A new F1 grand prix venue is taking shape in Sakhir, Bahrain and Saudi-based CARtoday.com reader Anton Esterhuizen recently took an impromptu tour of the circuit's construction site.

A new F1 grand prix venue is taking shape in Sakhir, Bahrain and Saudi-based CARtoday.com reader Anton Esterhuizen recently took an impromptu tour of the circuit's construction site.


On April 4, the Bahrain Grand Prix will be held at a brand new circuit, which is situated about 25 to 30 km south from the capital Manama. Anton says that the Gulf has been swept with F1 fever and the local Bahraini hotels are cashing in by pushing up their normal rates by as much as five times when booking out the (sparsely) remaining accommodation.


Anton and his family live in Al-Khobar in Saudi Arabia, where he works for a British-based multinational. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is connected to Bahrain via a 22-km bridge/causeway and on February 3 Anton undertook what he called a "fact-finding" mission to the track.


At the time, Grand Prix officials told him that the track was 92 per cent complete, but upon reaching the track he was quite surprised at the status of construction. "Unless the definition '100 per cent complete' has changed from 'all facilities 100 per cent complete' then there could be no way that the track, as I saw it, was 92 per cent complete," Anton said.


Sneaking past construction supervisors in his Nissan X-Trail, Anton negotiated the construction terrain and eventually ended up on the track itself. "The X-Trail has a huge sunroof and my rear passengers elevated themselves outside the cab and took some digital pictures (shown here)," he said.


"These pictures give you some idea of what the track currently looks like. At the time, parts of the track were incomplete (such as the first turn at the university grandstand) and many of the planned stands had not yet been constructed (first turn, last-turn and university grandstands).


Speaking to CARtoday.com on Monday, Anton added: "What the pictures don't reveal is the undulating topography of the circuit. I am a big F1 enthusiast and I guarantee that the first corner of the race will be very dramatic. The pit straight is particularly long and it flows into a very tight first corner with a steep camber".


Furthermore, Anton saw "no parking areas to speak of for the thousands of fans" and "adequate highway access on the last stretch to the track". However, the event carries with it so much prestige for the small island Kingdom that it can be expected that the grand prix circuit will be finished on time, even if F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone saw to it himself, Anton quipped.


Anton will soon make a return trip to Sakhir and has promised to keep CARtoday.com and its readers up to date with the state of the track's development. Watch this space.

Original article from Car