The track layout for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has been revised for 2010, it was announced today.

The changes mean the circuit distance will be extended from 5.412 kilometres to 6.299 kilometres.

"The new track extension offers a challenging loop of corners and height changes reaching out into the Sakhir desert to bring fresh challenges and exciting overtaking opportunities in readiness for the 2010 event," read a statement from the organisers.

"While the iconic desert circuit will retain its unique character, the new loop will sweep left as the cars accelerate out of the existing Turn 4 and take them into a fast flowing right-hander before a complex sequence of five bends brings them back towards the original circuit.

"From here they will accelerate through a left-right kink before a tight and challenging hairpin brings them back on to the existing circuit, adding eight new corners to what is already one of the drivers' favourite venues."

"The loop was completed in 2006 as part of the built-in evolution of the venue for competitors and fans," explained Zayed R. Alzayani, chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit. "We gave it its debut with the inaugural 24 Hour Race of Bahrain that same year where it proved extremely successful, and with the changes to the regulations, the teams and the driver line-ups in F1 this year it is the perfect time to evolve the circuit with this new challenge and new overtaking opportunities."

"The BIC was built to set new standards for international motor sport and F1 is the pinnacle," added Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, acting CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit. "As the sport evolves and grows it is entirely fitting that we use our unique geography and circuit design to grow with it and deliver the best racing and entertainment that we can."

The 2010 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will mark the first race in F1's 60th anniversary season, running on March 14.