The Bahrain in-season test struck a four-hour delay when unforeseen rain hit the circuit on Tuesday.
After a sandstorm in Bahrain on Monday, Tuesday’s early running – which included Mick Schumacher’s debut for Ferrari – took place in cool and overcast conditions. After a short delay to the start of the opening day due to a late track inspection, the first rain started to fall at 11:30am, and although there was a brief gap, it returned within an hour to bring a halt to running.
It was a full four hours until the weather improved enough for cars to return to the track, with Lewis Hamilton and Schumacher the first two to venture out and test the conditions.
The length of the delay was due to a lack of suitable tires; teams having selected their own allocations for testing rather than using mandatory sets. The tiny likelihood of a wet Bahrain meant that none of the teams requested any of the intermediate or wet compound tires from Pirelli, and thus had to wait for the track to be dry enough for slicks.
Teams discussed extending the track time until 20:00 local time due to the weather – the Bahrain International Circuit features floodlights that allow running after dark – but it is likely unanimous agreement was required, and in the end the idea was abandoned.
As well as Schumacher’s Ferrari debut, there was plenty of interest surrounding Fernando Alonso’s return as the Spaniard carried out tire testing duties for Pirelli in a 2019 McLaren.