Formula 1 will race on for at least the next 14 years under the lights of the Sakhir International Circuit following the extension of its contract.
Written by Hugh Waring, edited by Harshi Vashee
The Bahrain International Circuit promoter has confirmed with Formula 1 that the circuit, first held in 2004 and the first ‘modern state-of-the-art’ circuit, designed by Hermann Tilke will continue at least until the 2036 season. The promoters, who will hold the first official pre-season testing for the upcoming 2022 regulations in March, over its 17 year period, hosted 3 different layouts, including the endurance and oval circuits.
The announcement, although not surprising, follows other Middle East venues and secures itself a long-term deal on the already highly-demanding 23-race-calendar. Saudi Arabia holds a 10-year contract, and its neighbouring Arab state of Qatar also has a decade-long contract from 2023. Whilst the organisers in Abu Dhabi will remain on the calendar as the season finale until 2030.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said, "We are delighted that 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. 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.”
It shows the popularity and surge in demand of F1, following the conclusion of one of the most exciting seasons in history. In addition, to the outreach that the Netflix show ‘Drive to Survive’ has.
The Bahraini promoters concurrently have reiterated their plans to host a net-zero-carbon Grand Prix in 2022 and allow for greater inclusion of environmentally sustainable measures around the circuit. Lining up with the plans for the Kingdom to meet its Net-Zero target by 2030.
The Bahrain International Circuit CEO Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa stated, "After 18 years of F1 racing, we are proud to have played a part in F1’s rich history and we now look 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."
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