The Bahrain Grand Prix will remain on the Formula 1 calendar for another 15 years, having been granted a major contract extension through 2036.
The race was the season opener in 2010 but more recently was one of the key venues utilized by F1 to keep racing through the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting two rounds on different layouts in 2020 and then the only pre-season test and first race last year. It will remain the opening race this year and has now been rewarded with a long-term extension that cements its place on the calendar.
“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,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said. “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.”
Bahrain’s extension comes at a time of great expansion for F1 in the Middle East, as races are also now held in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Bahrain International Circuit CEO Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa says that growth has played a part in the size of the commitment the track was willing to make.
“After 18 years of F1 racing, we are proud to have played a part in F1’s rich history and we now looking forward to continuing to build on that heritage well into the future,” Sheikh Salman said. “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.”
Bahrain will also host the second pre-season test this year in March, following the first test in Barcelona from February 23-25.