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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 08:03 GMT 09:03 UK
Bahrain sets new standards
Michael Schumacher in action in the Bahrain Grand Prix
Bahrain's 80m circuit has been praised by Formula One chiefs, drivers and team bosses after the inaugural Grand Prix in Manama last weekend.

But Bahrain's success has put pressure on Europe's older tracks including the home of the British GP at Silverstone.

"Bahrain shows you why Silverstone really has a material problem," said Williams team boss Frank Williams.

"I've always been a supporter of Silverstone but when you are here you think oh, there is a problem."

Around 40m needs to be pumped into the Northamptonshire track to upgrade the pit and paddock complex and media centre.

Securing funding for the redevelopment, which is partly underway, remains a major problem but Eddie Jordan, whose team are based at Silverstone, says more needs to be done.

"Silverstone should up their game and if they don't they will suffer the consequences," said Jordan.

Bahrain is a great success and has really taken care of the problems we have in other circuits
World champion
Michael Schumacher
"There are too many new circuits that have come up with something unbelievable."

No expense has been spared on creating the Sakhir track in the Middle East, and particular attention has been paid to creating spacious garages and hospitality facilities.

The circuit also aims to benefit F1's show by incorporating clear overtaking opportunities, and it drew immediate praise from race winner Michael Schumacher.

"I think everyone knows I'm in love with Spa in Belgium, so that stays number one, but this is not far off," said the six time world champion.

"It's really taken care of all the problems we have in other circuits. I think it's a great success."

The three most modern circuits in F1 are now all in the developing world - Malaysia, Bahrain and China - and all are funded by government.

"It's very important for us that F1 turns from a European championship with some overseas races to a full world championship," said BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen.

"Venues like this which take the sport to a region for the first time have lifted the bar dramatically."

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