Skip to content

First Bahrain F1 night race a resounding success

Apr 7, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Race Getty Images

For many years, Bahrain has been considered to be at the bottom of the list of “great grands prix” that currently have a place on the calendar. Following a great deal of political unrest in the kingdom in the wake of the Arab Spring, and the subsequent cancellation of the 2011 race, many expected the race to disappear from the sport altogether. Would it have been missed? Probably not. Mark Webber once said that racing at the Bahrain International Circuit was like driving around a car park. With dwindling attendances and a lack of atmosphere, it was hardly a race people relished.

So when the organizers confirmed that the 2014 race – the 10th Bahrain Grand Prix – would be a night race, many wrote it off as being another gimmick; a last roll of the dice to try and give the event some life. Singapore was at the time the only total night race in the sport, but it worked because of the location and the way that the race was promoted; the “Monaco of the east”, a glamorous event that attracted the rich and famous.

But Bahrain? That would not work as a night race, surely.

Instead, the doubters (including this writer) were proved very wrong last weekend. Not only did the on-track action give us a classic grand prix, but the off-track activity and atmosphere seemed to be a world away from what it used to be. Hundreds of floodlights were erected to illuminate the circuit, and this worked perfectly for the drivers who had no problems with visibility.

Around the circuit, the palm trees and run-off areas were draped in golden lights that came on as the sun went down, creating a quite beautiful overhead shot of the circuit.

It might seem quite odd, but the fact that we could not see the desert in the background went a long way to helping us to forget that this is essentially a grand prix in the middle of nowhere. The grandstands also appeared to be busier this year, with the main straight cheering and cooing at every bit of action before spilling out onto the circuit come the checkered flag.

Just as Qatar has proven to be a successful night race in Moto GP, Bahrain has pulled a similar trick in Formula 1. It was indeed the “celebration” that the organizers promised to mark the 10th anniversary of the first race, and it comes as little surprise that before the weekend had even finished, officials confirmed that they will be keeping the race as a night-time event from now on.

Formula 1’s foothold in Bahrain has never been stronger, and in 2015, we might actually earmark the race as being a highlight for the season ahead.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR on NBC’s Jeff Burton partakes in Twitter Q&A

    Jan 28, 2015, 9:34 PM EST

    Jeff Burton AP

    NASCAR on NBC’s Jeff Burton reaches out to fans during an impromptu Twitter Q&A.

  2. Hinchcliffe on Mazda’s year-on-year growth: “It’s night and day”

    Jan 28, 2015, 7:30 PM EST

    HinchMazda AP

    IndyCar’s James Hinchcliffe raves about the year-on-year improvements by the SpeedSource Mazda program.

  3. Cindric on Barnhart: “We need somebody we know”

    Jan 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EST

    TimCindric2 Getty Images

    Team Penske’s Tim Cindric discusses the “known quantity” of Brian Barnhart.

  4. RCR names two female drivers to development program, including daughter of Wally Dallenbach Jr.

    Jan 28, 2015, 5:54 PM EST

    Kate Dallenbach (photo courtesy Richard Childress Racing) Kate Dallenbach (photo courtesy Richard Childress Racing)

    Richard Childress Racing announced it has added two female drivers to its driver development program, including the daughter of driver-turned-broadcaster Wally Dallenbach Jr.

  5. A day in the life: Check out how CFHR’s Josef Newgarden spends a typical offseason day (VIDEO)

    Jan 28, 2015, 5:15 PM EST

    newgardenpost Getty Images

    Take a look at a day in the life of Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden during the offseason.

  6. Brad Keselowski: Hard to believe it’s his sixth season with Penske already

    Jan 28, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    keselowski las vegas 2014 Getty Images

    Although he’s looking ahead to the 2015 season, Brad Keselowski did a bit of reminiscing Wednesday.

