Formula 1 returns for the start of its 2024 season, which begins in the Sakhir desert with the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix on February 29 – March 2. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of attending the season-opening race weekend!
Images: © F1Destinations
Bahrain is host to Formula 1’s season opening Grand Prix once again in 2024. It’s the sixth time that the Bahrain Grand Prix has been the opening race of the season. It first hosted the season-opener in 2006, before doing so again in 2010 on the longer Endurance layout of the track. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Bahrain has hosted the first race of the year in each of the last three seasons – but 2024 could be the last time it will do so for a while, with the timing of Ramadan likely to impact on the beginning of next year’s calendar.
As a result of Ramadan in 2024 (which begins on March 10), the Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on a Saturday, allowing F1 to hold a double header of races in the region before the religious period is observed. It means that the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix race weekend will run on a Thursday to Saturday schedule.
In 2022, Bahrain International Circuit signed a lengthy contract extension which keeps the Bahrain Grand Prix on the Formula 1 calendar until at least 2036 – the second longest contract for any current circuit. 2024 marks the 20th running of the Bahrain Grand Prix since it joined the Formula 1 calendar in 2004 as the first Grand Prix event in the Middle East. Race organisers will have a number of special events lined up to celebrate the 20-year anniversary weekend.
Night racing at the Bahrain Grand Prix
With a population of around 1.5 million – an increase of 700,000 since the sport first visited in 2004 – Bahrain is one of the more liberal Muslim countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Luxurious and exotic, the country offers a temperate climate.
The race has been held at night since 2014, meaning trackside temperatures are much more manageable for the drivers and spectators alike. Daytime temperatures hover around 25°C during March and you will be sheltered from the sun for the daytime track action, thanks to all of the circuit’s grandstands being covered. Temperatures drop as low as 18°C when the race takes place under the lights.
Heading to Bahrain for the first time? All the essential travel information you need can be found in Travel Basics.
Attendance figures on the rise at the Bahrain Grand Prix
The Bahrain Grand Prix has one of the lowest attendances on the calendar, with less than 100,000 fans visiting the circuit over race weekend. The low attendance figures are partly due to the relatively low capacity of the circuit, which is only 70,000. That’s a benefit for fans trackside, who will face less queueing time and less overcrowding than at the busier races on the calendar.
In 2019, 97,000 fans were present for the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, which was a new record figure for the event. When fans returned to the track for the first time in three years for the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, the Sunday attendance figure was 35,000 – another new record. Last year, attendance grew again with a race day crowd of 36,000 and an overall weekend attendance of 99,500.
International ticket sales continue to be on the rise at the Bahrain Grand Prix. In 2023, the circuit reported that many of its grandstands had sold out in advance of the race weekend, as a result of an increase in international ticket sales.
Yet to secure tickets for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix? The last tickets for the race weekend are available in our ticket shop and ticket packages via F1 Experiences – F1’s official ticket package partner – are still on sale.
The Bahrain Grand Prix Offers Some of the Most Affordable F1 Tickets
The Bahrain Grand Prix’s growing attendance figure may partly be attributed to the fact that the event offers some of the cheapest tickets of any race on the Formula 1 calendar. On average, tickets for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix cost $265. Average ticket prices for Bahrain did not increase between the 2023 and 2024 races. Only the Chinese, Hungarian and Japanese Grands Prix offer cheaper tickets than Bahrain International Circuit.
It’s a particularly impressive statistic, given that the Bahrain Grand Prix does not offer general admission passes; meaning all tickets guarantee you a spot in one of the grandstands. Bahrain’s Victory grandstand, located at the end of the straight before the final corner, was the second-cheapest grandstand at any track on last year’s calendar. Tickets in the circuit’s main grandstand opposite the pits are also well priced comparative to other circuits, being the fourth cheapest of the year.
Tickets are relatively affordable for local fans too. In 2023, a 3-day ticket for the Bahrain Grand Prix cost only 8.29% of the average monthly wage – behind only Singapore, Canada, Japan, Australia and Qatar.
We estimate that the average fan will spend around $800 USD on a trip to the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix. That figure includes 3-day grandstand seats, a 3-night stay in a Manama hotel, plus daily spending money.
Check out our Budget Planner for the lowdown on what you can expect to spend on a trip to the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Trackside at the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix
There’ll be plenty of on track action at this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix. As well as this being the opening round of the 2024 Formula 1 season, feeder series Formula 2 and Formula 3 will also begin their seasons.
F2 and F3 will both hold two races: a Sprint Race on Friday and a Feature Race ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday. The full weekend schedule for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix was revealed in late January, which also includes two Porsche Carrera Cup Middle East races, just like last year. The full on track schedule for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix, along with more practical information for trackside fans in Bahrain, is available on our updated Trackside page.
The good news for three-day ticket holders is that a Pit Lane Walk usually takes place on the day before the on-track action begins (which will be Wednesday February 28 in 2024). From 19:00 to 20:30, you are usually able to explore the pit lane and get a glimpse of the garages ahead of the first race of the season. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a driver or two! Details of the Pit Lance Walk for the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix have not yet been announced.
A number of popular music acts have performed at the Bahrain Grand Prix in recent years, including Afrojack, DJ Don Diablo, DJ Snake and Craig David. This year, DJs Zedd and Diplo will be performing across the race weekend on the main stage. The stage is located in the F1 Fan Zone, behind the main grandstand, which will be a hive of activity when the track falls silent and is where you can find team merchandise. You can also expect driver appearances on the main stage – likely on Thursday and Friday – though details have not yet been revealed.
Taxi, Uber or hire car are the most convenient ways to get to and from the circuit over the weekend. The organizers also offer free shuttle buses from ten hotels to the circuit and back. Find more travel information and advice on our Getting There and Around page.
If you’re staying for longer than just the race weekend, there is a wealth of things to do in the area. From historic forts and museums, to unique dining experiences and tropical island getaways, be sure to make the most of your visit! We’ve rounded up the best places to go on your Bahrain Grand Prix trip in Off-Track Activities.