The Williams F1 team is hoping to continue the momentum that they achieved in last weekends Chinese Grand Prix, that saw a double points scoring finish, as they prepare for the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Mark Gillan, Chief
Having held the race on the longer endurance course layout in 2010, the
2012 race has now reverted back to the 5.412km long, 57 lap Grand Prix
layout. One of the main problems imposed by this circuit is the very hot
local ambient conditions of typically 35ºC and track temperature rising
into the high 40ºC’s. These conditions force teams to open up the engine
cooling bodywork which in turn can adversely affect the aerodynamic
The layout of the circuit means the likelihood of a safety car is very
low. The DRS zone detection point is just before the penultimate corner
and the activation point is along the main straight. Pirelli have
brought the same tyre compounds as used in both Australia and China,
namely the Prime medium and Option soft tyre, and tyre management will
once again be the main priority. Having got both cars home in the points
in China the whole team is eager to repeat this result in Bahrain this
Bahrain is a challenging track with a number of long straights followed
by big braking areas so the car has to be set up differently to many
other circuits. Cars with a big DRS effect will have an advantage so it
will be interesting to see how teams will perform. We have good momentum
from the first three races of the season and hopefully we can carry that
into this race.
I like the circuit layout, and it should suit our car because of the hot
conditions. It is also a challenging circuit for tyre degradation so we
need to prepare for that. It was satisfying to score my first points of
the season in China and hopefully I can pick up some more points in
Rémi Taffin, Head of
Renault Sport F1 Track Operations:
Sakhir is relatively similar in characteristic to Shanghai, so we will
re-use the China engines again on both cars. Around 50% of the lap is
spent at full throttle, but there are fewer slow corners so we work
towards delivering driveability through the higher end of the rev range.
We will target another trouble-free weekend to allow the team to
capitalise on its China results and we are all very positive about the
performance of the chassis-engine package so far this year.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli
Once more we have nominated the soft and the medium tyre for Bahrain but
these tyres will face a very different challenge to what we saw in
China. Temperatures are expected to be very warm, and sand is often seen
on the track in Bahrain from the surrounding desert which can affect
grip, particularly at the beginning of each session. Traction and
braking is very important at the circuit, which we tested at twice as we
were preparing to return to Formula One, so we do have some data even
though we are racing there for the first time.
Race Data Friday:
Practice 1: 10:00 - 11:30
Practice 2: 14:00 - 15:30 Saturday:
Practice 3: 11:00 - 12:00
Qualifying: 14:00 – 15:00 Sunday: Race: 15:00
I think Williams will struggle even more than last weekend in Qualifying if Bruno is correct and the DRS isn't up to snuff.
In China there is only the one long straight where everyone will reach top speed regardless of DRS efficiency.
While Bahrain doesn't have a straight as long as China, 50% of the lap is at full throttle, so an efficient DRS will give a huge advantage in qualifying. Expect Mercedes to lock out the front row and Sauber to be very competitive since I believe their DRS is the best after Mercedes'.
The race however will likely be very different. The hot temps will not favour the Mercs, and according to JA the Saubers also prefer lower temps (if this is true their qualifying form might also suffer a bit, but not as much as their race pace).
Hopefully, the high temps will allow the Williams' to move up the field from their mid-grid starting positions.
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