F1 World Champion 2014
Lewis Hamilton
Pirelli changes tyres for Bahrain – In depth look at how the race will pan out
News
Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 10.02.52
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Apr 2013   |  10:12 am GMT  |  215 comments

This weekend’s Bahrain promises to be another tense race and is likely to be decided on race strategy, if last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix are anything to go by.

And one important detail to note is that Pirelli has changed the tyre specification for this weekend from the soft compound tyres which proved short-lived in China, to mediums, which have been used in every race so far. Alongside this tyre is the hard compound, which was used in Malaysia. Due to lead times and logistics, this decision will have been made before the Chinese weekend, but when Pirelli announced the tyres for the first four races of the season, the soft and hard were the nominated tyres.

This will help the Red Bull and Mercedes teams, which have had more problems with the softer compounds and will work against Lotus, which has a more gentle action on the tyres. Nevertheless Kimi Raikkonen could have won in Bahrain last year and is one of the favourites this year.

So how will this weekend play out? As usual we can show you all the detailed considerations the teams will go through when planning their race.

With very high temperatures, lots of corners following each other and a heavy car at the start of the race, Bahrain it is one of the toughest circuits of the year on brakes, with four major stops per lap from over 300km/h.

The late April date means that the temperatures are likely to be very high, as they were last year, which leads to increased tyre wear.

The track, being in a desert, is also at risk of being coated in fine sand and this can compromise grip levels. There is usually significant track improvement as the weekend goes on.

Track Diagram courtesy of the FIA

Sakhir Circuit; 5.41 kilometres. Race distance: 57 laps = 308.23 kilometres, 15 corners in total, mostly medium speed, with three long straights

Aerodynamic setup – Medium downforce. Top speed 322km/h (with Drag Reduction System on rear wing) – 310km/h without.

Full throttle – 64% of the lap. Total fuel needed for race distance: 150.8 kilos.

Time spent braking: 16% of the lap. 7 braking zones. Brake wear: High.

Loss time for a Pit stop = 18.6 seconds
Total time needed for pit stop: 22.6 seconds.

Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried): 0.38 seconds (average/high). Fuel consumption: 2.6 kg/lap


Form Guide

The Bahrain Grand Prix is the fourth round of the 2013 FIA F1 World Championship.

No team and driver has shown any significant advantage to date, with the top four teams quite closely matched on performance. Tyre management continues to be as important to results as any other factor.

Lotus could have won in Bahrain last year with Kimi Raikkonen; they came very close to beating Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull, so Lotus will be worth keeping an eye on this year, especially with their superior tyre management.

As far as drivers’ form is concerned at Bahrain, Fernando Alonso has won the race three times, Felipe Massa twice while Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel have both won it once. Lewis Hamilton has never won in Bahrain. As far as teams are concerned, Ferrari has four wins from the seven races held at the venue since the 2004 inauguration.

Weather Forecast
The end of April is quite late for a Bahrain Grand Prix, and last year we saw the temperatures rise throughout the month and it is forecast to be very hot again, around 34 degrees or more over the race weekend, as it was last year. With very dark asphalt the track temperature tends to be significantly higher, well into the 40 degree range with such ambient temperatures.


Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Bahrain: Medium and Hard.

This is the second time this combination of 2013 Pirelli tyre compounds has been seen, after Malaysia. Last season for Bahrain Pirelli brought the soft and medium tyres.

The original plan announced by Pirelli in February was for soft and hard tyres at this race. But that has been changed.

Tyre degradation was very high last year, especially due to the heat. Degradation is a measure of the decline in lap time performance, whereas wear is the consumption of the tyre. Degradation on the soft tyre was very extreme in China, with tyres lasting no more than seven laps in the race and drivers reluctant to use them in Q3 for fear of compromising strategy by starting the race on a used set and making an early first stop.

Teams like Lotus and Force India also found that there was a significant benefit last year to saving a set of new tyres for the race compared to used sets from qualifying. So it could well be another disjointed qualifying session.

Based on last year’s figures, a new set of tyres compared to a used set is worth around 8 seconds over the course of a stint.

This race is likely to produce the highest track temperatures of the season so far. The high temperature creates more movement in the tyre compound and this accelerates the tyre degradation.

The stable weather conditions in Bahrain are likely to mean that the practice sessions will give strong indications for race strategy.


Number and likely timing of pit stops

Last year the race was a fairly clear three stopper for most of the front runners. This year the choice of the hard compound tyre as well as the medium should lead to better durability, but three stops is likely to be the order of the day. It’s how the teams break those stints down and which combination and order of tyres they use, which will be the key. Spacing the stops evenly and bringing a car out into gaps in the traffic are first order priorities. This requires careful planning, good data from Friday practice running and a strong grid position.

However Force India showed last year that there is another way; the team took the decision for Paul Di Resta not to do a lap in the final part of qualifying, but instead to save the tyres for the race, knowing that he was going to try to do a two-stop race. This gave him two new sets of soft tyres and one new set of mediums for the race.

The ideal two stop race was to stop on laps 19 and 38, but even though he had new soft tyres at the start, he couldn’t get further than lap 14 before the degradation became too great, relative to the three stoppers, and he had to pit. He was the last of the top ten to do so. This left him exposed on worn tyres at the end of the race, but he still got a sixth place finish.

For a car that is gentle on its tyres, this is a strategy worth thinking about for this year, depending on expected life for the soft.

Once again, it will be the degradation in tyre performance, especially the medium, which will decide the pit stop strategy and this is likely to be dictated by the high track temperature and by the way the teams get their cars set up to cope with it. The rear tyres will go off first due to the number of traction events out of corners.

The front runners, who must start the race on their qualifying tyres, will be likely to start on used medium tyres as it is clearly the faster tyre for a qualifying lap.

Chance of a safety car

The chance of a safety car at the Sakhir circuit is low, due to the vast expanse of run off areas around the circuit. There was a safety car in the 2007 race to clear away on track debris, but otherwise the races have been fairly clear.


