Bahrain Grand Prix: Sauber preview Sakhir

Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg

Straight after the Chinese Grand Prix the Sauber F1 Team set off to the Middle East for the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. Located in the middle of the desert, heat will play a significant role yet again at this track. The team left Shanghai with mixed feelings.

Although Nico Hülkenberg scored one championship point for the swiss race outfit, some disappointment remains as the race looked more promising for quite some time. Nevertheless, overall it was a positive weekend as the technical measures, which the team had taken before Shanghai, worked well.

Esteban Gutiérrez will have to start the race in Bahrain with a five place grid penalty after his accident in Shanghai. That, however, does not change his motivation.

Nico Hülkenberg (car number 11):
“I’m looking forward to the race in Bahrain. In 2010 I drove my first Formula One Grand Prix there. I like the track, and there is always a One Thousand and One Nights atmosphere in the paddock. Other than high temperatures, the brakes will play a significant role. There are a couple of long straights where we drive at over 300 kph and then we need to brake very hard into the corners, so it will be the usual balancing act between downforce and top speed.“

Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 12):
“To end the Chinese Grand Prix like that was disappointing. The mistake I made not only ended my race, but I also received a five place grid penalty. Of course, this will not make the race in Bahrain any easier, but it doesn’t change my approach or my motivation. I will fight and make the best out of the situation. However, China also had a positive side to it. The engineers took several technical measures, which saw an improvement. Bahrain is another hot place on the calendar. The conditions are not as humid as in Malaysia, but you still have to be in good shape to cope with the heat during the race. I know the track from my time in GP2, and I think it’s a nice one with challenging corners. It’s a very demanding track for the tyres, and I’m looking forward to driving there in a Formula One car.“

Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“From a technical point of view, China was a successful weekend for our team. We had taken some measures before that race, which proved to be effective. We now have a direction, and we know what has to be done. The Bahrain circuit is dominated by several long straights with mainly slow and medium speed corners. This places high importance on an efficient aero package and a car with strong low speed performance – in particular traction. The circuit layout is also very demanding for the brakes. The desert environment results in quite a dusty track – especially when the wind builds up. The chance of rainfall is low, and the typically high ambient and track temperatures make it a real challenge for the cooling level of the car and management of the tyres. Therefore, Pirelli has allocated the Hard and Medium compounds for this weekend.”