Start, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

F1 can use Bahrain’s short track but not Silverstone’s – Masi

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 can race on Bahrain’s Outer Circuit, race director Michael Masi has confirmed.

The FIA representative told Speedcafe there is no reason why it couldn’t hold an event on the track, which has FIA grade one status.

“From a regulatory perspective, there is nothing stopping it,” explained Masi, who is in his second season as F1’s race director.

Formula 1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn raised the possibility of F1 racing on Bahrain’s ‘oval like’ short course in addition to the full-length grand prix track this year.

However F1 could not do the same for its two races Silverstone, which has shorter national and international track configurations, as they do not possess the necessary grade one licence.

Bahrain Outer Circuit
An F1 race on Bahrain’s “almost oval” Outer Circuit is a smart idea
“Unfortunately we didn’t have that option so much for either Austria or Silverstone,” Masi confirmed. “But if there are other events such as Bahrain that come up with that, and it’s seen as another way of trying to achieve something, then why not?”

At 3.543 kilometres, Bahrain’s Outer Circuit is almost 2km shorter than the grand prix track. The race distance would have to be increased by 30 laps to 87 in order to meet F1’s minimum race distance of 305km.

The FIA’s minimum length requirement for Formula 1 circuits is 3.5km. Silverstone’s International Circuit measures 2.979km. Monaco’s grand prix track is 3.34km long, but is given a dispensation to hold its round of the world championship.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 20 comments on “F1 can use Bahrain’s short track but not Silverstone’s – Masi”

    1. Again, Monaco’s lap-length is 3337 m or 3.337 km, not 3.34X. It was 3.340 km from 2003 to 2014.

      1. Hemingway (@)
        15th June 2020, 9:04

        Do you know what rounding is? I think they teach it in year 4. Anyway, the exact length is 3.33743228721km.

        1. @theessence
          @mashiat
          Still, rounding up to the nearest 10 meters can be misleading, hence, better to be (more) precise.

          1. Ironically, “misleading” in this sentence is actually misleading.

            It should have no bearing on your life whatsoever, unless you have dangerous levels of OCD.

            1. @ho3n3r “Misleading” is only incorrect if you are using the definition that implies deliberate action. It is perfectly possible for a sentence with good intention to make someone think it means something other than what it actually means and be correctly termed “misleading”, and that is likely to be what Jere meant.

              Circuit lengths are usually rounded to the nearest metre, unless the digits to be rounded are dropped – as here. (The book Formula One 2020 has Monaco as 3.339 metres, which would indicate Keith’s figure already is rounded pretty strictly). However, the nature of the article makes me think we are probably all nit-picking ;)

            2. It is perfectly possible for a sentence with good intention to make someone think it means something other than what it actually means

              So I guess @ho3n3r‘s ironically calling misleading misleading is misleading.
              @alianora-la-canta

              PS I wonder what Mrs Lea Thomas-Ding was called before she married Mr Thomas.

      2. @jerejj It would be different if it said 3.340 km, but since the article stated 3.34 km, it’s evident that they rounded it up to the nearest 10 metres.

    2. “The FIA’s minimum length requirement for Formula 1 circuits is 3.5km.”

      Is there any logic or specific reasoning behind this other than just having picked an arbitrary number at some point in the past? As Monaco has a dispensation I would guess not but I genuinely have no idea. Surely, even if it’s a one-off for the exceptional circumstances we’re currently in, they could waive the rule and see how it goes to freshen the back-to-back races up a little?

      1. As far as I can tell, it is a random arbitrary number. The FIA has a formula which determines the maximum number of cars that can safely race in any given track depending on type of car, length and width of the track. But if you apply those formulas to the short layouts at Austria and Silverstone International you get 31 cars as the limit.
        I imagine then safety is the reason why those tracks aren’t Grade 1. But even then those could have been easily adapted. If you think about it, only one corner has to be revised as the rest of the track already meets Grade 1 standards. And as a one-off it would have been awesome

        1. Just put a load of Marshall’s on that new corner to mitigate any possible problems.

        2. @ofitus21 The highest-powered category (which F1 is in, and pretty much nothing else in Europe) has a cap of 30 cars anyway, even at a place like Shanghai where the raw calculations would probably allow 40+ cars.

          The biggest reason more tracks aren’t Grade 1 is because each grade is more expensive than the one below it. If one is not anticipating any F1 cars on one’s track, and it’s in Europe, it’s cheaper to just go and get a Grade 2 for that particular layout, since it doesn’t restrict other series based in Europe. This is especially true for the likes of Red Bull Ring and Silverstone, which already have one perfectly servicable Grade 1 layout…

          Bahrain, I think, always wanted some flexibility on where it put its F1 cars, which is why all of its circuit layouts have Grade 1 listing.

          Safety is another reason why layouts don’t get Grade 1 status. I’ll also add that it would be difficult for the FIA to put in the necessary inspections to consider granting new exemptions to track layouts (or indeed upgrade inspections for layouts that only have Grade 2 for budget reasons) in a timely fashion due to restrictions imposed at the current time.

      2. @hawkii I think there came a point where the FIA decided most short tracks weren’t suitable for high-powered racing cars, though I’m not clear whether that was on safety, repetition avoidance or some other grounds. (Monaco was exempted because of established prestige and impossibility of changing it to become compliant). 2 miles and below is a typical definition for a short circuit in Imperial figures, and a larger figure was used to give the next metric round figure up (amusing, given I’ve just commented on a separate rounding question).

    3. It would be cool however to have the second Silverstone race in the pre-2010 layout, the track is still there as are the run-off areas, all they have to do is relocate some barriers…

      The same could be said about Austria, using the old Osterreichring circuit, but it would take a great investment and time to make the old layout usable. At least it’s possible to do it in the future, unlike Hockenheim’s long circuit.

      The could however make minor changes to other tracks that have expressed interest to hold double races, like Algarve. They could use on the first weekend the basic layout with the ‘wider’ 1st corner, the tight hairpin at the back straight and the long last corner…and on second weekend they could use the ‘Bahrain-style’ 1st corner, the wider hairpin at the back straight and the double apex last corner. Just to mix things a little bit.

      1. @black And cut through some spectator area, and move the gates out of the way, and find alternative places to put the marshalling resources because some of those have been repurposed since then (notably, there’s now a bus stop to help with moving people between paddocks and spectator areas on the pre-2010 layout), and take out the fence that’s in part of the runoff because the part on the other side is now decorative space that needs re-landscaping to make the rest of the run-off work…

    4. I would really love to see that Bahrain layout tried, we don’t have tracks like that anymore, it’d be fun to see it tried. Again, it might be boring, but at least it’d be a challenge for the teams. And in terms of engine wear, presumably we still have the same limitations but less races which should compensate.

    5. So let me get this straight, Baku with its castle section is allowed but Silverstone (I assume Bridge corner) isn’t??

      1. One is very slow, one is very fast

        1. One has no run-off and if a car hits the wall sideways in the race, it can block the entire track with the other drivers not seeing it instantly because it’s a blind spot…and the other has plenty of run-off and great visibility

      2. Just to say I believe the entire section needs to be retarmac’d, also.

      3. @pimbers4955 Yes. Though Silverstone may be track length or non-expectation of needing multiple Grade 1 layouts more than any particularly insuperable corner issues.

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