Recent start performance of drivers

Getting a good start can make a huge difference to the way the strategy is managed and the final result, while a poor start compromises a race and makes it harder for the strategy engineers. As far as 2013 start performance is concerned drivers have gained (+) or lost (-) places off the start line this season as follows:

Gained
+7 Van der Garde


+5 Gutierrez
+4 Perez

+4 Button

+4 Alonso

+4 Sutil

+2 Pic

+2 Maldonado

+2 Hulkenberg**

+1 Chilton

Held position

Vettel
Bianchi
Massa

Lost
-1 Bottas
-1 Di Resta

-2 Hamilton
-2 Rosberg
-3 Webber*
-4 Raikkonen
-4 Ricciardo

-5 Grosjean
-7 Vergne
*Webber dropped from second to seventh after a clutch problem in Australia
** Hulkenberg did not start in Australia

Pit Stop League Table


Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution by the mechanics and we have seen tyre stops carried out in less than two and a half seconds by F1 teams, including Red Bull’s fastest stop in the recent Malaysian GP at 2.05 seconds.

The league table below shows the order of the pit crews based on their fastest time in the recent Chinese Grand Prix, from the car entering the pit lane to leaving it.

Interestingly the field has really closed up here, with just 1.4seconds separating the fastest and slowest teams. Williams has dropped to the bottom of the league table.

1. Red Bull 19.323s 

2. Ferrari 19.449s

3. Mercedes 19.600s
4. Force India 19.831s 


5. McLaren 19.862s

6. Lotus 20.083s
7. Toro Rosso 20.235s

8. Sauber 20.327s
9. Marussia 20.625s
10. Caterham 20.743s

11. Williams – 20.794s


The UBS Race Strategy Briefing is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli

Featured News
MORE FROM JA ON F1...
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:
215 Comments
  1. Tommy says:

    Reading this with Mum. Love your work and have a great trip to Bahrain. Tommy

  2. holly says:

    Gained
    +4 Alonso


    Held position

    Massa

    A little suprised by this, Massa is as good or better than Alonso off the line.

    1. Spinodontosaurus says:

      He had a poor first lap in Malaysia, which probably explains it.

      1. 6 Wheeled Tyrrell says:

        Massa qualified ahead of Alonso two out of the three races so far, so less cars to pass.

      2. Joe says:

        Not quite right is it…considering he never led any race after the start. So he always had other cars to pass in front of him.

        I don’t get some people’s incessant need to always minimize any accomplishment/statistic that reflects well on Alonso.

      3. Me says:

        Is there a need to denigrate anyone’s accomplishments/statistics?

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Alonso is not only great off the line, he is the best first lap driver i have ever seen. In Malaysia he had the front wing broken since turn 3 and still finished the lap with +1 from grid position. Brilliant.

      1. Dave P says:

        Errrr.. except in Malasia..

      2. Random 79 says:

        Lol +1

      3. Pasq says:

        Fantastic, I’ve been thinking this for a long time, never seen a driver that good on first lap, the most tenacious driver ever, he knows that at the start easiest place to take people. It’s an opportunity but he takes most out of it, he’s in race mode from the off!

      4. I will says:

        Sure Alonso is greate driver but it seems that the car is the best out there when it comes to the start of the Grand Prix (see how massa is good at the start). That may help him in this case.
        I reckon, put drivers like Hamilton then they will be blazing the track same if not better than Alo & Massa.

      5. Dave C says:

        I will, what are you talking about? Hamilton is not a great starter, he was out dragged by Jenson into turn 1 at OZ last year whilst on the cleaner line, and even in 2007 Hamilton rarely got better starts than Alonso, Fernando has a better start than most even though Vettel.is probably the best first lap driver of all time along Senna, they are quick off the line and pull a big gap by lap 2, something Hamilton tried to do at China but didn’t quite work, couldn’t break Alonso’s DRS.

      6. Horoldo says:

        Helps when you consistently qualify poorly, then makeup places.

      7. Heinzman (Fan of: ALO) says:

        Good point; see European GP last year. Unbelievable.

      8. Elie says:

        Yeah he looked really good when his wing broke off and he almost collected Mark Webber then ended up in the gravel trap. ! Clearly the Ferrari is great with high fuel load – that’s why Felipe is great in lap 1. But what makes Fernando good is the other.. 56 odd laps !

      9. K5enny says:

        I agree, He does make ground on lap 1
        but it is generally gained by taking big risks.

        His big trick last year was to drive around the outside of turn 1 — very risky but he generally gained from a start of 5th – 8th to 2nd – 5th after turn 1.

        –He only got taken out twice last year.

        –and once this year.
        Will he persist with this risky business??

      10. Señor Sjon says:

        Well, that great starting Alonso has been eliminated in the first lap quite often as well lately.
        Spa 2012 > Crashjean.
        Japan 2012 > Puncture due to cutting in front of Kimi.
        Malaysia 2013 > Bumping into the Red Bull of Webber.

        There is a Renault-powered continuity in this. ;)

    3. Tomby says:

      Alonso is one of the best starters of all time, so nothing to be surprised for, 2 years in a row awarded by BBC for start of the year.
      Germany 5->2
      USA 9->3
      Malaysia 9->3
      Spain 4->1
      Italy 4->1

      1. Quade says:

        It is electronics, not Alonso. And Massa has made much better starts than Alonso too since Ferrari introduced their demon sarts last year.

      2. Jake says:

        What electronics? launch control not allowed in regs.

      3. Tim says:

        Perhaps you are right, although for some reason, I thought launch control software was banned – perhaps someone could clarify please.
        Either way, electronics does not enable a driver to avoid the other cars around them. Bearing in mind FA relatively low qualifying positions, he has an awful lot of action to contend with. I am not a fan of FA, but I cannot help but admire his skills as a driver.

      4. F1Fan4Life says:

        So if Vettel has the most pole positions because of electronics and all on his cars through the years, we don’t say he’s the fastest? Ridiculous. FYI last year Massa qualified pathetically compared to Alonso, often behind much slower cars, and look at the stats. Back in Renault Alonso was also known for amazing starts (electronics…right?). It isn’t just a thing he’s done since joining Ferrari.

