THE second of Bahrain’s two Formula 1 races later this year will be held on the Bahrain International Circuit’s (BIC) 3.543-km outer track, it was announced yesterday.
The shortened, fast layout in Sakhir will take cars less than 55 seconds to lap in qualifying, said a statement.
The Formula 1 Rolex Sakhir Grand Prix is scheduled for December 4 to 6.
“Following a detailed analysis of the circuit’s different track layouts, all of which have an FIA Grade 1 licence, Formula 1 has concluded the outer circuit as the most suitable option for the second of Bahrain’s double header races,” said a BIC statement.
“The Grand Prix will be a full night race with both qualifying and the race taking place later in the evening compared to the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix taking place the previous weekend (November 27-29) on the usual 5.412-km international track layout.”
The outer track has contrasting characteristics compared to the international track layout and will have the highest number of race laps at 87 and be the second shortest circuit in Formula 1, after Monaco, which will not be raced this year.
“Formula 1 simulations predict qualifying lap times below 55 seconds and race laps below 60 seconds,” the statement added.
The Bahrain International Circuit, in collaboration with The Bahrain Motor Federation and the FIA, will be working over the coming weeks to ensure all elements of the track are prepared and tested according to current standards for an F1 race.
“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,” said BIC chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa.
“Our outer track has never been used for international competitive racing, so will be a new and exciting challenge for all participants.”
“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,” said Formula 1 managing director of Motorsport Ross Brawn.
“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.”
The Sakhir circuit will be the third venue to host more than one race in Formula One’s Covid-19-delayed season, with Austria’s Red Bull Ring and Silverstone in England both hosting two races.
It will, however, be the first to use an alternative layout.
Formula 1 unveiled a fleshed-out 17-race 2020 calendar earlier this week.
The second Bahrain race is set to be the penultimate round before the season concludes in Abu Dhabi on December 13.