- Circuit type Race
- Circuit Length 6.299kms
- Circuit Turns 23
- Circuit Direction Clockwise
- Capacity 50,000
- Established 2004
- Designer Hermann Tilke
|First race||Bahrain Grand Prix||April 4, 2004||Michael Schumacher (GER)||full results|
|Last race||Bahrain Grand Prix||March 31, 2019||Lewis Hamilton (GBR)||full results|
Located in the middle of nowhere, the circuit has been described of having all the charm of an airport departure lounge, although some of the more modern airports might be offended by the comparison.
Like many sporting arenas in the Middle east, its existence is down to the enthusiasm of enthusiast Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and funding from government-backed investment companies. A racing enthusiast, the Crown Prince is the honorary president of the Bahrain Motor Federation.
As is the case with many of the new generation of circuits BIC was designed by Hermann Tilke and contains five different track layouts within the complex. Work started in late 2002 and was completed in time for the first grand prix in March 2004. There were changes made ahead of the 2010 race to try to improve the event as a spectacle but these achieved little.
Being surrounded by sand dunes, one of the major worries has been sand on the track which can reduce tyre adhesion considerably as well as affect engines and other parts. Although the organisers sprayed the surrounding sand with an adhesive to keep it in place, although this keeps the majority of the sand off the track organisers regularly sweep the surface during a race weekend.
While the facilities are superb, the heat means the only spectators are housed in the main stands - to try to watch from anywhere else would mean risking frying - and as a result the atmosphere on large sections of the circuit is too often eerily quiet.
The circuit itself consists of 20 slow to medium-speed corners which means cars need to be set up for good traction.
In 2007 it became the first active grand prix circuit to be named as an FIA Centre of Excellence for safety. The land around the circuit is currently being developed to provide much-needed hotels (the nearest large hotels are in Manama) as well as facilities for industry, education and entertainment in a project reported to be costing US$2billion.