Haas F1 Team: Bahrain/Sakhir Grand Prix Advance

F! Round 15/16: Bahrain & Sakhir Grand Prix Preview

KANNAPOLIS, North Carolina (November 23, 2020) – Formula 1 is beginning the final stretch of the 2020 campaign and the next two grands prix will take place in Bahrain – but on different circuit layouts.

The championship’s first voyage to the island nation, the name of which derives from the Arabic for ‘two seas’, took place in 2004 and since then the Bahrain International Circuit has twice held the honor of opening the season. In 2014 it switched to a twilight event, with floodlights lining the complex, and for 2020 it was set to hold the season’s second round, just a week after the planned Australian opener. But the coronavirus pandemic forced a total restructure and Bahrain will instead host two events as Rounds 15 and 16 of the 17-event season.

First up is the Bahrain Grand Prix, which will take place on the usual grand prix layout at the Bahrain International Circuit. The 5.4km circuit features four long straights with heavy braking zones and slow-speed turns, allowing plentiful overtaking, but a set-up compromise is needed due to the medium and high-speed corners through the middle sector of the lap.

And for the third time this year Formula 1 will stay on in the same country for another grand prix. But in a deviation from the repeater rounds in Austria and Britain the track layout will been tweaked for Bahrain’s second event, titled the Sakhir Grand Prix – the district in which the venue is located – with Formula 1 set to utilize the ‘Outer Layout’ for the first time in history.

The circuit is characterized by three lengthy full-throttle sections and a smattering of heavy braking zones, and comes in at just 3.5km, making it the shortest track on the current calendar. Simulations predict that a hot lap during qualifying could take only 55 seconds, making it the shortest-timed lap in the 70-year history of the championship, with a whopping 87 laps needed to reach the race distance. Organizers have also thrown in another curveball by making the Sakhir Grand Prix a fully-fledged night race compared to the twilight Bahrain encounter.

Haas F1 Team and drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen have previously thrived in Bahrain. Grosjean captured back-to-back podiums upon his first two visits to Bahrain as a Formula 1 driver and went on to claim a stunning fifth position in only Haas F1 Team’s second outing in the championship back in 2016. Magnussen repeated Grosjean’s fifth place two years later and last season Haas F1 Team got both drivers through to the top 10 shootout during qualifying.

The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place across November 27 to 29, with lights out for the 57-lap race at 17:10 local time (09:10 EST/14:10 GMT), while the Sakhir Grand Prix will run from December 4 to 6, the 87-lap encounter getting underway at 20:10 local time (12:10 EST/17:10 GMT).

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