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F1 confirms fast, shortened layout for Sakhir Grand Prix

(Reuters) - Formula One will hold the second of its two Bahrain races around a shortened, fast layout that will take cars less than 55 seconds to lap in qualifying, the sport said in a statement on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Bahrain Testing - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain - April 2, 2019 Mick Schumacher during testing for Ferrari REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

At 3.543 km, the 11-corner layout which makes up the ‘outer circuit’ of Bahrain’s Sakhir desert track, will be the second-shortest in Formula One behind Monaco, which will not be raced this year.

Simulations showed cars will be able to lap the layout in less than a minute during the race, which will feature the highest number of laps at 87.

Branded the Sakhir Grand Prix, the second race in the Gulf island kingdom will take place on Dec. 6, a week after the country’s Bahrain Grand Prix which will be run as usual around the longer 5.4-km ‘international layout’.

It will also be held as a full night race, with both qualifying and the race run under floodlights. The Bahrain Grand Prix will remain a dusk-to-dark race.

The Sakhir circuit will be the third venue to host more than one race in Formula One’s COVID-19-delayed season, with Austria’s Red Bull Ring and Silverstone in England both hosting two races.

It will, however, be the first to use an alternative layout.

“We assessed a number of options for the alternative circuit layout,” said Formula One’s managing director Ross Brawn in the statement.

“(We) concluded the outer circuit will provide the best alternative and will provide a new challenge for all the teams and entertain all our fans with high speeds and fast lap times.”

Formula One unveiled a fleshed-out 17-race 2020 calendar earlier this week. The second Bahrain race is set to be the penultimate round before the season concludes in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 13.

Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Mumbai; editing by Toby Davis

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