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With Abu Dhabi expected to announce its contract for a grand prix this coming Saturday, you'd be forgiven for thinking Bahrain was off the grid. You'd be forgiven, but you'd be wrong.

The small Gulf state has hosted the Bahrain Grand Prix since 2004 with an exclusive contract for the only F1 race in the entire Middle East & North Africa region, and though nobody outside the organization knows the precise terms of the contract – namely, when the exclusivity clause expires – insiders estimate that it runs out in 2008, leaving the door open for Abu Dhabi to host its own race as early as 2009. But that doesn't mean the Bahrain Grand Prix is history – they spent $150 million to build the Sakhir track and have yet to recuperate all the costs. Casting a shadow over the impending festivities in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain has announced its extending its contract with Bernie Ecclestone, possibly all the way through 2019.

The question remains over how many F1 races the region can support. With a small population, Bahrain was banking on attracting spectators (read: tourists) from all over the Middle East, but the grandstands have been conspicuously empty. And though the geo-political debate continues over Turkey's situation in Europe or the Middle East, either way it's not far away, bordering Syria, Iran and Iraq. Abu Dhabi is banking on its grand prix becoming just one part of the Yas Island development, but with that many races in a region where F1 is still an emerging field, it may be too much too fast. Then again, that's what F1 is all about.

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[Source: GrandPrix.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ignorant people like you 'rrr' are what cause others to hate Americans. Somehow you find fault with everyone else, but ignore your own major faults.
      • 8 Years Ago
      rrr, please save urself the humiliaton and stick to ur hillbilly trailer. What proof have you got that Bahrain finances terrorists??

      NONE?? Thought so

      BTW am Bahraini and proud :D
      • 8 Years Ago
      You know this sickens me. Bahrain is a country that finances terrorism, from hezbolla to hamas. These animals are trying to become human by bringing in F1 and dirtying up its name.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Because other countries, especially yours (I'm guessing that's the same as mine, the US) are so perfect, right?

      Please stop being so naive.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bet rrr is from Israel. We should hold F1 one there, problem is how would we get around that wall and steal more land from the Palistians.