      5. Me says:

        …and of course because it’s not allowed it means nobody will have any…

      6. The Catman says:

        I knew that teams run different engine maps during the weekend and indeed at different times during the race, but I didn’t actually realise (until I read an Autosport article) that teams are locked into their “start” engine mode for the first 90 seconds of the race. This does seem to suggest that Ferrari have discovered a start mode (not launch control) that does give them something beneficial in the first phase compared to others.

        There is no way that a driver would be able to consistently and significantly out-perform the other top drivers at the start – especially as said above that Massa also always seem to gain at the start

        TC

      7. Oly says:

        [mod] It is electronics, but the one in Alonso’s brain. Watch and cry:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovQ12mc_TM8

      8. Jake says:

        No question Alonso/Ferrari have a very good start strategy but you should also understand that part of the reason he passes so many cars at the start is that he is generally out of position due to his/Ferrari poor qualifying and starting lower than the cars race pace would normally dictate. On the other hand drivers who excel at qualifying and put their cars higher up the grid than their race pace would normally dictate are always likely to go backwards in the race. Alonso has to work on his qualifying; he can’t always rely on making up places at the start as there is a greater chance of accidental contact the further back you start.

      9. The Catman says:

        Agreed, you can’t improve your position much if like Vettel you normally start on pole

        TC

      10. Elie says:

        A great launch control system tends to help with that. If you look at Felipes launches – there not shabby either

      11. MelB says:

        There is no launch control anymore. They use different clutch settings and engine maps, and obviously Ferrari have found something clever that other teams have not. However, you always need a driver to deliver on the benefits.

    4. Simmo says:

      I think it was just Malaysia when Massa didn’t get away at all well.

      There is something Ferrari are doing right (and have been doing for 2 or 3 years now) that other teams simply aren’t :)

  3. Blowndiffuser says:

    I support Pirelli’s tyre choice for this race, as any more than 3 stops per race feels like too much

    1. Richard says:

      I agree. I think this is going to lead to an interesting debate following the switch from Softs. Hopefully it’s for the best!

      James – on another point, can you help clarify a why drivers don’t run in Q3 – the sporting regs clearly state that “Lap times achieved by the ten remaining cars will then be deleted” prior to Q3, so effectively don’t they need to qualify again to ensure they’re actually allowed on the grid? It’s ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE that they don’t run in Q3.

      33.1 – http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/regulation/file/2013-F1-SPORTING-REGULATIONS-111212.pdf

      1. BurgerF1 says:

        I’m as frustrated as both of you, but the regulation doesn’t work this way. Let’s say in Q2 it’s dry, and then in Q3 it’s raining. Even though the cars in Q3 might be slower than the Q2 cars due to conditions, they are still challenging for the top 10 slots. The same is true if they don’t post a time at all. The regs need to be changed to either force them to run, or the tire situation needs to change so they don’t feel it necessary to save them. I’m also not sure whether forcing the top 10 to start on the qualy tires is a good rule anymore.

      2. Horoldo says:

        I Agree. Remove the incentive to save tyres for the race. I like the tyre strategy involved from Qualy to the race, but with these tyres degrading so much, Qualy is suffering as a spectacle.
        They should have sets of Tyres for Q1, if you make it to Q2, you get new sets, Q3 New sets again..
        New sets for the race.
        Then we will see every one run in all qualy sessions and with the different rates of degredation from car to car, the strategy is still there.

      3. Random 79 says:

        If failing to run for Q3 begins to be a regular occurrence we may see the rules changed for 2014.

        Just speculation on my part, but it makes sense.

      4. Simmo says:

        No, they must set a 107% time in Q1 to ensure they can race, but once they are through that it is up to them what to do, and once they get into Q3 they are at minimum in the top 10 (unless they have a penalty or something).

      5. Stephen Taylor says:

        But what if nobody sets a time in Q1? I know it is unlikely to happen but there you go.

    2. Sebee says:

      I found this interestings, perhaps you will to.

      2012 China
      Pole: Rosberg 1:35.121
      Race: Rosberg 1:36.26.929

      2013 China
      Pole: Lewis 1:34.484
      Race: Alonso 1:36:26.945

      Seems to me like all this complaining about tires is really much ado about nothing. And all this talk about F1 cars being slow is nonsense. Cars were plenty improved considering no rule changes, new tires and blown defusers are gone.

      1. Sebee says:

        Oh, and I hope it rains this weekend! :-)

      2. I will says:

        NO chance.

      3. Michael says:

        Don’t forget that last year’s pole was set with unlimited DRS as well, the qualifying improvement is dramatic. The race laps are always difficult to compare as the amount of fuel and type of tyre is a major factor.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Interesting…

      5. Sebee says:

        I’m telling you Random…”someone” should write a proper piece taking a clear supportive stance on these tires, and making the logical arguments why with some data like Quali and race times. Fans can read it, scratch their heads and say…yeah…that at least makes sense.

        I feel like many objections to the tires are knee-jerk reaction without putting some of the challanges through the trouble shooting process that surely FOM/FIA/Teams did. A summary of those challanges would in the very least make fans understand the logic.

        Plenty of people screaming murder, not many offering practical alternatives that make sense and achieve the goals of controlling competitiveness, entertainment, and not letting F1 cars become too fast. I know it’s not sexy to talk about that last one, but it’s a fact in the name of driver safety and fans at the track.

        Drivers complaining about tires is another thing that doesn’t help the fan outrage. I have a hard time listening to Lewis complain about tires when he grabs pole at nearly 1s faster than previous year.

      6. Sebee says:

        Kimi! The Knight in shining armor coming to save Princes Pirelli!

        http://www.planetf1.com/news/3213/8649209/Kimi-The-Racing-Hasn-t-Changed-Much

        Perhaps this will make at least his fans ease up on Pirelli bashing?

