Formula 1 will use the outer Oval-esque circuit layout of the Bahrain International Circuit for the second leg of the doubleheader in December.
The two Bahrain races make up the opening portion of the final leg of a 17-race calendar which is set to conclude at Abu Dhabi on December 13.
However, it was confirmed on Friday that the series will instead only run the traditional Grand Prix circuit on the first weekend and will run the 2.2mile outer Oval loop for its second race.
The circuit does hold an FIA Grade 1 licence but falls shy of the track length limit imposed by the governing body meaning a dispensation is needed.
The almost flat-out nature of the circuit means drivers are expecting sub-60 second lap times all weekend, with initial simulation testing suggesting a 55-second lap time could well be possible in qualifying.
Only once has Formula 1 had a pole position time under the 60-second bracket when Niki Lauda set a 58.79s lap time around the original two-mile Dijon circuit for Ferrari in 1974.
Dijon is also the venue of the second fastest pole position time in 1982 during the rise of the turbocharged era. Alain Prost powered his RE30B Renault to a storming 1.01.380s despite the addition of an added loop section following Lauda’s record lap eight years earlier.
The quickest lap time in the current turbo-hybrid era was set by Valtteri Bottas at this year’s Austrian Grand Prix with a 1.02.939s pole time, though that record is set to be obliterated once the F1 grid turns up the wick at the 11-turn Bahrain outer loop.
Drivers will turn an immediate left after the usual Turn 4, running around the back of the circuit complex with a small lift at a quick left-right chicane before linking back onto the straight which leads to the final corner to complete the lap.
The race will be staged under the illumination of flood lights with the second night race of the season, with race distance set at 87 laps to stay in line with the 305km GP requirement.
The outer loop becomes the third circuit configuration used at the Sakhir venue after the 4-mile ‘endurance’ layout was used back in 2010.
“We are excited to announce the outer circuit as the format for the Sakhir Grand Prix and want to thank our partners at the Bahrain International Circuit for their continued support,” said F1 boss Ross Brawn.
“We assessed a number of options for the alternative circuit layout and concluded the outer circuit will provide the best alternative and will provide a new challenge for all the teams and entertain all our fans with high speeds and fast lap times.”
Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of Bahrain International Circuit, added: “We thank Formula 1 for all their work in analysing options for our second race and it’s a great testament to our venue that we will be able to hold what is likely to be very contrasting races on consecutive weekends.
“Our outer track has never been used for international competitive racing, so will be a new and exciting challenge for all participants.”
The second leg of the Bahrain Grand Prix – renamed the Sakhir GP – will be run on December 6 as the penultimate round to the world championship.