Bernie Ecclestone has visited the new Bahrain circuit near Sakhir and is hoping for a memorable first Grand Prix there next season. The inaugural event is scheduled for 4th April 2004, the third race on the calendar, and so far the work is progressing ahead of schedule. Williams' Ralf Schumacher became the first driver to complete a lap of the track last week.
The F1 chief expects Bahrain to cope well with the anticipated number of fans at the event, as well as the needs of the whole racing circus that will descend upon the area. "The Bahrainis are embarking upon an ambitious building program for new hotels and transportation links in the future. I think they will be fine," he said.
Schumacher, who drove a BMW X5 round the circuit, was impressed with the layout as designed by Hermann Tilke. "Apart from the pit straight the first layer of tarmac has been finished and already now it is quite clear that this will be a fast, demanding circuit," said Ralf.
BAR boss David Richards also visited the circuit a few weeks ago: "There is clearly a lot of work to be done before next April but the layout looks superb and I am sure it is going to prove a very challenging venue for Formula One," was his verdict.