One of Bahrain’s two proposed grands prix at the end of the 2020 F1 season could revert to using a different layout so as to shake up what could become the final round of the year.

The Bahrain International Circuit – which made its debut on the F1 calendar in 2004 - has been constructed with multiple configurations, all of which currently hold the FIA Grade 1 licence needed to hold an F1 race, as demonstrated in 2010 when it used the longer, more twisting Endurance layout.

With Bahrain close to agreeing a deal that would see the originally planned March event shifted to the tail-end of the 2020 schedule, most likely in December, with two races on back-to-back weekends, the opportunity could therefore be taken to use one of the alternative configurations.

According to Ross Brawn, he is keen on the use of the ‘Outer Circuit’, which he describes as ‘almost an oval’.

The layout would see the first sector unchanged, before reverting to part of the Endurance layout at Turn 4 and take in two fast sweeps at Turns 6 and 7. However, while the Endurance layout reverts back to the twisty infield at Turn 8, the Outer Circuit straightens out at Turn 8 and 9 and re-joins the downhill run to the final corner.

At 3,664km, only the Monaco circuit would be shorter but with three long straights and only ten corners, the Bahrain Outer Circuit would see significantly faster lap times under one minute.

“One of the nice attractions of Bahrain is it has many configurations, so we could go to Bahrain and race on two different tracks there,” Brawn told F1.com “There’s a nice sort of almost oval track that would be quite exciting, and all the layouts have a Grade 1 licence with the FIA, so that is an option in the pocket.

“Using two configurations involves quite a lot of work for the riggers – for example the timing needs setting up for two tracks so you need plenty of notice. That’s something we have to take into account.”

A different layout at Bahrain could be just one of several curve balls F1 may throw as it determines the latter half of the condensed season.

With seven races now cancelled and several more unclear, F1 has two venues – Portimao and Mugello – on standby even though the series has never visited them before. Hockenheim could also be included, despite not featuring on this year’s original calendar, while a return to Imola is also on the cards.

 

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