YEONGAM, South Korea (Reuters) - Next year’s Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix will enter the twilight zone with the race set to start in the evening sunshine and end under floodlights after nightfall, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said on Thursday.
Whitmarsh, whose British-based team is half owned by Bahrain’s Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund, said he had seen plans for the April 6 race which has until now been held in the afternoon heat.
“I think they are going to call it a twilight race,” he told Reuters at the Korean Grand Prix.
“I’ve seen pictures of all the floodlights on it, so for their 10th anniversary they’ve got floodlights.”
The other Middle Eastern race in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina circuit also goes from daylight to darkness while Singapore is currently the only entirely night-time round of the championship.
The 2014 calendar, with an unprecedented 22 races, was published last year although three venues - New Jersey, South Korea and Mexico - were provisional.
Bahrain, whose race has been beset by controversy in recent years due to civil unrest that led to its cancellation in 2011, is also set to host two pre-season tests to give teams guaranteed hot conditions.
The kingdom’s Sakhir circuit had been vying with Abu Dhabi and Dubai for the tests.
“The first test in mid-January is in Jerez and then two tests in Bahrain before the start of the season,” said Whitmarsh.
“The best circuit for testing out there is Bahrain.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer