Repaired drain cover, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Drains which halted testing twice removed ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix

Formula 1

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Formula 1 has taken steps to avoid a repeat of the problem which brought testing to a halt twice in Bahrain last week.

A drain on the drivers’ right-hand side as they approach turn 11 at the Bahrain International Circuit has been filled in and painted over after its covering came apart during the test last week.

Running stopped for over an hour on Thursday and Friday last week after the covers were damaged by passing cars and lifted onto the track. One cover punched a small hole in the floor of Charles Leclerc’s new Ferrari, leading the team to fit a replacement.

The Ferrari driver said he was “lucky” his collision was not as serious as that of team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr when he hit a broken water valve cover during practice for the penultimate round of last season in Las Vegas.

Max Verstappen suspects the performance of modern Formula 1 cars, in particularly the downforce generated by their floors, may be causing more problems with coverings in track surfaces.

“With the ground effect cars, probably it’s a little bit worse,” he said. “But also it seems like we’re driving in places that not a lot of other cars are going, in terms of opening up corners.”

The Bahrain International Circuit features several flat kerbs which drivers cross in places in order to widen the racing line on the entry to corners and carry more speed in.

Practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix will begin at the circuit at 2:30pm local time tomorrow. The race weekend has been shifted a day earlier than usual in order to ensure the first two rounds of the championship, which both take place in Middle Eastern countries, are completed before Ramadan.

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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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22 comments on “Drains which halted testing twice removed ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix”

  1. Good & Bahrain’s Thursday-Saturday is solely about the one particular rule, as stated in an earlier article, without which the standard Friday-Sunday pattern would apply since only Saudi Arabian GP is affected by Ramadan timing anyway.

  2. Coventry Climax
    28th February 2024, 12:18

    As far as I can find on the internet (e.g., Ramadan 2024 starts monday, 11th of march.
    So how does this interfere with racing on sunday?

    1. Apparently this

      Ramadan for the year 2024 starts on the evening of Sunday, March 10th lasting 30 days and ending at sundown on Monday, April 8.

      Then allow 7 days between…

      1. Coventry Climax
        28th February 2024, 13:26

        But racing dates in Bahrein are feb 29th – mar 2nd, that’s a week before Ramadan.

        1. As that poster was trying to explain to you, because races have to have a minimum gap of 7 days between them, if the second race of the season is pushed back by one day, then the first race also had to be pushed back by one day to maintain that minimum gap.

          1. the gymnastics this calendar is doing to still accomodate the request to start the season there, rather than just start the season in Australia and move these races after Ramadan, is quite amazing.

          2. As that poster was trying to explain to you, because races have to have a minimum gap of 7 days between them, if the second race of the season is pushed back by one day, then the first race also had to be pushed back by one day to maintain that minimum gap.

            Indeed, so “anon”, and it’s a fact that has been explained, somewhere around here, previously, but some folks have short memories.

          3. Coventry Climax
            29th February 2024, 9:22

            @Anon Ah, OK, that’s a clear answer. Didn’t know the rules mandate racedays to have a minimum gap of 7 days.

            @SteveP: And some folk have an inability to correctly gather, combine and interpret information. Did it occur to you that some articles -here or elsewhere- may be skipped by some readers?
            Can we be friendly towards each other again, now? Or have I incited a new grudge with you now?

  3. Coventry Climax
    28th February 2024, 12:27

    They’re not expecting any new rain then, removing covers and filling the holes up.
    The odds are indeed probably quite low, but it’s still a gamble, not a permanent solution.

    I’d almost hope to see the circuit flooded and hear the FiA say it couldn’t be predicted..

    1. Given hardening time for concrete or asfalt, don’t be surprised if part of the road is lifting instead of the drain covers.

      I wish I could write they know what they are doing.

  4. At the risk of being un-popular maybe this is a good time to put the giant sausage kerbs on the outside of the kerbs with the drains the otherside so that a car would have to ground itself if it wished to open up the corner.

    1. Coventry Climax
      28th February 2024, 13:35

      And launch cars again, have drivers with severe back and neck issues, and massive damage to essential (for safety too) floors.
      They’re not curbs, they’re ramps; a stupid idea and should never, ever, have been introduced in the first place.

      These 50m signs before corners, why do you think they’re from polystyreen and not concrete?
      Your argument: Should be fine as they’re not supposed to drive there anyway?

      1. So the solution is to make the drain covers out of polystyrene, then.
        Using steel is clearly just encouraging them to drive there.

        You’ll notice, though, that drains are usually further off the track than marker boards are….

        1. Coventry Climax
          29th February 2024, 9:26

          See my reply to SteveP, higher up. Applies to you most of all.

  5. Here’s the thing …
    Was anyone expecting a wet Bahrain GP … ??

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      28th February 2024, 13:47

      Just wait. When we have the GP we might have some now you’ve said that!

  6. All we need now is for the material used to fill them in to subside and crack up so the cars ens up with a big pothole instead.

  7. All drains? Or just these two?
    Do we wait until the drivers find more, then repeat one drain at a time?
    F1 needs to be proactive, not reactionary.

    1. All drains? Or just these two?

      Well, the photo shows the whole set on the approach to turn 11 filled.
      However, filling the entire set of drains all around the circuit?
      Wow, where on earth would they find that much sand at short notice? ;)

  8. my innocent idea of a drain is something heavy with huge slots in that air couldn’t get a grip on, even with a total vacuum over it. What is it about these drains that makes them suckable upable, anyone know? I mean, even if it’s some kind of pan underneath, it’s vented, or could be. Have they asked Adrian?

    1. Lewisham Milton
      28th February 2024, 16:50


  9. I hope they double checked all other drains and covers as well, just to be certain.

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