      7. Sebee says:

        Here comes Button to back Kimi up.

        http://www.planetf1.com/driver/18227/8649254/Button-F1-is-great-at-the-moment

        Clearly Bernie had a chat with his boys to button it up in the media.

      8. Random 79 says:

        Lol, what is this? The new justice league of F1?

      9. Bradley says:

        Is that saying the total race times were equal to within two hundredths of a second? Wow if so – seems awfully unlikely.

      10. blowndiffuser says:

        Ah, but Vettel’s pole time in 2011 was 1:33.7, when RB’s EBD technology was pretty well honed

      11. Sebee says:

        But as Michael reminds us above – they were able to use the DRS in qualy anywhere on the track in 2011/2012, right?

        Maybe FIA felt F1 was getting a bit too fast and clawed abck a little second? No big deal.

        Thanks Michael btw, I did forget that DRS use.

        Speaking of Michael, wiki shows Schumi as holding track lap record in China. 1:32.238, set in…2004! Did he have DRS? :-)

      12. Random 79 says:

        There are some sound arguments for bringing back durable tyres, but it seems that most people just want to bring back the ‘glory’ days of drivers pushing flat out every lap, thinking that that makes for exciting races.

        To be fair, sometimes it did – and arguably those particular races were better than the ones we have now – but those people have to keep in mind that it’s really only those races that stick in your memory; you naturally forget all the boring ones.

        As for slowing down the cars for safety: 100% behind you.

        I started watching F1 in ’96, so I’ve never actually seen a driver killed while watching a race and I never want to.

        If the powers that be can prevent that from ever happening again then more power to them.

        Motor sport is great, but it’s not worth dying for.

  4. Manished says:

    I can see Rbr and Merc dominate the field in case pirelli decided to alter the tyre structure.

    Ferrari and Lotus will fell short.

    Speaking of fairness huh….

    1. Ljconnolly says:

      Dob’t forget they did outlaw the off throttle blown diffuser to weaken red bull, along with everything else they tried in 2011, as well as removing mercedes double drs. It’s not unfair, there is no evidence so far that ferrari and lotus are going to be slower, as Malaysia was one of those races where numerous events happened.

    2. Martin says:

      The thing with this race could be that for Red Bull and Mercedes the better race tyre is the hard due to their wear levels, while the Lotus and Ferrari may well be able to exploit the medium. The race could be like this:
      Leaders all start on mediums. Red Bulls and Mercedes switch to the hard tyres. Ferrari and Lotus stay on medium tyres. The tyre advantage allows DRS overtakes. At the second stops the Ferrari and Lotus can afford to undercut. Depending on tyre quality from qualifying, this might determine whether medium or hards are used. For the last stop the Ferrari and Lotus will again be able to stop earlier.

      There are other permutations, but I can see ways better tyre performance can be exploited. If you study Malaysia carefully you’ll see Lotus in the dry was pretty good. Based on China, Massa in Malaysia may not be indicative of how Ferrari might have gone.

      My guess is most drivers will start on the mediums to avoid losing time at the start on the sandy track. Being out of sequence can cost time fighting with other cars.

      Cheers,
      Martin

      1. Irish con says:

        Agree with u but also another point is looking at Malaysia the hard tyres wasnt all that much more durabile and a lot slower than the mediums. Might be different with more traction events this weekend but we will soon find out.

      2. Martin says:

        That’s something I’d have to check across several cars. Webber preferred the hards and was on used hards at the end while Vettel I believe was on fresh sorts. It wasn’t in Webber’s interest to race Vettel after the pass.

    3. Grant says:

      No-one should depend on someone else’s tyres degrading in order to win.

  5. I know says:

    Frankly, I am not interested in how the Bahrain Grand Prix will pan out. In fact, I wished it was not held at all.

    Over the years, and even this year, Formula 1 has been visiting many other countries with little respect for human rights, so by supporting the sport we love, we have all been complicit to some degree. Neither F1, nor the Bahrain Grand Prix are unique in that respect.

    However, at least in this era, Bahrain stands out in that the regime uses violence to ensure that the race itself can be staged “without incident” – in effect, the dictatorship is doing us a favour by intimidating, arresting, torturing and sometimes killing their own people.

    I don’t think it will change the world, but if Ecclestone and the rest of the F1 organisation blatantly put profits over the legitimate interest and the lives of people, I feel that withholding my support (by not watching the race, for a start) is the least I can do.

    To those who say sports and politics are separate, I’d like to remind you of the sports boycott during the Apartheid era – it did not end Apartheid, but lead to the international isolation and domestic delegitimisation of the regime, contributing to its eventual downfall.

    1. SlimMillipede says:

      I suspect that the rulers of Bahrain may agree with you.

      Nothing concentrates the world’s attention on their human rights record like the Grand Prix does. For a few days the media are full of reports about human rights, protests and violence in Bahrain. Not what the rulers want reported at all.

      I guess they can’t back down now but they probably wish they had never permitted the GP in the first place.

    2. Pete_from_Nepal says:

      Good point. How about China? Was that race ok? Just wondering :)

      1. Anne says:

        In China we don´t have people boycotting the race. Besides the whole western world is doing business with China not only Bernie

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Maybe some sports boycott, but I remember kyalami being used for some years during 70′s, 80′s and early 90′s

      1. I know says:

        You realise that apartheid ended in the early nineties? A few days after the 1985 South African Grand Prix, which took place despite considerable controversy, it was announced that F1 would not return to South Africa until the end of apartheid. F1 did return for two seasons, in 1992 and 1993, after Mandela (along with other political prisoners) were released.

        The sports boycott (and F1 was admittedly very late to the party) did not end apartheid, but according to Desmond Tutu and others, it accelerated the regime’s decline.

    4. Quade says:

      F1 owes nothing to the political situation in Bahrain. It is really unfair for the opposition to target a sporting event for political reasons.

