The Bahrain International Circuit is a modern, Hermann Tilke-designed Grand Prix circuit set in the middle of the Bahraini desert. It opened in 2004 to hold the first Formula 1 race to be held in the Middle East. Normally an early round of the World Championship, it was the opening race in 2006 after Melbourne delayed its race to avoid clashing with the Commonwealth Games. As with many of its contemporaries, the circuit at Sakhir has been accused of being somewhat bland although its desert location does give it a unique atmosphere. It was chosen as the opening round of the 2011 World Championship but the race was postponed and then cancelled amid popular unrest in the Gulf State.