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Formula 1

F1's fix for Bahrain GP drain cover problem revealed

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

New solutions to prevent issues with drain covers breaking have been implemented around the Bahrain circuit ahead of Formula 1’s 2024 season-opening race.

Last week’s pre-season test was red-flagged twice, once on the second day and again on day three, due to a loose drain cover approaching Turn 11.

That's where there have been long, narrow, slotted drain covers that run adjacent to the kerbs on the outside of the back straight before the medium speed left-hander.

After the first failure occurred on day two the drains were re-welded but then it happened again on the final day of the test, so the whole structure was reinforced – which held firm until the test finished.

With four days before the next track action, in Thursday’s practice sessions, there has been time to implement a better solution.

Credit: Rickard Rydell

For the main offending area approaching Turn 11, as expected the drain has been removed, filled with concrete and painted over in the colour of the kerbs.

Elsewhere, there has been extensive welding along both sides of the drain covers in other parts of the track.

Credit: Rickard Rydell

In terms of identifying what caused the repeat problem in the test, there is a theory that drivers are more regularly using the run-off area that the drain was positioned in.

Drivers are opening up the entry to Turn 11 more than before, most likely because this year’s cars are better set up mechanically and have better aerodynamic performance, so drivers can do that without unsettling the car on entry too much.

It is unclear if similar solutions will be needed at other circuits on the calendar.

Last year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend started in controversial circumstances when Carlos Sainz struck a loose road surface cover and severely damaged his Ferrari.

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