      If anything F1 will bring in the Worlds press, creating vast opportunities for the opposition to highlight their local human rights and political issues. Surely, that isn’t an opportunity to be missed? They should be a bit more clever and organised about their goals and how they want to achieve them.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Could we see a track invasion? Hope not . F1 and politics however just don’t mix . If you look more closely it is only the opposition minority which don’t support the race. The protest groups are trying to exaggerate things
        If you don’t believe its actually one of the best stories from a Daily Mail reporter – which is usually hopeless but not in this case.
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/formulaone/article-2310765/A-vast-majority-support-Bahrain-Grand-Prix-despite-protests-Jonathan-McEvoy.html

      2. Jake says:

        The reason F1 is a target is that the Bahraini rulers use the F1 race as promotion for the state. If you want the politics out then it should be removed from both sides. The sad fact is that without the protests the media would have very little interest in publicising the grievences of the opposition especially the sporting press that attend these events.
        With the local media closely controlled the opposition have very few opertunities to air their views.

      3. abashrawi says:

        But really, what can they do? There is no free press in Bahrain, Bahraini and Saudi money are making sure that their voice isn’t heard outside. All what they are trying to do is to deliver their voice to the world. As a matter of fact even though they’ve been protesting all year, only during this event we hear about them.

        I’m with you that mixing politics with sport isn’t correct, but taking the rights of the people to use the tools for freedom at their disposal isn’t the right way to go. They are protesting peacefully at the end of the day which is their right any time whatever the circumances.

        Think about it, isn’t Bernie the one who said that there are no opposition in Bahrain and that the children protesting needs to go home? isn’t that exactly mixing sports with politics? In a way, for those ppl F1 is in the war against them.

      4. Quade says:

        The unspoken truth about the Bahrain crisis is that it is basically religious.
        The ruling family belong to the minority Sunni Islam denomination (backed by Saudi Arabia), while the opposition belongs to the Shia Islam denomination and is backed by Iran.

        There is little that F1 (or any foreigner for that matter) can do about such a situation.

    5. Rich C says:

      Bahrain is never in the news except when F1 is there.
      It shines a big spotlight on their issues as nothing else can.
      Would you prefer they were kept in the closet and never publicized?
      I’m sure the authorities there would like that better.

    6. bearforce1 says:

      Mclaren is 50% owned by Bahraini royal family.

      You can protest at each Grand Prix weekend.

      1. I know says:

        As I said, F1 is by no means an innocent sport – races are held in other countries that have poor human rights records, and money is accepted not only from the Bahraini ruling family, but also the Venezuelan government, which likewise has a poor human rights record. None of these make me particularly happy, and everyone will have to make their own decisions whether they want to support the sport. In that sense, neither Bahrain or F1 are unique.

        However, what makes the Bahrain Grand Prix stand out in my opinion, is that pro democracy protestors are being arrested, imprisoned and last year, killed, specifically in the name of the Grand Prix itself, and by direct implication, in the name of everyone watching it. I did not ask for that, and I refuse to play a part in it.

    7. Sri says:

      Since this topic has to do with politics and not sports in general, I normally would have ignored it. But this time, the barriers got broken. I would like to point out that every country has some human rights issues. You may say European countries and USA are better off. Yes in some ways, as they don’t seem to oppress their own people, but no in other ways as they don’t follow that standard when they go to other countries. If you see how the wars in Middle-East were fought with the common people there being treated as dispensable by both the warring groups (the regime there and to a lesser extent the western forces fighting that regime), you will begin to wonder that this human rights issue is a convenient label that is used by some for their own convenience. To add credence to that argument: Some obvious countries that are human rights violators are still “friends” to do business with for most of the West. Why that hypocrisy, is it because it involves money? Anyway, I do admire your spirit of standing up for a right cause. I just want to bring to you a different view point which is often ignored in the western media.

      1. Erik says:

        This site is about F1, if you want to have a rant about politics find another site.

    8. Calum says:

      There are always elements of violence and disorder here in the UK – should we cancel this years British GP?

      Also, I’d be interested to hear the point of view of those Bahraini citizens whos livelyhoods are dependent on the GP.

      I don’t think you’re making an invalid point – human rights is an important issue, but it’s rarely the only one and it’s fair to say in Bahrain the opposition is as good at exploiting the race as the governing authorities are.

      1. [MISTER] says:

        Can’t believe you compare UK with Bahrain in terms of “elements of violence”…

      2. The Catman says:

        After the bombs at the Boston Marathon, (and sincere condolences to everyone affected there), no-one is questionning whether F! should go to teh USA are they??

        TC

    9. Methusalem says:

      A very good point! I think, sometime in the future, the Motorsport world will regret its decision for introducing races into apartheid-like states like Malaysia, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

    10. Joel says:

      Keep politics away from F1… with the circus we already have, no more drama needed.

      Also, don’t pick Bahrain alone – there are several countries in the current curcuits where you shouldn’t race – if you apply the same yardstick. However, who decides what the “yardstick” is?

      1. dingbat says:

        I would say keep politics away from this site altogether. This is an F1 blog not a political debate platform and there is much to debate and argue over without having to throw politics in the mix! ;-)

      2. The Catman says:

        Agreed 100%

        TC

      3. NickH says:

        Exactly

    11. F1Fan4Life says:

      I do wish Bahrain would be removed from the grand prix list starting next year. There is just too much injustice there. I feel F1 is a dog and pony show for very well off rulers, and why give them that? There are more than enough countries vying for a spot. We’ve had 3 years of doubt for this GP and its still on here. Tired of it. Bahrain is a rich , small country with the ability to recognize human rights on a more fair scale, but they refuse to do so. I’ll happily not watch next year’s GP if it happens there.

  6. ashboy says:

    I thought Mr Johnson was going to transform Williams pit stops? That hasn’t worked out for them.

    1. madmax says:

      Yep, but you have to look at the positive side as if there’s ever a 200 or 400 meter sprint to decide the best pit crew, my moneys on the Williams gang.

      1. Ashboy says:

        Hehe
        Mayby that’s what they should do. In the interests of safety the pit crew has to remain inside the garage until the car is stationary! Like the old days when drivers had to run to there cars at the start.

