You can’t think of Bahrain without thinking of the Grand Prix, so you might be easily mistaken into thinking the race has a long history in the Kingdom. In fact, the first Grand Prix was held here in 2004, just 16 months after work began on the Bahrain International Circuit at a cost of $150million. That historic race, which saw Michael Schumacher win and reach the highest speed ever recorded on this track at 312 km h, was also the first Grand Prix in the Middle East.
The 15-turn circuit (which is also known as Sakhir) was designed by Hermann Tilke and is one of the fastest in the world, with the average speed coming in at 210 km h. The lap record was set by Pedro de la Rosa at 1:31.447 in 2005. Organisers have to spray the sand around the track with an adhesive to make sure it doesn’t blow on to it and cause problems with the race.
There have been a number of notable races at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the most famous took place in 2014. The entire race saw Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg neck and neck, with Hamilton ultimately winning. This rivalry lasted up until 2016 when Rosberg retired.
The Grand Prix is big business in Bahrain – the international circuit can hold 45,000 spectators, including 10,500 in the main pit straight grandstand, and sees hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the Kingdom every year. In fact, the government even issues a free F1 visa for spectators which allows them to visit Bahrain for two weeks.
You can buy tickets for five different grandstands: the main, Batelco, Turn 1, University and Victory. Four-day tickets for the main grandstand are BHD150, Batelco tickets will set you back BHD120, while Turn 1 tickets cost BHD100, and the University and Victory Grandstand tickets cost BHD61.
You can buy tickets for the Bahrain Grand Prix from the official Formula1 website, or from a number of resellers.
Tours of Bahrain International Circuit
Even if you can’t make it to Bahrain for the race in March 2020, you can still get a proper Formula 1 experience. The Bahrain International Circuit is open to tours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with standard admission costing just BHD6.5. For that, you’ll get to climb Sakhir tower where you’ll get a 360-view of the track, explore the race control centre and track, and you can even pick up some memorabilia at the gift store.
If you’re not satisfied with just walking the track, you can also be driven around the track in a Land Rover for BHD12.5, or try it yourself for BHD68.5. You can also try your hand at driving vehicles including Jaguars, a Renault Clip Cup or even a Radical SR1 for between BHD63 and BHD126.
To find out more about the experiences on offer, and to book on a tour, visit the Bahrain GP website here.