Track Guide: Bahrain International Circuit
This year’s Bahrain Grand Prix has been promoted as being a “celebration” for the kingdom as this marks the tenth anniversary of the inaugural race. The sandy desert of Sakhir first became part of the Formula One travelling circus at the same time as Shanghai in 2004, becoming the first circuit in the Middle East to hold a Formula One Grand Prix, as well as being given the award for the “Best Organised Grand Prix” that year by the FIA.
The track has run in two different configurations, as 2010 saw the “Endurance Circuit” being used, which extended the overall lap distance to 6.299km. 2011 saw the race cancelled in light of the protests about the Grand Prix going ahead by the general population and several members of the F1 fraternity, including Mark Webber and Damon Hill.
The podium celebration is clearly a non-alcoholic affair, as bottles of Waard (rosewater) are used instead of the obligatory champagne, due to the customs in Bahrain.
As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, this year’s race will become the second night-time grand prix, with the lights set to go out at 6pm local time.
Laps – 57
Track length – 5.412km
Race first held – 2004
Most wins – Fernando Alonso(2005, 2006, 2010)
2012 pole position – Sebastian Vettel (1:32.422)
2012 winner – Sebastian Vettel
2012 fastest lap – Sebastian Vettel (1:36.379)
Flying Lap of the Bahrain International Circuit
The drivers will accelerate their way out of Turn 15 and head down the long straightaway over the start/finish line, approaching speeds nearing 315 kph in the first of DRS zones before braking into the 2nd gear Turn 1, which is the first of several tight corners on the track. The cars will accelerate from around 65kph in 1st gear, as the drivers will then pull around 3.3G in Turn 2, before full power is applied coming out of Turn 3 at around 220 kph, with the cars showing a quick turn of speed as they feed their way through the quick left/right chicane.
The right foot is then firmly planted to the floor as the drivers break heavily again from 300 kph for the right hand Turn 4 at around 110kph in 2nd gear, giving all a limited opportunity for overtaking. This heads into the first part of Sector 2, as Turns 5, 6 and 7 are fast and sweeping, before the tight 1st gear right hand hairpin at Turn 8 gives no real room for position changes.
Turn 9, a sweeping left hander brings the drivers past the first DRS detection point as the track tightens even further into Turn 10, which then gives some a chance to get into the slipstream if traction is found and take advantage of DRS. Top speed will also be a handy factor for those with the right engine set-up, as getting the power down will be key after hitting the apex at each corner.
Turn 11 is a long left-handed sweeper, with Turn 12 being a high-speed corner at around 250 kph, with the drivers pulling 3.5G into the final sector putting stress on their necks, before Turn 13 sees the drivers looking to find the right point on where to put the hammer down on the final straight. The final two turns are more constant with a singular turn, but as the drivers will be able to engage DRS and KERS, there will be drafting galore as well as some risk taking.
Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari.
Alex Goldschmidt, a man with a view all his own. For the last 25 years, Alex has witnessed the talents of great drivers, such as Senna, Prost, Mansell and Schumacher, and enjoys the intrigue, scandal and confrontations, that occur both on and off the track. Alex also has an interest in the technical side of Formula One, as well as nostalgic moments in history, championing such people as John Surtees and Sir Jackie Stewart. With a view to making his career in motorsport journalism, he looks to provide original content to the masses, and to have great future success in his rapidly progressing career – as a reporter.