Bids invited for F1 track

24 May 2002

The Ministry of Works has invited 14 groups to bid by 9 July for the contract to build a grand prix racetrack near Sakhir. Some 32 companies applied to prequalify in February for the scheme, which is valued at $80 million-100 million (MEED 11:1:02).

The scope of works covers the construction of a number of racetracks that will be built on a 240-hectare site. The central element of the scheme is a 5.4-kilometre-long grand prix circuit built to meet the Formula One (F1) standards of motor sport's governing body, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). In addition to the main circuit, the selected contractor will build a 1.3-kilometre cart track, a 1.6-kilometre drag-racing strip and a 2.2-kilometre oval.

The paddock area includes landscaping and the construction of temporary and permanent seating for up to 62,000 spectators. The centrepiece will be a main grandstand capable of accommodating up to 10,500 spectators. Other elements of the project are a 10-storey VIP tower, hospitality suites, a club house and a multi-purpose pit and grandstand area, and spectator parking (Construction, MEED Special Report, 5:4:02, page 34).

Germany's Tilke, which designed the Sepang international circuit in Malaysia, is the consultant. Apart from laying up to 210,000 square metres of asphalt and 68,000 square metres of concrete paving, the selected contractor will also have to deal with the technical demands of applying F1's rigorous standards to the Gulf. 'Preventing sand getting on to the track does present a challenge,' says a project source. 'But no more so than what has already been overcome at coastal circuits like Zandvoort in Holland.'

The General Organisation of Youth & Sports (GOYS), which is handling negotiations with F1's chief, Bernie Ecclestone, and the FIA, plans to have accreditation in place by 2003, ready for the start of the F1 season in 2004 (MEED 27:7:01).

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