Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

Risk of sandstorms again during Bahrain GP weekend

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix weather

Posted on

| Written by

Strong winds could impact the results of qualifying and the race during Formula 1’s first round of the season, the Bahrain Grand Prix, according to pre-weekend weather forecasts.

As expected there is no rain on the horizon across the three days F1 and its supports are at the Bahrain International Circuit, but as in pre-season testing winds from several directions are likely to bring sand onto the track surface.

The most detailed, and encouraging, forecast is for Friday when the first F1 free practice session will take place in 32C heat and in fairly stable conditions. As the track condition may not evolve as it usually would due to the incoming sand, teams are likely to put in as many laps as they can in the session, which like second practice has been shortened from 90 minutes to 60 this year.

Formula 2 qualifying takes place a few hours later and faces the day’s peak of 33C, but the temperatures won’t drop much after the sun sets before F1 goes back out on track for free practice two. As Friday evening approaches, drivers will face a headwind of up to 19kph going down the pit straight.

That may prove the best conditions of the weekend. However the winds will pick up on Saturday, potentially making the final corner especially tricky during the F1 qualifying session. The latest forecast suggests 40kph winds could be coming in from the south east of the circuit in the evening. The tricky conditions could prompt a few spins, and sand in the air may pose a visibility problem, as was the case on the first day of pre-season testing.

On race day the air temperature is forecast to drop more quickly after sunset than it will on Saturday, and cooler conditions will make it easier for drivers to extract more performance from the softer compounds and benefit the teams that were fastest on one-lap pace in testing. That should also reduce graining, and may lead to the field spreading out fairly quickly in the opening stint of the race.

Once again however, it will be the winds that have the biggest impact. While it’s difficult to predict just how much sand will be picked up from the surrounding dunes, with gusts potentially as high as 50kph teams will be alert to the possibility of a sandstorm hitting the circuit on Sunday evening.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

For more updates on the track conditions during each session keep an eye on RaceFans Live and the RaceFans Twitter account.

2021 Bahrain Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix articles

Author information

Elliot Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

12 comments on “Risk of sandstorms again during Bahrain GP weekend”

  1. Is it just me, or have we not had issues with sandstorms until this year? Am I just forgetting? (probable).

    1. It’s rare, but we did have a sandstorm all the way back in 2009’s Bahrain testing.

      1. @aiii @bernasaurus 2014 testing also had some level of sandstorm IIRC.

    2. There has been unusually stormy weather in the UK too

      Reply moderated
    3. As others have noted, there have been occasional issues, but usually nothing too severe.

      If there is the risk of a severe sandstorm, I do wonder if there could be a risk of a delayed start, or perhaps even cancelled altogether, if conditions are as bad as they were during the 2009 test session – they had to write off an entire day during that test.

      Reply moderated
  2. Looking forward to a bit of wind assist then! Nice to have a random variable that the teams can’t control.
    Maybe Q3 will benefit those who go out first for their second runs, especially if the last corner is gonna be a yellow flag hot spot.

  3. That is new a qualflier in a sandstorm :) now onlu a snowstorm and we will had everything.

  4. Sandy maybe, but pleasantly warm as always.

  5. I don’t like sand. It’s all coarse, and rough, and irritating. And it gets everywhere.

    Reply moderated
  6. Great, the more wins the less settled the Mercs will be! Good for us.

  7. Ops winds, not wins

  8. I guess this incoming sandstorm might be again due to mercedes sandbagging and waiting to reveal true pace at the last moment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.