The FIA have announced changes to the ‘Outer Circuit’ ahead of the Sakhir Grand Prix in response to Romain Grosjean’s crash.
On the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Grosjean speared into a barrier at the exit of Turn 3 after contact with Daniil Kvyat, causing his Haas to break into two pieces and burst into flames upon impact.
Thankfully, the Frenchman suffered only burns to his hands, but the FIA are still taking no chances after such a horrifying crash.
The barrier which Grosjean hit was of great concern for the way it separated, causing Grosjean in the cockpit to go through it, so the FIA have responded by adding tyres and conveyor belt to the barrier.
The four opening corners of the Outer Circuit are the same as those on the ‘Grand Prix Circuit’ which is used for the Bahrain Grand Prix, before Turn 13 of the Grand Prix Circuit marks the point where the Outer Circuit returns to that course.
New steel barriers have also been introduced in place of the concrete blocks which were laid down at the scene of Grosjean’s crash for the Bahrain GP restart.
A kerb has also been removed from the Outer Circuit on the approach to Turn 9 over fears it could send a car airborne.
“Following a review of the recent Bahrain FIA Formula One World Championship event with the FIA F1 Race Director, the FIA Circuit Inspector and the FIA Safety Department, the following changes will be made to the Bahrain International Outer Circuit in advance of this weekend’s forthcoming Sakhir Grand Prix,” read a statement from the FIA.
“Two rows of tyres with conveyor belt will be installed on the right hand side between T3 and T4.
“The tyre barrier on the right hand side of T9 will be extended and increased in depth to four rows of tyres with conveyor belt.
“The right hand kerb between T8 and T9 will be removed to reduce the risk of a car becoming airborne while the outer circuit layout is being used.
“These changes are in accordance with Article 5 of the FIA Circuit Licence conditions of issue, and as such the current FIA Grade 1 licence for all configurations of Bahrain International circuit remains valid.”
Now, where were we?
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) December 3, 2020
Drivers have also been warned about driving too slowly between Turn 4 and Turn 9 to create a gap for flying laps with times expected to be around or under 55 seconds.
Finally, it has been confirmed that two DRS zones will be available for the Sakhir Grand Prix.
The first will be on the short straight between Turn 3 and Turn 4, while the second zone will be along the main pit straight.