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Bahrain extends Formula One contract to 2036

Bahrain will host Formula One until at least 2036 after signing a 10-year contract extension, officials said on Friday.

The island state became the Middle East’s first F1 host in 2004 and is now one of four Gulf countries with a grand prix.

“Since 2004 we have had some fantastic races in Sakhir and we cannot wait to be back there for the start of the 2022 championship,” F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

Bahrain will open the 2022 season in March and it hosted two races in the pandemic-hit 2020 season.

The race has frequently attracted criticism over Bahrain’s human rights record and it was cancelled in 2011 after a harsh crackdown on anti-government protests. 

The new contract underlines F1’s focus on the resource-rich Gulf after Saudi Arabia and Qatar joined Bahrain and Abu Dhabi on last year’s calendar.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes is the most successful driver at Bahrain International Circuit, with five victories.

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