations instead of the traditional champagne.
The Bahrain International Circuit is surrounded by desert, and sandstorms in this part of the world are not uncommon. To minimize the amount of sand blowing on to the circuit, the organizers spray a sticky adhesive substance onto the surrounding desert before the race weekend.
Mercedes With the Momentum
The most successful team in the hybrid era is Mercedes, who have won three out of the past four races. Lewis Hamilton won in 2014 and 2015, and Nico Rosberg in 2016. Will we see another Mercedes victory in 2018, or will Sebastian Vettel continue his winning start to the season in the Ferrari?
Don’t get left at the lights. Secure your Official Ticket Package to the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix today.