Honda F1 website

DECEMBER 16, 2003

Bahrain Circuit sees first action

Ralf Schumacher has become the first Formula One driver to complete a lap at the all new Bahrain International Circuit. Accompanied by members of the Bahrain International Circuit committee, Ralf was given a tour of the facilities at the new circuit and was happy to be the first driver to experience the track.

Commenting on the visit, Ralf said, "This was the first time I have been to a racetrack at this stage of construction and I found the experience extremely interesting. There is clearly a lot of work being done and I think the Bahrainis are building a very exciting track. From my drive around this circuit it is obvious that it will be fast, challenging and very demanding. It has a combination of slow and very fast corners with a very, very long straight. The most important thing in Formula One is overtaking and today I have seen three opportunities for that, so this will be great fun for us, the drivers but also for the fans to watch."

The 5.410km track is being prepared to be the first circuit in the Middle East to host a race of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Although, there is still much work to be done and crews are working around the clock in order to insure they are prepared for next seasons race. Next year's race will take place in the third round of the championship in the desert to the south of the Kingdom's capital city of Manama on April 4th, 2004.

Ralf Schumacher commenting on the desert location said, "My only concern is sand getting onto the track, but the circuit officials have promised to build a high grip surface to avoid such problems."