Bahrain given huge contract extension by Formula 1

Jon Wilde
Max Verstappen takes the lead at the start of the Bahrain GP. Sakhir March 2021.

Max Verstappen takes the lead at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sakhir March 2021.

Formula 1 have announced the Bahrain Grand Prix is the latest race to be given an extended contract – for a whopping 15 years.

Yes, that means Sakhir will be staying on the calendar until 2036 after playing a large part in the sport’s efforts to keep a full schedule going during the pandemic.

Bahrain hosted two races towards the end of the 2020 campaign as F1 reached a total of 17 grands prix in a much-delayed start to the campaign.

The first of those will be most remembered for Romain Grosjean’s horrific fireball crash. The second, a week later, took place on the Outer track at the Bahrain International Circuit and provided Sergio Perez with his first F1 victory for Racing Point after George Russell, filling in for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes due to illness, suffered bad luck when looking set to win.

The connection between Bahrain and F1 strengthened further last year when pre-season testing took place there, as it will in 2022 a week before staging the curtain-raising grand prix on March 20. It will be the second campaign in a row when Bahrain has hosted the first race.

F1 initially arrived in Bahrain in 2004 and will now be where fans first get to see the new generation of cars in action following this year’s big technical regulation changes.

“I am delighted we will be racing at the Bahrain International Circuit until 2036, where more incredible racing and excitement will be on show to thrill our fans,” said the sport’s CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“Since 2004 we have had some fantastic races in Sakhir and we cannot wait to be back there for the start of the 2022 championship as we begin a new era for the sport.

“Bahrain was the first country in the Middle East to welcome Formula 1 and it has a very special place in our sport, and I personally want to thank HRH Prince Salman and his team for their dedication and hard work throughout our partnership and look forward to the many years of racing ahead of us.”

 

Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, chief executive of Bahrain International Circuit, said: “After 18 years of F1 racing, we are proud to have played a part in F1’s rich history and we are now looking forward to continuing to build on that heritage well into the future.

“The growth and interest in motorsport in Bahrain and the Middle East has significant momentum, with a new generation of fans embracing our great sport and we look forward to continuing that progress.”

 

PlanetF1 Verdict

 

Bahrain staying on F1 calendar to 2036

Formula 1 have announced Bahrain will be staying on the calendar until 2036.