Preview Sakhir GP | A short and fast circuit in the desert

02-12-2020 15:42
F1 News
Preview Sakhir GP | A short and fast circuit in the desert

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Formula 1 needed to significantly adjust the calendar in 2020. Some tracks had their events cancelled, some classic circuits have returned, and a few locations have hosted multiple races. We saw this at the start of the season in Austria, a little later around Silverstone and now Bahrain is organising a second Grand Prix. However, it is different from the two aforementioned locations.

A shortened circuit

The circuit in Bahrain was used for the Grand Prix last weekend and that on the normal layout which has been used before for an F1 race. Unique to the circuit, however, is that all possible layouts have an official FIA Grade 1 license, so there is more variety available. This was not possible in Austria, where there is no alternative layout at all and in Silverstone the variants were not officially approved.

Two races in a country at the same location can be boring, but can also provide a spectacle. What Bahrain has, in any case, is that the layout is different and that comes with two important points. First of all, there has never been a Grand Prix on this variant, so it is new for the drivers. Also, it is a very short variant, because a lap could be done in 54 seconds.

At 3,543 meters, the circuit is on the short side and has three long straights, which are interspersed with relatively sharp turns. Halfway through the circuit, most of the action on the steering wheel occurs between turns four to nine, but the pace will still be very high. Primarily because of the straights and of course the short length of the track. This also ensures that the Grand Prix consists of 87 laps.

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Young circuit

The construction of the circuit started in December 2002, based on the design of Hermann Tilke. Due to the flat environment, the designers were given quite a lot of space in designing the layout.

The first Grand Prix in Bahrain was in 2004, won by Michael Schumacher. This was on the normal layout. Next Sunday's alternative layout will be used in F1 for the first time, and "new" circuits on the calendar have already created a spectacle this year. It remains to be seen whether this will also be the case on this relatively young circuit.

Weather forecast

The last thing you expect in the desert is rain, but last week some drops fell in Bahrain. This weekend the temperature will fluctuate around 20 degrees and the chance of rain is of course almost nil. So it will be a warm and dry Grand Prix.

Prediction Sakhir GP

Next Sunday's race will be very interesting for several reasons. The new layout will take some getting used to for drivers. It is such a fast track and the lap will be finished in less than a minute. Red Bull Racing stayed close to the Mercedes last Sunday, but whether this will also be the case this weekend remains to be seen. Nevertheless, there are certainly opportunities for Verstappen to return to the podium.

Much more interesting is of course what is going on at Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas has a tough job with Lewis Hamilton, but the 2020 World Champion will be sitting this race on the sidelines after a positive COVID-19 test. This basically gives Bottas free rein to show the best of himself and claim a win, but he will have to battle with George Russell.

It is a special situation because Russell is picked as an active driver from Williams to fill in for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. With this, the talented Brit finally gets his chance at the top team and that allows him to score points and put himself in the spotlight. Russell has proven to be a good driver, but how well will he do in a Mercedes?

So the eyes will be mostly on Russell because now is the time for him to show himself. Jack Aitken, meanwhile, takes Russell's place at Williams and with that, that driver also gets a chance in Formula 1. While this is all going on, Racing Point will now really want to do everything possible, because after a winless weekend they must score to earn points in the constructors' championship. They want to overtake McLaren again who are 17 points ahead.

Timetable Sakhir Grand Prix (UK Times)


First free practice: 13:30 - 15:00

Second free practice: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


Third free practice: 14:00 - 15:00

Qualifying: 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM


Race: 5:10 PM - 7:10 PM

This article was written and originally published by Lennard on the Dutch edition of

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