Report: Bahrain double-header on the cards if Portugal plans are halted

Bahrain aerial

According to RaceFans, Formula 1 could hold the opening two rounds of the 2021 season in Bahrain if the sport is unable to travel to Portugal in May.

The Algarve Circuit was the favourite to take the third slot on the calendar, which has been left as TBC up until this point.

However, rising COVID-19 case numbers in Portugal have put those plans at risk, with the enforcement of tougher travel restrictions between the UK, where most teams are based, and Portugal an increasing threat.

If the Portimao race does become unfeasible, RaceFans claim that F1 would look to host a second Bahrain round a week after the March 28 season opener. This would likely be held on the outer ring used for the Sakhir Grand Prix in December last year.

This could result in the Imola race, scheduled for April 18, being moved back a week until April 25 in order to allow for further travel time.

F1 have already been forced to postpone the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix due to COVID-19 restrictions, while rounds in Baku, Monaco and Montreal have also been called into question.

Speaking on Thursday, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “There is a TBC date there, and if it will be Portugal, it will be written as Portugal.

“The reason why it’s not written [as] Portugal, is because the situation is still not closed yet. As soon as we can, we will be able to announce something – and that will be in the next days, not in the next two months.

“I’ve got personal meetings during this weekend to understand what is the state of the situation, and one of the possible plan Bs could be a double race in Bahrain. But this is one plan and nothing is confirmed. We’re focusing to try to keep the calendar as it is.”

Updated. Original story appeared on February 5.