The Big Preview: Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir

Formula One Testing, Day Two, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday 28 February 2014

Just a few short days after the Malaysian Grand Prix, where Mercedes stormed to its first one-two finish since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, Formula 1 arrives in Bahrain for round three of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship.

And as the Bahrain International Circuit celebrates the tenth anniversary of its arrival onto the F1 calendar it presents teams and drivers with a new challenge
– a race under floodlights.

This year sees the circuit join Singapore and Abu Dhabi in staging race staged fully or partially at night and the 6pm start will change how the race is approached.

For instance, the cooler temperatures of the evening will lead to changes in balance and grip levels. Teams do, however, have some data on these conditions with the two pre-season tests held at this circuit running into the cooler early evening hours on a number of occasions.

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The bonus, too, is that the lower temperatures will place less stress on the cooling capabilities of the new power units, a particular issue for some in the run-up to the start of this season.

Elsewhere, the Bahrain track features a mix of slow-speed corners at the end of straights which means that the BIC is one of the most severe on brakes all season. However, while this also means that tyres take some punishment, especially in terms of longitudinal energy going into the tyres, Pirelli is bringing its medium and soft compound tyres this weekend.

This race always presents an intriguing set of challenges but this year a whole new set of variables has been thrown into the mix via the sport’s new regulations and the first F1 night-race in Bahrain’s history. Mercedes have dominated so far this season, but under the BIC floodlights anything could happen. prvw-flag-bahrain.jpg

Formula One Testing, Day Four, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday 2 March 2014

Bahrain International Circuit Data

  • Length of lap: 5.412 km
  • Lap record 1:31.447 (Pedro De la Rosa, McLaren, 2005)
  • Start line/finish line offset: 0.246 km
  • Total number of race laps: 57
  • Total race distance: 308.238 km
  • Pitlane speed limits: 80km/h in practice, qualifying and the race
  • The DRS sectors at the Bahrain International Circuit will be as last year. The detection point of the first zone is 10m before Turn Nine and the activation point is 50m after Turn 10. The second zone’s detection point is 108 m before Turn 14, with activation occurring 270 m after Turn 15.

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Bahrain Grand Prix Fast Facts

  • This year marks the 10th anniversary of the inaugural race here in Bahrain. The first grand prix took place on 04/04/04 and was won by Michael Schumacher. This year’s race will be the 10th running of the grand prix as well, the 2011 event having been cancelled.
  • This year’s race will also be the first Bahrain Grand Prix to be staged under lights. The Bahrain International Circuit has installed 495 lighting poles around the circuit, ranging in height from 10-45 metres. Over 500 km of cabling was installed to power the system and it features 5,000 luminaries. The entire lighting project at the circuit took just six months to complete.
  • This will be F1’s third race under lights. Singapore has hosted a full night race since 2008 and Abu Dhabi’s race begins in twilight and ends in darkness.
  • The first corner at the BIC was earlier this year named in honour of Michael Schumacher. As well winning the first race here, the seven-times champion advised the grand prix organisers during construction phase of the circuit. After retiring from F1 at the end of 2006, Schumacher made his return to the sport at the 2010 Bahrain GP.
  • Fernando Alonso has the most victories here, with three. He won for Renault in 2005 and 2006 and then for Ferrari in 2010. Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa have two wins each at the track. Massa won back-to-back events in 2007-’08 for Ferrari, while Red Bull Racing’s Vettel has won the last two races here.
  • The only other man to have won the Bahrain GP is Jenson Button. The Briton won for Brawn in his championship year of 2009.
  • Vettel and Schumacher are the only multiple pole position winners here. Schumacher was on pole at the first race and again in 2006, while Vettel started from the front in 2010 and 2011. The other pole position men are: Massa (’07), Robert Kubica (’08), Jarno Trulli (’09) and Nico Rosberg (2013). Kubica’s pole was the only one of his F1 career to date.
  • The race has never been won from further back than fourth on the grid. Alonso won in 2006 from the back of the second row, as did Button in ’09.
  • Victories for Schumacher, Massa (2) and Alonso mean that Ferrari is the most successful constructor here with four wins. Renault (2005 and 2006). Red Bull Racing (2012, 2013) are the next closest challengers.
  • The 2010 race was the opening race of that season. Three teams, Lotus (now Caterham), HRT and Virgin (now Marussia) made their debut. Only one of the teams’ six cars finished the race, Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen finishing in 15th place.
  • The 2010 race also gave an F1 debut to five drivers – Nico Hülkenberg (Williams), Karun Chandhok (HRT), Lucas Di Grassi (Virgin), Bruno Senna (Hispania) and Vitaly Petrov (Renault). Of the five, only Hülkenberg will feature this year.

Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday 21 April 2013.

Bahrain Grand Prix Race Stewards

  • Lars Österlind is a highly experienced FIA steward who has officiated at more than 100 grands prix and a similar number of World Rally Championship rounds. A social sciences graduate and lifelong motor sport enthusiast, Österlind was President of the Swedish Rally Commission from 1978-1982, then President of the Swedish Automobile Sport Federation from 1982-1996. He became Honorary President in 1996 and has been a member of the FIA World Council since 1984. Outside motor sport Österlind has specialised in management, working as a consultant and pursuing his own business interests. He is also experienced in local government at city council level.
  • Italian-born Vincenzo Spano grew up in Venezuela, where he went on to study at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, becoming an attorney-at-law. Spano has wide-ranging experience in motor sport, from national to international level. He has worked for the Touring y Automóvil Club de Venezuela since 1991, and served as President of the Sporting Commission since 2001. He was president for two terms and now sits as a member of the Board of the Nacam-FIA zone. Since 1995 Spano has been a licenced steward and obtained his FIA steward superlicence in 2003.Spano has been involved with the FIA and FIA Institute in various roles since 2001: a member of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA Committee, and the executive committee of the FIA Institute.
  • Derek Warwick raced in 146 grands prix from 1981 to 1993, appearing for Toleman, Renault, Brabham, Arrows and Lotus. He scored 71 points and achieved four podium finishes, with two fastest laps. He was World Sportscar Champion in 1992, driving for Peugeot. He also won Le Mans in the same year. He raced Jaguar sportscars in 1986 and 1991 and competed in the British Touring Car Championship between 1995 and 1998, as well as a futher appearance at the Le Mans in 1996, driving for the Courage Competition team. Warwick is a frequent FIA Driver Steward and is President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club.

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