On the Way to Sakhir GP: race schedule
Sakhir GP: New track layout, new drivers – the big preview as F1 takes giant step into the unknown
After a remarkable week in Formula 1, the sport takes a big step into the unknown this weekend with the Sakhir GP – as a reshuffled grid of drivers take on Bahrain’s super-fast ‘Outer’ track, with sub-minute laps, and plenty of excitement, predicted.
New driver line-ups, a new circuit layout – it’s set to be one of F1 2020’s most thrilling challenges at the end of a dramatic season.
Lewis Hamilton, after testing positive for Covid-19 following his Bahrain GP win last weekend, and Romain Grosjean, receiving treatment for minor burns after his death-defying crash in that race, will both be absent – which in turn has handed three drivers big opportunities.
So a new line-ups for this week-end. George Russell is swapping his Williams for a championship-winning Mercedes car to take Hamilton’s place, with F1 debutant Jack Aitken stepping in at the Grove team, while Pietro Fittipaldi – grandson of two-time champion Emerson – will also make his bow in the sport with Haas.
Even the race schedules will not be the same, check out the full schedule below…
Race schedule (UTC+1)
Friday 4th December:
- Free Practise 1 14:30-16:00
- Free Practise 2 18:30-20:00
Saturday 5th December:
- Free Practise 3 15:00-16:00
- Qualifying session 18:00-19:00
Sunday 6th December:
- Race 18:10-20:10
The Sakhir ‘oval’ guide: F1 records set to be smashed
Following back-to-backs in Austria (Austrian GP, Styrian GP), and Silverstone (British GP, 70th Anniversary GP), Bahrain is the latest to have two races at the same venue. Except, it’s not the same track…
The Sakhir circuit – which hosted last Sunday’s incident-packed Grand Prix – has been transformed to feature fewer corners, and produce much faster laps. In fact, the fastest laps in F1’s history are expected.
The ‘Outer’ track features just 11 corners in all, and with around 74 per cent of the lap at full throttle it has been predicted that times in qualifying will be around the 55-second mark. That would break a 46-year F1 record if that were to be the case, as there is only one track which has had sub-minute laps in the past, Dijon – the former home of the French GP.
The oval-shaped layout, which has never been used for any international race, follows the same route as last weekend until Turn Four, when there is a mini twisty middle sector before it rejoins the Bahrain GP circuit, for the final two turns and two long straights.
As well as quick qualifying laps, it’s set to be chaos on Sunday, too, with plenty of overtaking possible during the 87-lap – the highest on the F1 calendar – race.