Formula 1 could use an oval style track layout if it hosts two races in Bahrain later this year, according to managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn.
The new F1 calendar is still being finalized beyond the confirmed first eight races in Europe, with three more events of the existing 2020 events expected to be officially cancelled later this week. Austria and Silverstone are already hosting two races each, and there is increased certainty over ending the season in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, with the former offering the potential of some unique alternative track layouts.
“One of the nice attractions of Bahrain is it has many configurations, so we could go to Bahrain and race on two different tracks there,” Brawn said in an interview with F1.com. “There’s a nice sort of almost oval track that would be quite exciting, and all the layouts have a Grade 1 license with the FIA, so that is an option in the pocket.
“Using two configurations involves quite a lot of work for the riggers – for example, the timing needs setting up for two tracks, so you need plenty of notice. That’s something we have to take into account.”
F1 has never held a standalone race on an oval circuit, although the Indy 500 has previously counted towards the world championship. The sport has also hosted a round at Indianapolis on the street course that used the Turn 1 banking in reverse, while venues such as Zandvoort have incorporated banked corners into redesigns.
Bahrain has multiple layouts, with a short and severe banking that links the pit straight with a drag strip adjacent to the main back straight between turns 10 and 11. Brawn is likely to have been alluding to an outer circuit that incorporates the first sector, then after Turn 4 features four changes of direction before linking up with the penultimate straight.
In 2010, an endurance layout was used to mark the opening race of F1’s 60th world championship season, extending the circuit length from 3.3 miles to 3.9 and adding an extra eight turns. However, it was not well received by drivers or fans due to the slow nature of the corners that were not conducive to exciting racing.