  7. and hows the safety out there ?

    Matt

  8. goferet says:

    That just perfect.

    The soft tyre belongs in the bin, apparently, Pirelli also changed it’s rubber in 2011 so it wasn’t the teams the got on top of the tyres in the second half of the season but rather the teams and fans complaints that did the trick and hence the no more fun races from around Spa 2011.

    Anyway, yes, it’s likely we may see a repeat of the Malaysia form due to the hard and mediums tyres where Red Bull and Mercedes were the strongest.

    However, Ferrari strong record at Bahrain may indicate, it will be a 3 way battle to the finish and if Lotus can make one less stop, then we will have a classic.

    Also, here’s to hoping the FIA haven’t been generous with the DRS zone this time. Surely, any track with runway straights needs no DRS.

    Glad to know we won’t be seeing any safety car this weekend and yes, Bahrain has to be the safest track on the calendar with this kind of record.

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      It speaks volumes that McLaclusture aren’t even getting a mention here!

    2. Simmo says:

      I can’t see how the FIA could possibly make the same mistake with the DRS as they did in China.

      I’m all for the DRS personally, but simply as an aid, not an automatic passing tool. In China there was too much, and for too many zones. 1 zone, for just enough for a car to draw along side another car going into the corner.

      1. Multi 21 says:

        If you click on the track map James has put up in the article, you will see the FIA has designated the straight behind the pits (between T10 & T11) as the 2nd DRS zone.

        It is probably the least effective place to put the second DRS zone.

        Putting the second zone between T3 & T4 would have been better in my view: a shorter straight than the main drag, but long enough for a chance at repassing if there was a fight into T1.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        In my opinion you should never ever ruin a good overtaking zone by putting DRS in it.

        If a section of track is already good for overtaking then use the DRS elsewhere to generate more action elsewhere, or at the very least close them up together so that the regular spots get more action too.

  9. goferet says:

    Some Bahrain stats:

    1) Alonso and Massa own Bahrain with 3 wins for Alonso and 2 for Massa

    2) Massa and Alonso are the only back to back winners in Bahrain

    3) 4 out of 8 winners have come from pole

    4) Schumi and Vettel have the most poles in Bahrain — 2 each.

    Overall, on paper it looks like Ferrari may have this thing in the bag, if not for the fact that it’s very difficult for a driver/team to win back to back races during a season at those races where there hasn’t been a week’s break.

    So yeah, I think we shall have a different winner because Vettel won this last year.

    1. IJW says:

      Since you are dishing out the Statistics, I wonder what the chances are for a repeat of 2012, with regards to us having 7 different winners in the first 7 races.
      Personally, I think it is unlikely, although I am hoping that we will have a different winner in Bahrain, just to keep things interesting. :-D

      1. Paul Watson says:

        Well the Merc’s (esp. HAM) are looking good, plus the heat and tyre changes might suit them so HAM is a candidate. Don’t hold out much hope for WEB as he usually goes into patches of poor form. So HAM or MAS or your options i feel, don’t see a surprise winner without rain or severe disruption (i.e. safety car)

        Agree however that it does keep it interesting, although personally i’d like ALO to win again :)

      2. Simmo says:

        Yup. As a Ferrari fan Alonso is the best wish for me, but it would be nice to see Massa win. Hopefully he won’t have severe tyre issues this race, and should be there.

      3. Quade says:

        Rain in the desert? More like sand storms for disruption and surprise winners.

      4. Me says:

        Why would you just want Alonso to win?

        Wouldn’t you rather just see a good race and praise the person who drove the best and won?

      5. Paul Watson says:

        Because I’m an Alonso fan. And to your second point, yes, and I do, hence my praise for other drivers in my original post. However I know Alonso has the pedigree to be able to win through skill and so this is what I hope to see.

    2. Magnus says:

      Some are saying harder tyres and warmer temperatures will play to RBR and Mercedes strengths. Ferrari ran all but 5 laps at Shanghai on the medium tyres and they were the fastest car on them. I don’t see it changing in Bahrain. Maybe the rest look more competitive, but Ferrari will show superior pace during the race. Alonso and Massa could both podium here.

  10. Grant H says:

    Agree with the tyre change, don’t really like how the first stints panned out in china, too much emphasis on strategy took too much away from having the benefit of being on pole

  11. goferet says:

    Meanwhile, concerning Kimi, I have doubts whether the iceman will survive the heat of Bahrain this weekend intact.

    For starters, he has had a pretty good run in the points, stretching all the way to Australia 2012 (but more accurately, all the way from 2009)

    Secondly, so far in 2013, whoever has finished second in a race has gone on to DNF the following race >>> Maybe it’s just a coincidence, who knows.

    1. Andrew M says:

      Kimi finished out of the points in China last year. He also finished out of the points in his last race in 2009. The last time he retired from a race was back in 2009 though.

      And yes, it is a coincidence :)

    2. Simmo says:

      Kimi completed every lap bar the last one last year, and has now done 20 consecutive races in the points! I’m hoping he continues like this, and can maybe beat Heidfeld’s record of consecutive finishes!! :)

  12. Sri says:

    Is this out of genuine concern to make the quali and race interesting or some sort of favor for RBR/Merc and hurting Lotus/Ferrari? I don’t like rules being changed in the mid-season as that means one group of teams is being favored over others.

    1. Rich C says:

      What “rule change?”
      Its just a tire spec that is different for most every race.

      1. Sri says:

        true. they are not changing the tire compound itself. but the choice of tire change is what matters. Even in 2012, the latter part of races Pirelli began to bring a step harder compounds to races that nailed some teams superiority over others. Until that point the races were lottery as anyone could win.

  13. AlexD says:

    James, this is interesting. So Pirelli changed the tyres for this race and it will indeed help Red Bull and Mercedes.

    Pirelli is aware of this and it looks like they are trying to manipulate the final outcome. Did other teams have to agree to make this change happen, say Ferrari and Lotus?

