Bahrain oval will be ‘big mess’ in qualifying

Jamie Woodhouse


The oval-shaped layout which will be used for Formula 1’s second race in Bahrain will apparently cause a “big mess” in qualifying.

Formula 1 bosses recently announced four extra races to finalise the 17-race 2020 calendar.

The Turkish Grand Prix will return in 2020 whilst the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix retained its place as the season-ending event.

And between those will be two races at the Bahrain International Circuit, and the name won’t be the only difference between those two races.

The first will be the traditional Bahrain Grand Prix, but the Sakhir Grand Prix on the following weekend will be held on an oval-shaped shorter ‘outer track’.

Sub-minute lap times are expected, and in the current generation of Formula 1 cars many team bosses are expecting a “big mess” in qualifying.

Drivers backing off to find clear air for their qualifying laps is becoming a major headache at regular tracks, so the Sakhir GP will be interesting to say the least.

“For sure with 55 seconds per lap it will be a big mess on that traffic on the qualifying laps and it will be nightmare but I think it’s exciting to have different layouts of the tracks when we have a double event like this,” said Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur, as quoted by Formulaspy.

“It makes sense to do something a bit different and the advantage with Bahrain is that you have at least three configurations for the layout of the track. It makes sense, it will be a bit different to the first one. Let’s see.”

Williams deputy principal Claire Williams added: “I think that Formula 1 have done a fantastic job to try and get so many races on the calendar and to allow the teams or to facilitate the teams to be able to race in the same location twice obviously helps with a load of logistic issues that we’re facing at the moment with all these triple headers.”

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost is expecting plenty of overtaking with the cars running close together, but is also interested to see how many times the leading drivers can lap those behind.

“We haven’t yet started the simulation work but it will become… especially in the qualifying, from the traffic, maybe a little bit chaotic but entertaining,” he said.

“And in the race then we will see how it is with overtaking because all the cars are very close together and then we will see how good the top cars are and how many times they will overlap everyone.”

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