Home  //  Circuit Guides Formula 1 Bahrain (Sakhir)
Written by @Damien_Marquez   
Wednesday, 04 April 2018 23:24

The Bahrain International Circuit is one of two tracks hosting an F1 round in the Middle East. Unlike its Abu Dhabi neighbour, the track layout in Bahrain is more suited to wheel-to-wheel action with the braking zone at Turn 1 providing most of the overtaking opportunities.



Tower and Turn 1 Grandstand - Image: Force India Formula One Team Limited


The event has massively grown in popularity since switching to a night race format in 2014. There is a real atmosphere now that the grandstands are full on race day despite Sunday being a working day in Bahrain. Furthermore, the cars look magnificent under the floodlights, the facilities are top notch and it is one of the few grands prix where you do not need to pack your rain gear for the weekend!


Support categories include the first round of the F2 championship and also feature the last two races of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East. Off-track activities include concerts from Carlos Santana and Disclosure in 2018 (Enrique Iglesias, Avicii and many others in the past) roaming performers, dancers, musicians and a kid tent with to entertain children and families when there is no track action.

 

CONTENTS

1 // Location and accommodation
2 // Money matters
3 // Ticket prices
4 // Which grandstand to choose
5 // Tips and recommendations
6 // Useful links to prepare your trip to Bahrain



1 // LOCATION AND ACCOMMODATION


Travel advice remains somewhat unchanged since the unrest that occurred in 2011. Australian authorities still advise to reconsider your need to travel to Bahrain. The British and Canadian Foreign Offices recommend to exercise a high degree of caution due to protests, demonstrations and the threat of terrorist attacks. You should be vigilant, avoid large crowds and demonstrations and be alert to local and regional developments. Please note the Bahrain authorities have suspended diplomatic relations with Qatar since in June 2017 and showing sympathy for Qatar on social media or by any other means of communication is an offence for which you could be imprisoned and subject to a substantial fine.


We recommend you find accommodation in Manama, either in the Diplomatic Area where some of the F1 personnel stay for the weekend, or Juffair where many expats live. Avoid Shia-majority areas, including the Sanabis area, Hamad town, Saar, Budaiya and the Sitra area.


It takes approximately 40 minutes by car to drive the 30km that separate Manama from Sakhir where the circuit is located. Whilst there is no public transport option, the track is easy to get to by taxi. There also are free shuttles going to the circuit up until 4pm and back to Manama from 4pm to 11pm. Check with the hotel before you book for added convenience although you do not need to stay at the hotel where the pick up points are. Other options includes taxis and hire cars with chauffeur.



Main Grandstand on Friday Practice - Photo: Sauber F1® Team / Sauber Motorsport AG


2 // MONEY MATTERS


As for most grands prix, the biggest share of your budget will be allocated to the airfare. Purchase airfares as soon as the FIA World Motor Sport Council ratifies the F1 calendar in December. Tickets for the grand prix only go on sale in late December soon after.

Return airfares to Bahrain start from:
- A$2,500 (1 stop) or A$2,100 (2 stops) from Melbourne
- $200 from Dubai
- £800 (direct) or £600 (1 stop) from London
- €800 (direct) or €600 (1 stop) from Frankfurt
- $1,200 from New York

Four-night accommodation from: BD120 / $320 / £260 / €310 for a four star double/twin room with a review score of 7/10 or more on Booking.com.

Visa: Aside from Thai nationals, all foreigners need a visa to enter the kingdom. A two-week F1 Visa is free of charge and is issued on arrival at the border.

Taxi:
- Airport to Central Manama: BD6 / $16 / £13 / €15
- Airport to circuit: BD15 / $40 / £33 / €38
The above prices are for a one-way journey, unless of course, your hotel offers a complementary shuttle/limousine service.

Food and drinks: BD100 / $270 / £220 / €260 per person for five days, although local meals start from BD2 / $6 / £4 / €5.

Internet access: BD6 / $16 / £13 / €15 for a SIM card and about 6GB of mobile data. Depending on which country you come from, roaming can be quite expensive, especially if you're planning the stream BBC Radio 5 Live for commentary at the track. Both Batelco and Zain offer competitively priced prepaid mobile 4G data plans.

TOTAL BUDGET from (excluding flights and race tickets): $650 / £500 / €600 for a solo traveller or $900 / £750 / €850 for a couple. You could always do it with cheaper accommodation, just beware the reputation of some midrange hotels.



University Grandstands - Image: Force India Formula One Team Limited


3 // TICKET PRICES


There is a 20% discount on grandstand ticket purchases made by mid-January which becomes a 15% discount until the 20th February. Three-day grandstand tickets include a pit walk on Thursday at 5pm. One free car park pass can be issued for a minimum of thee spectators. Tickets for access to the air-conditioned Hospitality Tent located between the Main and Turn 1 Grandstands can be purchased in addition to a grandstand ticket. Please note there is no general admission.


A multitude of others discounts on full price tickets are available for children aged 3-12 (50%), school students aged 13-17 (25%), university students (10%) senior citizens aged 60 and over (25%), people with special needs (25%) and Gulf Air frequent flyers (15%).



Click to enlarge


Prices in the currency from the ticket resellers (BIC in white cells or BOOKF1 in orange cells) are in bold. Exchange rates are sourced from xe.com and based on the highest rate since the last Bahrain Grand Prix. Grandstand and add-on ticket prices have been rounded up to the nearest $10 / £10 / €10 whereas hospitality tickets have been rounded up to the nearest BD100 / $100 / £100 / €100.



