Outer Track Layout, shuffled drivers and high speed track ahead of Sakhir Grand Prix

The Bahrain Grand Prix last Sunday was the most dramatic race we've had this 2020. A lot of things happened that made headlines around the globe. It was a memorable race for most Formula 1 fans. 

But wait! There's more to this track. This race weekend will again take place at the Bahrain International Circuit, but with a slightly different and short circuit layout. The Bahrain International Circuit’s Outer Track is the shortest lap on the 2020 Formula 1 calendar at just 3.5 km. 

The Outer Track contains only 11 corners with just three are left-handers and eight are right-handers. The race will be 87 laps, the highest on the Formula 1 calendar. This is the first time that this layout has ever been used for an international race. The sport takes a big step into the unknown this weekend with the Sakhir Grand Prix. 

Not only the track is new, the driver lineups as well! With 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton out this weekend due to Coronavirus, George Russell has been handed the chance of a lifetime to race at Mercedes. George has been released by his team Williams Racing to join Mercedes for this weekend in Bahrain and possibly in Abu Dhabi as well. 

Pietro Fittipaldi will debut in Formula 1 as well. He will step in for the injured Romain Grosjean who will take time to let the burns he got from the last race heal. Pietro Fittipaldi is the grandson of two-time champion Emerson Fittipaldi. He recently finished fifth in the Formula 3 Asian Championship and won the World Series Formula V8 3.5 title in 2017.

Jack Aitken will also make his Formula 1 debut, stepping in for William's George Russell. He is a veteran of 67 Formula 2 races across the past three years. Aitken is the official test and reserve driver for Williams. The team said that it is "thrilled" to be able to grant the 25-year-old his Formula 1 debut.

It is predicted we will see the highest average speeds in a Grand Prix this weekend, just like in Monza - the Temple of Speed. With that high speed, the race comes an added risk of danger. But it is unlikely that we will witness accidents like those of Sunday. 

We will also expect that there will be as many passes as the last race. But the high speeds will make slip-stream a probability. 

"It will have a very different feel. We will need to run with lower downforce to match the high-speed nature of the circuit, but with the same tire selection as last weekend, it will be a challenge to find the right set-up. Of course, many of the corners will be familiar to us, but with such a short lap, traffic will be an issue, and the sessions will feel hectic. Qualifying is likely to be much closer, and who knows, maybe a new track will bring some surprises on Sunday." said Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.