What we’re saying about the Bahrain Grand Prix
2012 Formula 1™ Gulf Air Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain
20-21-22 April 2012
All you need to know >>> Race date 22 April…Laps 57…Circuit length 5.412km…Race distance 308.238km…First F1 race 2004, the first Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East…Grands Prix hosted – 8 to date. Turns 15 – 6 left, 9 right…Direction clockwise…Circuit hallmarks – very demanding on brakes due to circuit layout, abrasive track surface, enormous run-off areas which have been criticised for overly punishing drivers who stray off-course but make Bahrain of the safest circuits, sand is a major factor especially because the winds around the track can be quite gusty…Tyre nomination Pirelli P Zero White medium and the P Zero Yellow soft, same as Australia and China…
This weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, coming just a week after the last race in China, marks the end of the first phase of long haul races of the 2012 season. Here in Sakhir, with little time to introduce any significant changes to the cars in such a short space of time, the teams will be looking to consolidate their current performance level and gather as much data as possible to feed into the development cycle, which moves up several gears in the coming weeks in preparation for the start of the European season.
Where we’ve been to…
China was another strong weekend for the Marussia F1 Team and the performance gains were clear for all to see if one looks beyond the positions and instead at the diminishing lap time deficit to its immediate competitors, as John Booth, Team Principal, comments:
“Reading the timesheets at the end of the past few races it is easy to focus on position and overlook the fairly significant progress we’ve made in such a short space of time. Going into last weekend’s race in China we’d eaten into the gap to our immediate competitors by 0.8s since Malaysia. Combined with the 0.6s decrease we’d seen between the first two races, that means we’ve found almost 1.5s of lap time in the first three races which, considering the challenges we faced with our late start, is very pleasing to all of us. It is still very early in the season of course, but it is nice to see that we are heading in a good development direction.”
Where we’re heading…
The Bahrain International Circuit has hosted some fantastic Grands Prix in its eight year history, as Timo Glock tells us here:
“The Bahrain track has always produced some exciting racing and I’m sure this year will be no exception, because there’s a lot going on up and down the field at the moment. The circuit has some great overtaking opportunities and we have seen some special manoeuvres there in the past and some fascinating races as a result. From our point of view, we have been getting better and better in the first three Grands Prix and although we won’t bring anything new to the car here, we can still consolidate what we have learned and continue to make progress. There is so much more potential in the car that it is exciting to see where we can take it as we prepare to step up to the European season next.”
Finally, some familiar territory for Charles Pic, who doesn’t have to rely on his simulator training to familiarise himself with this circuit. Bahrain and the European season now take him into territory more familiar from his GP2 career, as he tells us:
“The first three races were quite challenging because I had never raced on these circuits before, so it was a real step into the unknown. It will be nice to begin running in Bahrain so I can get straight into the aero and set-up programme without having to think about understanding the circuit and track characteristics. I am hoping this will enable me to push even harder this weekend.
I know this track to be quite demanding on the brakes, due to the layout of long straights with low speed corners. The tyre degradation can be quite high because of this and the fact the track surface is quite abrasive. It will be another hot race for me and the team, so quite tough all round but I think we have shown so far that we like a challenge.”