This year, thanks to the pandemic, two races will be held on the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. The first is on the main track that has long been the location of the Bahrain GP. However, for the first time, the second route, which is the outer route, is used. This circuit is fascinating as it almost mimics a layout that resembles IndyCar ovals in that it has very few turns, mostly long, twisty straights broken into less than a dozen turns. In terms of distance, it is the second shortest route after Monoco with a distance of 3. 543 kilometers. It will also be a full night event for both qualifying and the race.
The race will have the most laps ever driven in an F1 race. It will take 87 laps to ensure that the minimum distance of 305 kilometers is reached. According to simulations, this is likely to break the record for the fastest F1 lap. Both race and qualifying laps are expected to cross the minute mark for the first time in the history of the sport.
The qualification times are expected to be under 55 seconds and the race times under 60 seconds. The previous record for the shortest lap time was achieved in 1974 by the late great Nikki Lauda in Dijon-Prenois for the Ferrari with 58. 79 seconds. Most recently, Valtteri Bottas drove in the first race of the year at 1 minute 02 in the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian GP. 939 seconds.
Given the speed of the track, setups with low downforce should be preferred. The track uses curves 1, 2, and 3 of the standard track before breaking into a series of fast sweeps and returning to the main track on curve 13.
Qualifying will be hectic as the lap is very short. More importantly, however, cars with less drag and higher engine speeds are more effective. This means that anything with a Mercedes engine will be impressive on this circuit, although tires could play a big role as this circuit has never been used for an international sport before.
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Formula 1, Bahrain Grand Prix
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