  7. NASCAR: Joey Logano talks about Penske camaraderie – and his lost wedding ring

    Jan 28, 2015, 4:30 PM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    After breakout 2014, Logano looks ahead to an even better third year with Team Penske.

  8. IndyCar preseason driver meetings almost a “Where’s Waldo” in finding drivers currently rideless

    Jan 28, 2015, 4:15 PM EST

    IndyCarSillyRd1 Getty Images

    IndyCar’s preseason driver meeting just might reveal some clues about who could fill the remaining seats left for 2015.

  9. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA’s Media Tour coverage continues at 4:30 p.m. ET

    Jan 28, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    NASCAR Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour  - Day 3 Getty Images

    Coming up: Interviews with the drivers of Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Team Penske. Plus, a look back on a shocking upset at the 1990 Daytona 500.

  10. Johanna Long to run select Xfinity, Truck races for new team in 2015

    Jan 28, 2015, 3:29 PM EST

    johanna long Getty Images

    After being sidelined in 2014, Johanna Long will drive a number of races for a new race team in both the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series in 2015.

  11. Leavine Family Racing: There may be no ‘I’ in team, but there’s a lot of family in it

    Jan 28, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Michael McDowell is looking for an even better season in 2015 as he enters his second year with Leavine Family Racing. Getty Images

    While a small, one-car team that makes just over half the races of the season, there’s a lot of heart and motivation in the family oriented Leavine Family Racing team.

  12. NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson recovering from mild stroke

    Jan 28, 2015, 3:06 PM EST

    Brandon Davis, David Pearson Brandon Davis, David Pearson

    A family release issued Wednesday through NASCAR’s communications department said Pearson suffered the stroke Dec. 9 “but is doing great and well on the road to recovery.”

  13. Brian Barnhart returns as IndyCar’s new race director

    Jan 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    BarnhartGetty Getty Images

    Former IndyCar race director Brian Barnhart will return to his old role for 2015.

  14. NASCAR: Wood Bros. plan expanded 18-race Cup schedule for Ryan Blaney (VIDEO)

    Jan 28, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Ford EcoBoost 200 Getty Images

    Six more events “tentatively” added to the Wood Brothers’ 65th anniversary season.

  15. LeBron James’ agent involved in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s hunt for sponsorship

    Jan 28, 2015, 2:31 PM EST

    LeBron James LeBron James

    Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said the team set up a meeting for Wallace with Maverick Carter, the agent who oversees much of James’ business empire.

  16. Richard Petty Motorsports seeks sponsorship for 26 races for Hornish

    Jan 28, 2015, 1:12 PM EST

    Sam Hornish Jr Sam Hornish Jr

    Richard Petty Motorsports seeks sponsorship for 26 races for Sam Hornish Jr.’s team this season.

  17. F1: Red Bull’s Horner confident that RB11 will be ready for Jerez test (VIDEO)

    Jan 28, 2015, 1:02 PM EST

    Christian Horner AP

    Horner also speaks with NBCSN’s Will Buxton about efforts from the team’s engine manufacturer, Renault, to ensure a much smoother start to 2015.

  18. F1: Force India will skip first preseason test in Jerez

    Jan 28, 2015, 12:33 PM EST

    Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg AP

    Force India opts to concentrate on getting its new 2015 car ready for the second preseason test at Barcelona.

  19. Hornish fitting in quite well with Richard Petty Motorsports

    Jan 28, 2015, 12:15 PM EST

    hornish AP

    Sam Hornish is fitting in quite nicely in his new role with Richard Petty Motorsports.

  20. After 2014 Chase berth, Aric Almirola expects “breakout year” for Richard Petty Motorsports

    Jan 28, 2015, 11:56 AM EST

    Oral-B USA 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Last year’s July winner at Daytona thinks RPM’s momentum will continue to grow in 2015.

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2286)
  2. J. Clements (1749)
  3. K. Schrader (1737)
  4. K. Grala (1616)
  5. M. Waltrip (1541)