    I like what Kimi said:

    “I think you can push on these tyres, but it’s never perfect. You cannot always push 100%. I think they are very good in qualifying and have good grip, so it’s up to you and you have to look after them a bit more in the race. It’s not really any different from last year – at least for us anyway – so I don’t really understand why people are complaining.”

    The choice is made and I think it is unfortunate because it looks like it was done to help Red Bull and Mercedes. Really interested why Ferrari agreed because people keep saying about Ferrai’s veto right, so they must have agreed to this change.

    Let’s see how the race is going to pan out. The best outcome would be for Lotus and Ferrari to finish ahead of Red Bull and Mercedes to show that despite this help, they managed to come on top. This would be the best answer:-)

    1. Anne says:

      I don´t think Ferrari is happy with tyres that last only 5 laps. Besides the temperatures in Bahrain are a lot hotter than in China so the degradation still will be big for everyone.

    2. Me says:

      Of course they agreed…

    3. So says:

      You should then also turn that around and say Pirelli bright the softs to China to help Ferrari…. and it worked, they won while RBR and Merc struggled.

      Be consistent ;)

      1. AlexD says:

        I do not think it really works this way. Pirelli announced compounds before Australia and nobody really knew how it will all work. So tyres for the first 4 races were suggested by Pirelli without seeing how teams will perform. What happens here is the change vs original plans as they see that Red Bull and Merc will struggle. See the difference?

      2. lala says:

        Nope, no difference.

        Again, be consistent. When you claim other teams benefit from harder tyres, mention that the sifter tyres benefit Ferrari ;)

    4. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      I guess that the soft is a disaster, and because of the mandatory use of 2 different tyre compounds Pirelli has no other alternative that bring the Hard. So I wonder how it will work the Hard with the high temperatures in Bahrain… It should be better change the compounds again!

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        If the softs are disaster then can you imagine awful the supersofts will be when they are used, . I dread to think.

      2. Yak says:

        Monaco’s normally a procession, but I imagine it’ll be very much so this year. Whoever nails quali on the options just has to get off to a decent start and they’ll be set for the whole race. Come straight in to get on to the primes and everyone behind will have to just do the same. It’s not like anyone’ll have the grip left to stay out and set faster laps, having ruined the tyres setting a lap in Q3.

        Wouldn’t be surprised to see teams opting to sit out of Q3, or just set a lap on the primes, to try get out in front and stay in front when everyone comes in for the first stops.

        I don’t mind a super grippy good-for-one-lap qualifying tyre. But don’t force them to then run it as a race tyre. If they’re going to be forced to use both compounds in the race, bring tyres that can actually be used. One usable compound and one that you simply have to work around on track and in strategies seems misguided. Sure it mixes up strategies (Webber’s in China was interesting), but it seems a bit of a farcical way of doing it. I’d rather see a strategy mix up that might actually involve teams running the option as a race tyre, rather than as the compound that everyone is forced to tolerate in their strategies.

      3. colin grayson says:

        they were always going to bring the hard , but from the evidence of the first 2 races they saw the soft was too soft for bahrain , and changed it to the medium

        announced to the teams before china!

    5. Fan says:

      The tyres are an embarrassment. Everyone knows it – regardless of what Kimi says. Ask Kimi why he stayed in the pits for most of Q1 and Q3 in china? If the tires were so great why not go out an try to get more attempts to get on pole? He was preserving tyres just like everyone was. The change was not to favor any one team its an admission of what a failure the soft tyres are.

  14. I doubt any of the drivers will attempt a two stopper for this race.

    I would guess that everyone in the top ten will start on the mediums and then hard, hard and back to the mediums.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Has anyone thought Merc might need a 4 stopper?

    2. Stephen Taylor says:

      Or those from 7-10th places will sit out Q3, again?

  15. AlexD says:

    You have a point. It looks extremely manipulated. It really looks like this year it is clear that different teams prefer different compounds and therefore Pirelli can influence the outcome very easily.

  16. Rick M says:

    To further improve the lack of predictability and drama, I suggest that there is no colour difference in the marking of the tires. It would mean that only the team itself knows what compound is in use. Other teams and drivers wouldn’t either, other than an educated guess. The media wouldn’t of course the world wide audience wouldn’t. We’d all just wait to see what happens, rather than watch with a near certainty about which lap a driver would stop on. It would lead to just as much discussion of the tires and possible strategy so Pirelli wouldn’t lose any exposure and I believe it would encourage more drivers to attempt passes rather than wait for stops.

    1. Fan says:

      +1 Good idea – i like it.

      Until we can get rid of the paper tyres this maight bring back more full on racing. If you have no idea whether the guy in back of you is on a fresh set of softs or mediums or if he has one stop to if he is good to go per the regulations you are not going race to a targeted lap time. You will push every lap because you are not sure what pit stretgy they are on. It returns the focus to finishing the race as quickly as possible as opposed to doing a better job saving your tyres.

  17. Itchy says:

    The word Tyres was used 20 times in this peice. Says is all really. I’m so bored of everything being dominated by tyres. Tyres Tyres Tyres Tyres Tyres. What about the engines, the downforce, the gearing, the suspension. It’s turning in to the Pirelli show and it’s getting boring. And to top it all off they usually interview Paul Hembrey every weekend. It annoys me that I even know the tyre bosses name! Not your fault though JA, and great analysis as usual!

    1. BurgerF1 says:

      Many, if not all those components you mention, are tweaked to make the tires work better. (At least I didn’t use “tyres” lol.)

    2. [MISTER] says:

      Well said. Agree completely. Last weekend I was counting how many times the drivers were mentioning the word “tyre” in their interviews.
      Used to do that with Vettel’s interviews counting how many times he says “obviously”.

      Tyres are a joke now. They took it too far. Having 2 world champions not runing in Q3 in order to save tyres says alot about how influential the tyres are.

