F1’s first step into the Middle East region came in 2004 when Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit was added to the calendar. Set in the desert, the first day of practice is spent sweeping off the layers of dust and developing a racing line on the Hermann Tilke designed track. The track features a good deal of undulation as well as Tilke’s characteristic long straights in to tight corners which produce some overtaking. High temperatures can contribute to increased tyre degradation. Ferrari have won four out of the nine races at this track including a memorable 1-2 headed by Fernando Alonso in 2010, his first win for Ferrari.
The F1 teams spent eight days testing at Bahrain before the start of the season, so they have a good idea of how these new hybrid turbo cars will perform.
But strategy remains a question mark, as the conditions in February were cooler than they will be this weekend. It could be either two or three stops depending on how the soft and medium tyres cope.
High track temperatures, lots of corners following each other and a heavy car at the start of the race mean that Bahrain it is one of the toughest circuits of the year on brakes, with four major stops per lap from over 300km/h. It is a track which should suit Mercedes once again.
(Powered by UBS, Source: UBS – A Global Partner of Formula 1)