Masi warns drivers over impeding on Sakhir's outer loop


FIA race director Michael Masi has told drivers that anyone impeding a rival in qualifying at Sakhir will incur the wrath of the stewards.

Formula 1's second round of racing in Bahrain will take place on Sakhir's outer loop, a 3.54km layout that includes just 11 corners and which drivers are anticipated to round in less than 54 seconds.

The event is projected to feature the lowest lap time in F1 since the 1974 French GP at Dijon, which Niki Lauda's Ferrari lapped in just 58.79 seconds.

Drivers are therefore expected to make good use of their mirrors when peak traffic hits the track in qualifying. But Masi and the FIA stewards will be watching for any abuses.

"I think during practice we take a generally liberal view, a more liberal view, because it is practice," Masi told Autosport.

"But during qualifying, it will be the standard elements of any unnecessary impeding that takes place will be investigated and reviewed on its merits.

"So I don’t think that having a short lap negates the need not to unnecessarily impede someone."

The FIA stewarts' scrutiny will obviously extend to race, when congestion might even be worse depending on the circumstances leading to a plethora of blue flags.

"It’s certainly going to be hectic, let’s put it that way," said the Aussie.

"We’re looking at one of the longest grands prix in terms of the number of laps that we’ve seen for a long time, obviously.

"It’s certainly going to be quick fire laps. We’ll see what it is, but the simulations are predicting 53-55 second laps, or thereabouts.

"So it’s certainly going to be intense in a different way.

"But also a good challenge to manage, something different. And having spoken to a number of the teams they’re looking at it exactly the same way, something completely different."

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