Bahrain to ‘support’ Formula 1 sprint event on outdoor circuit in 2022
Bahrain’s outdoor circuit, where the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix took place, could be used for a sprint event next season.
The sprint qualifying, which established the grid for Sunday’s race, took place three Saturdays in 2021 at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos.
The number of chances has been doubled to six in 2022 and only the Brazilian site seems likely to be successful, the other grand prix sprints reportedly being Bahrain, Emilia Romagna (Imola), Canada, Austria and the Netherlands.
It has also been suggested that the sprints might not be used for qualifying in 2022 and instead form a full-fledged “race” with a higher number of points attached, although there is no such thing as yet. clarification on Formula 1 format.
However, track officials are backing a sprint at the Bahrain outdoor circuit.
The outdoor circuit was used when an additional race in Bahrain was pressed to fill the 2020 calendar which had been decimated by the pandemic.
It took place on the shortest track in Sakhir, a week after the Bahrain Grand Prix itself won by Lewis hamilton after the horrific fireball crash from which Romain Grosjean miraculously escaped with relatively minor injuries.
The Sakhir Grand Prix, which took place over 87 laps, was most notable for two things: Sergio Perez win for the first time in Formula 1, and George Russell failed to do so due to a team’s pitstop error and subsequent puncture while standing at Mercedes while Hamilton suffered from COVID-19.
Bahrain, as in 2021, hosts the 2022 opening race weekend, March 18-20, and Motorsport.com report that practice, traditional hour-long qualifying and the grand prix would take place on the main circuit and potentially the sprint on the outside track.
Salman Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, executive director of the Bahrain International Circuit, said formal discussions have yet to take place but the idea is feasible.
“In theory we can do it and we will support whatever F1 wants us to do,” he said.
“It’s like in 2020 when they asked us to run two races – we had the outdoor track and we did.
“So yes, we would support him. But with these things, and with the teams, there will always be questions of how to run on one track and then another. So I’ll wait and see how they discuss it first.