FIA confirms minimum lap time for qualifying

Any driver deemed to be driving unnecessarily slowly during their out- or in-laps during qualifying, or during the reconnaissance laps for which the pit lane is open prior to the race, or in a manner which might endanger other drivers, will be reported to the stewards, the FIA have announced.

As far as Bahrain is concerned, this means cars leaving the pits will be timed between the second safety car line (50 metres before Turn One) and the first safety car line (after Turn 15), and any car exceeding a time of 1m 39s between these points will be deemed to have been driven unnecessarily slowly.

The move is designed to prevent drivers on flying qualifying laps being impeded by drivers travelling more slowly. It follows the five-place grid penalties handed to both McLaren drivers at the last round in Malaysia, where Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton were judged to have hampered the progress of rivals.