Charles Leclerc of Monaco drives the Scuderia Ferrari SF90 at the Bahrain International Circuit, in 2019. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/MARK THOMPSON
Charles Leclerc of Monaco drives the Scuderia Ferrari SF90 at the Bahrain International Circuit, in 2019. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/MARK THOMPSON

Mumbai — Formula One will hold the second of its two Bahrain races around a shortened, fast layout that will take cars less than 55 seconds to lap in qualifying, the sport said in a statement on Friday.

At 3.543km, the 11-corner layout which makes up the “outer circuit” of Bahrain’s Sakhir desert track, will be the second-shortest in F1 behind Monaco, which was not raced this year.

Simulations show cars will be able to lap the layout in less than a minute during the race, which will feature the highest number of laps at 87.

Branded the Sakhir Grand Prix, the second race in the Gulf island kingdom will take place on December 6, a week after the country’s Bahrain Grand Prix, which will be run as usual around the longer 5.4-km “international layout”.

It will also be held as a full night race, with both qualifying and the race run under floodlights. The Bahrain Grand Prix will remain a dusk-to-dark race.

The Sakhir circuit will be the third venue to host more than one race in F1’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.

“We assessed a number of options for the alternative circuit layout,” said F1’s MD Ross Brawn in the statement. “[We] concluded that 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.”

F1 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 is concluded in Abu Dhabi on December 13. 

Reuters

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