Bahrain, Formula 1's first grand prix venue in the Middle East, enters its second decade on the calendar in 2015 with the race having been reinvigorated last season by a floodlit spectacular.
Last Updated: 09/02/15 5:53pm
Bahrain, Formula 1's first grand prix venue in the Middle East, is now in its second decade on the calendar with the race having been reinvigorated last season by a floodlit spectacular.
While off-track political controversies had dogged the event since 2011, when it fell off the schedule, 2014 undoubtedly produced the most memorable grand prix in the event's first 10 years when race day was staged under floodlights and Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg waged an intense fight for victory.
Located on the outskirts of island Kingdom's capital city of Manama, the Sakhir facility is still very much situated in the middle of the desert. That inevitably means it is one of the dustiest tracks anywhere on the F1 calendar, despite the organisers' best attempts to - would you believe - spray glue the sand.
With air temperatures invariably also in excess of 30 degrees, the three-day grand prix weekend is one of the most physically gruelling for the drivers and mechanics and at the end of the daytime races it is not uncommon to see some of the grid's biggest names looking even more exhausted than normal on the podium.
The circuit's stop-start nature also places a premium on the brakes with four straights around the lap punctured by slow hairpins.
As one of the first of the new wave of grand prix venues to join the calendar in 2004, Bahrain raised the bar in terms of the quality of facilities needed to make the grade in F1, even if the 3.9-mile layout itself received something of a lukewarm reception.
Following accusations that it wasn't exciting enough, and in response to the grid's expansion from 18 to 24 cars, a twisty infield loop was added for the 2010 season-opener. However, not helped by a particularly processional race, the extension to the lap failed to find much support and the new-look was quickly shelved.
Before the unforgettable 2014 edition, Sakhir's best race probably came in 2006 when Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher's dueled for the win - one of two times Bahrain has been given the honour of hosting the season-opener.