Formula 1’s second Bahrain race, the Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix, scheduled for December 6, will be staged on an alternative layout, on the outer circuit in order to spice the action up for the double-header on the same location.
Formula 1 confirmed the last leg of the curtailed and modified calendar of the 2020 season this week. The new schedule will see drivers contest in Turkey, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi with the track at Manama hosting a double-header event on two consecutive weekends.
The double-header in Bahrain will be the third event of such this year after the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone hosted a similar event. Despite both tracks being exciting circuits, it was evident that double races on the same venue lose some of their excitement. Formula One, therefore, searched for an alternative layout for the Sakhir Grand Prix after deciding that the field will stay in Bahrain for a second race.
„Following a detailed analysis of the circuit’s different track layouts, all of which have an FIA Grade 1 license, Formula 1 has concluded the outer circuit as the most suitable option for the second of Bahrain’s double header races,” read an F1 statement.
The track will be the second shortest circuit in Formula 1 after Monaco. While the race distance in Monaco is just some 260km, it will be the usual distance at the Outer Bahrain Circuit which will lead to the highest number of race laps at 87. The early simulations predict qualifying lap times below 55 seconds and race laps below 60 seconds.
Formula 1’s Managing Director of Motorsport Ross Brawn has revealed that the sport was keen to exploit different possibilities to spice things up for the second race at Bahrain before committing itself to the Outer Circuit.
“We are excited to announce the outer circuit as the format for the Sakhir Grand Prix and want to thank our partners at the Bahrain International Circuit for their continued support. We assessed a number of options for the alternative circuit layout and concluded the outer circuit will provide the best alternative and will provide a new challenge for all the teams and entertain all our fans with high speeds and fast lap times.”
Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of Bahrain International Circuit, said: “We thank Formula 1 for all their work in analysing options for our second race and it’s a great testament to our venue that we will be able to hold what is likely to be very contrasting races on consecutive weekends.
„Our outer track has never been used for international competitive racing, so will be a new and exciting challenge for all participants,” he concluded.