Image: Bahrain International Circuit




4 // WHICH GRANDSTAND TO CHOOSE


Unsurprisingly for the location, all grandstands are covered. Whilst this may be of little use after sunset, you will appreciate the protection from the sun and the heat during Practice 1, Practice 3 and the support races. There is a TV screen installed opposite all of the grandstands, which have reserved seating only.


The Main Grandstand boasts views of the team garages and gives the opportunity to see the cars at the start/finish line. It is also a comfortable place to watch the action unfold on one of the three TV screens located on the roof of the pit building. That said, it offers a limited experience as far as track viewing is concerned and there are no seats that allow watching the cars above the catch fence.


The Turn 1 Grandstand is placed alongside the Main Grandstand at the braking zone of the main straight. Spectators sitting in one of the top rows and close to the Main Grandstand can watch the start and finish of the race. Everybody else will see Turn 1 drama and overtaking action as well as cars exiting the pit lane. The view covers roughly the same piece of tarmac as the much cheaper University 1 and 2 grandstands except that Turn 1 seats are mostly directed towards the rear of the cars going through Turns 1, 2 and 3. The safety fence between cars and spectators also prevents from taking great pictures despite overlooking a slow section of the track.


University 1 and University 2 are probably the best value grandstands in Sakhir. From there, cars can be followed from the Turn 1 braking zone through to Turn 3. From the top rows, you can also watch the action at Turn 9 and Turn 10. University 2 spectators can also see the beginning of the back straight. Of these two grandstands, only University 2 offers some views of the cars above the debris fence. The TV screen is perfectly located between the two grandstands.


University 3 offers similar views to University 2 except that it is further away from the TV screen located between University 1 and University 2.


The Batelco grandstand is located in the Oasis complex, behind the Formula 1 paddock. From there, you can watch the cars going from Turn 7 to Turn 10 as well as the back straight. The section between Turn 8 and Turn 9 is seen unobstructed from the catch. As such, it is probably the best place to take pictures from. There's only one TV screen for this large grandstand, so make sure to select a seat in the middle section for a better viewing experience.


Victory 1 offers a good view of the cars coming from the back straight and into Turns 11 and 12 without the catch fence being in the way. Cars can be seen again on the last straight between Turns 13 and 14. The grandstand has its dedicated TV screen. There is limited food and beverage choices and access is strictly via an internal shuttle bus linking the Victory grandstands from the Main grandstand. This will somehow limit your movements around the facilities.


The Victory 2 grandstand is placed at penultimate corner to watch the cars going through the last two turns leading to the main straight. It is also possible to follow the cars through the fast flowing Turns 11 and 12 from a distance. Just like Victory 1, it has its own TV screen opposite. Cars can only be viewed above the safety fence for a very short period of time, just before and after Turn 15. Access to the grandstand is also only available via the internal BIC shuttle bus.



View from Batelco Grandstand - Photo: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool


5 // TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Expect temperatures to be in the region of 27-30°C and a humidity of up to 90%. For your comfort, wear light cotton clothing (bearing in mind the local sensibility) and avoid applying too much moisturiser as this will make you sweat more. Check the labels before you buy some team gear to wear at the track. A lot of items are made of nylon or polyester.


The hospitality tent is located between the Main and Turn 1 grandstands. This is the only place for non-hospitality ticket holders to cool down in an air-conditioned environment and the only place serving alcohol (beer and wine) at the circuit. It offers a relaxing environment with comfortable couches and TV screens to follow the on-track activities whilst you cool down a bit. Please note this add-on pass can only be bought from BOOKF1 in conjunction with a grandstand ticket.

The event commentary is provided in both Arabic and and English over a single channel. It is broadcast in the grandstands through the PA system and is also available on 107.0 FM. It is a good idea to bring an FM radio and a set of canalphones to block off the excessive noise from the cars, even if they are not as loud as in the past. If you have enough data and battery, consider streaming commentary from BBC Radio 5 Live via TuneIn or a similar app.



Batelco Grandstand - Photo: Sauber F1® Team / Sauber Motorsport AG


6 // USEFUL LINKS TO PREPARE YOUR TRIP TO BAHRAIN


smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Bahrain - Bahrain travel advice from the Australian government
gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bahrain - Bahrain travel advice from the British government
travel.gc.ca/destinations/bahrain - Bahrain travel advice from the Canadian government

bahraingp.com - BHD ticket sales and event information
bookF1.com - our GBP/USD/EUR/AUD/CAD ticket sales partner
GPTicketshop.com - our USD ticket sales partner

Booking.com - our reliable hotel reservation partner
evisa.gov.bh/VisaBhrF1En.html - F1 Visa information and application portal
batelco.com/mobile/prepaid/ - telecommunication services
www.bh.zain.com/en/personal/mobile-plans/prepaid/eezee-prepaid - telecommunication services
timeoutbahrain.com - restaurant, nightlife, arts and culture guide
lonelyplanet.com/bahrain - travel guide
www.formula1.com - general information and schedule

 

Finally, we would like to thank the Media & Public Relations department of the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) for responding to our information queries.

Have you been to the Bahrain Grand Prix? Share your experience in the 'Write a Review' section of this website or leave your comments below.

Bahrain Grand Prix spectator guide
 

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