Both Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde are looking forward to racing at the Bahrain International Circuit, a track which holds good memories for the duo in GP2.
After announcing a revised driver line-up, with Heikki Kovalainen moving in to help develop the car through Free Practice 1 sessions, the drivers are both hoping for a solid race weekend.
Speaking in a team statement, Pic said “I left China on Sunday night and headed straight to Dubai for a couple of days off before going to Bahrain for race four. I was pleased with my performance in Shanghai and now the aim is to take that on to the race in Bahrain and keep making decent progress before we get back to Europe.”
He spoke about the technical challenges of the track, citing the brakes as the main source of focus. “I’ve raced in Bahrain a couple of times before and won the GP2 Asia race there back in 2010, so it’s a track I know well and one I like racing on. Technically it’s not too challenging but one of the main areas we’ll need to focus on is the brakes. It’s particularly hard on brakes, much more so than China for example, so we’ll look at that in the practice sessions as you can make up a lot of time in the braking zones if you can really push there. We’re also bringing some new parts to Bahrain so we’ll work on optimising their performance as much as possible in each session. This is only the first stage of the 2013 developments we’re bringing so we’re very realistic about what we might find this weekend, and we’re not going to make any predictions about what they’re going to bring in terms of laptime, but we’ll focus on integrating them into the package we’ve used in the first three races and see where we end up.”
Van der Garde finished the 2012 GP2 feature race on the podium in Bahrain 12 months earlier and he now heads to Bahrain as a fully fledged Formula 1 driver. He said on the run up to the race weekend “Back to Bahrain which is another circuit I have quite a bit of experience at, most recently last year in GP2 when I finished the feature race on the podium, so it’s a track that holds good memories for me. It’s quite a technical circuit that evolves a lot as the weekend progresses. It’ll be very sandy on Friday but with every lap that’s completed it rubbers in and the grip levels improve a lot – that’s important in each session, particularly quali as you need to time your run to make the most of the track evolution so strategy will be really important all weekend.”
He also revealed that the team have identified the main area’s that they need to work on, saying “Coming straight after China, the race in Bahrain is also a chance for me to get back to the performance levels I want to be racing at. China was a pretty tough weekend, but I’ve had a couple of days to recharge since leaving Shanghai and after the race we had a very good debrief and we’ve identified a few areas we’ll work on this weekend in Bahrain. Since announcing my F1 drive I’ve been really clear that the first few races were always going to be tough for a rookie, but it’s all part of the learning process so I’m as positive as ever and looking forward to getting back to work.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic