Formula 1

Bahrain Circuit Plagued by Recurring Drain Cover Issue During F1 Pre-Season Testing

The Bahrain International Circuit faced disruptions as a loose drain cover reappeared, causing delays during Formula 1 pre-season testing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Pre-season testing in Bahrain was halted due to a loose drain cover on the track.
  • Sergio Perez encountered the issue first, leading to a red-flag situation and immediate repair efforts.
  • The disruption follows a similar incident involving Charles Leclerc, marking a recurring problem at the circuit.

The final stretch of Formula 1’s pre-season testing in Bahrain has been marred by a recurring issue, casting a shadow over the circuit’s readiness for the upcoming season. Within the first 40 minutes of Friday’s session, a loose drain cover on the approach to Turn 11 necessitated a red flag. The incident, closely mirroring a disruption from the day prior, saw Sergio Perez inadvertently dislodge the cover, prompting immediate action from race officials.

The session was swiftly paused, with efforts to secure the drain cover and prevent further complications. This incident not only echoes a similar situation from the second day of testing, where Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari suffered damage due to another loose cover, but also raises concerns over the circuit’s infrastructure and its potential impact on the safety and schedule of the Formula 1 calendar. Additionally, it prompts discussions on whether the weight of modern F1 cars contributes to such incidents, as seen in Las Vegas last year.

Before the stoppage, the track was alive with competitive spirit. Carlos Sainz of Ferrari showcased an impressive pace with a time of 1m31.247s on the C3 tyre, placing him significantly ahead of his closest competitor, Lando Norris. Norris, also on the C3 tyre, trailed by 0.8 seconds, with Alex Albon of Williams rounding out the top three, despite being 2.6 seconds off Sainz’s leading time.

The day will still be able to offer drivers the full amount of time for setting up and learning their car with the session restarting soon after and the day’s lunch break being cancelled.

As teams navigate through the challenges of pre-season testing, the incidents at the Bahrain International Circuit underscore the importance of addressing safety concerns and ensuring track infrastructure meets the demands of modern Formula 1. With the season opener looming, attention turns to swift resolutions to prevent similar interruptions during official races.

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