F1 confirms Sakhir GP will use ‘Bahrain Oval’
By Mat Coch
Saturday 29th August, 2020 - 12:43am
Formula 1 will use the Outer Circuit configuration of the Bahrain International Circuit for the penultimate round of the 2020 season.
Organisers have confirmed the move which was first touted by Ross Brawn in June.
The 3.543 km configuration has been introduced to add variety to the second event in Bahrain.
Dubbed the Sakhir Grand Prix, it comes a week after the Bahrain Grand Prix, an event which will be run on the traditional 5.4 km layout.
It’s a circuit configuration not previously used in F1, with simulations suggesting qualifying times could drop below 55 seconds.
Throughout its history, Formula 1 has only once witnessed a sub-60 second pole position time, set by Niki Lauda at the 1974 French Grand Prix at Dijon. A 55 second qualifying time equates to an average speed or just over 230 km/h, putting it on par with the Red Bull Ring.
“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 Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsport, Formula 1.
“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, added: “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.”
In June, FIA Race Director, Michael Masi, confirmed to Speedcafe.com that there were not regulatory reasons preventing a race being held on the Outer Loop.
“From a regulatory perspective, there is nothing stopping it,” Masi confirmed.
F1 heads to Bahrain for its first weekend of racing on November 27-29, staying on for the Sakhir Grand Prix on December 4-6.