F1 could use 'almost oval' Bahrain 'Outer Circuit' for second 2020 race

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Formula 1 is considering using Bahrain's 'Outer Circuit' layout for a second Grand Prix towards the end of this year.

On Friday, the Singapore, Azerbaijan and Japanese GP's were all officially cancelled due to the coronavirus, leaving F1 with a considerable gap in their 2020 calendar.

Alternatives are on the table though, with the Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit now likely to host the team's 1000th Grand Prix in September, while Hockenheim, Imola, Portimao and even Jerez have been named as other potential destinations.

Therefore, while it may seem F1 could struggle to reach their minimum target of a 15-race season, motorsport director Ross Brawn remains confident.

“Things are moving fast, but we still have time,” he said via the official F1 website. “We have lots of different options and we’re very confident we’re going to have a great second half of the season.

“There is a contingency to have an extended European season with another one or two races if needed. I think Bahrain and Abu Dhabi will be the backstop of the season from what we can see at the moment. That gives us 10. We’ll find at least five or six good races in the middle."

Another idea to spice up the schedule is to use alternative layouts at one circuit, with the vast majority of racetracks offering more than just their known F1 design.

Bahrain is one such track with six different layouts possible, and F1 has taken advantage of this before by racing on what is known as the 'Endurance Circuit' back in 2010.

The layout though that has caught Brawn's attention in particular is the high-speed 'Outer Circuit' which sees the three longest straights connected by several sweeping corners at the top.

"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," he said.

"There's a nice sort of almost oval track that would be quite exciting, and all the layouts have a Grade 1 licence with the FIA, so that is an option in the pocket.

"Using two configurations involves quite a lot of work for the riggers," he noted. "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."

Currently, Bahrain is scheduled to form a Middle Eastern doubleheader with nearby Abu Dhabi to complete the season in December.