    3. Carl Craven says:

      I could make a similar analogy. In the electric guitar world the industry is dominated by what a guitar looks like, it’s shape, it’s brand name it’s gold components etc and yet the single most important tone deciding factor is not only barely mentioned, it is barely considered by buyers. Namely the string. The string is to the guitar what the tyre is to the car. It’s the connection between the guitar and the sound, car and the road and while all the other elements in F1 are hugely important, the tyre makes all the difference.

      Put into perspective, it’s the one unifying element between the teams and it gives each team an opportunity on many levels to think outside the box. It’s an engineering element that can help level performance a limiting factor which helps to restrain and engender creativity. Even the slowest F1 car could beat the fastest on the condition of the tyres.

      I believe this element to be crucial and let’s face it, in an article about tyres, you’re going to hear the word tyres quite a bit.

      If having to think about these things bothers a fan, perhaps they should considering following a more straightforward formula. Nascar is pretty easy to follow and there is a lot of pedal to the metal driving with no silly corners and chicanes slowing cars down ;)

      1. dingbat says:

        +1

      2. MelB says:

        Amen to that.

    4. Glennb says:

      It’s not really that surprising that ‘tyres’ are mentioned 20 times in the article. The article is about tyres after all…

  18. HCA says:

    Instead of Pirelli picking 2 compounds for each race why not have each team nominate which compounds they want to use so that every team gets the best tyres for there package on each track?

    If Lotus want to run the soft’s then let them, If Red Bull want the hard’s then give them the hard’s.

    I think its frankly ridiculous that a tyre supplier can effectively determine the running order based solely on which tyres they take to a specific track.

    I also think its a sad state of affairs that there are many fans out there who seem to think that any teams performance (Red Bull in this case) needs to be capped with tyres or by things been banned just to stop them winning.
    Im no fan of Red Bull or Vettel but think its ridiculous that you can have the best driver in the best car get vilified for doing a better job & winning more races/championships.

    This is supposed to be the pinnacle of open wheel racing not some computer racing game with ‘Dynamic game difficulty balancing’ slowing down the lead car to give others a chance to catch up.

    If 1 team build a dominant car, They deserve to dominate as they have clearly done a better job than anyone else, If you think thats boring then F1 isn’t for you & maybe you should look at watching Nascar instead.

    1. Fan says:

      I also like this suggestion. Make all the compounds availible and let the teams chose which ones they want to use. If someone want to run the super soft in bahrain, then let them. You must use two compounds however.

    2. Quade says:

      I am no fan of Vettels, but if proper tyres would see him win a thousand championships, then so be it. F1 is a team sport, with half the contribution coming from technical staff and the other from the driver.

      It is much more acceptable for Vettel to be flattered by the fastest car, than for a tyre manufacturer to be able to manipulate races.

    3. Multi 21 says:

      Quick answer why not: cost of shipping 6 compounds of tyre (incl. inter & wets) to and from every race instead of 4.

      But, I like the idea if it has the caveat that teams must choose their preferred dry compounds 2 weeks before the race and were stuck with those selections regardless of track or weather conditions.

    4. Sam says:

      Agree with HCA.

      i too feel that allowing the teams to choose their own preference rather than letting Perelli dictate tyre choice will make for better racing.

    5. This is decent enough idea.

      I seem to remember back in the Goodyear days teams had to decide which tyre they wanted to run (soft or hard) for the entire weekend, and they had to both qualify and race with the same type of tyre. Not too different to what you are proposing now.

    6. Glennb says:

      Without giving it a lot of thought, I like this idea in principal. You could take it a step further and (as someone else had suggested) remove the markings from the tyres to make it more of a mystery ;)
      I reserve the right to change my mind when I am sober :)

  19. Me says:

    Was it all down to Pirelli?

    Or did someone make the decision for them?

  20. Quade says:

    Sanity begins a slow return to F1. Things have been too gimmicky for a long while, causing newer fans to misunderstand the sport and alienating long time fans.

    1. Me says:

      Now this I agree with.

      I do find the need to bring ‘new’ and ‘casual’ fans to the sport frustrating.

  21. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I prefer Medium – Medium, just change the rule…

    By the way, it’s not only degradation, wear and DRS, Richland said the tyres produce marbles an a thin racing line that drivers want to stick and no go off because of heavy vibrations as a result, doing overtake and everything a nightmare.

    What do you think regarding Bahrain? The harder produce less marbles than the Medium?

  22. Anil says:

    That’s not how the tyres are allocated all; they are allocated to make sure the race is a mix of 2-3 stops.

    And the teams performance has always been dominated by the tyres; they are just mentioned a lot more now.

    1. L says:

      You don’t seem to understand the differences between how Pirelli works and how the other tyre manufacturers did things.

      Tyres never dominated the performance of a team this way. Ever.

      1. BurgerF1 says:

        Yeah. Bespoke Bridgestone tires had nothing to do with the Ferrari years of dominance. Just a coincidence I’m sure. Or the Renault/Michelin alliance.

        The cars that are easier on their tires will still have an advantage over those that don’t. Especially in the heat where getting the tire up to temp isn’t an issue. Being easier on the tires will allow for more options in strategy during qualy and the race just as before.

        By the second half of the season the teams will be on top of the tires and we’ll be moaning about 1-stop races, just like last year.

      2. fullthrottle says:

        Vettel on options for a full race says you are wrong. Hail Pirelli!

      3. Quade says:

        @BurgerF1
        The Michellins were superior to the Bridgestones which is why only 3 teams used the Bridgestones.
        Where is this tyre linked Ferrari domination myth coming from? It keeps getting repeated in defence of todays wretched tyres, even though its untrue.

  23. Andrew M says:

    “So it could well be another disjointed qualifying session.”

    Yay

  24. Peter Bakalor says:

    It would be helpful if you also showed average pit stop times, not just the fastest.

  25. Fareed Ali says:

    What is going on with the poor pit stop times for Lotus? They are significantly slower than the front runners. This will surely cost them as they compete for the constructor’s championship.
    James any insght into this?

  26. Rich C says:

    In spite of the fact that Pirelli is actually delivering on what F1/FIA (and whoever) tasked them to do, it is only resulting in negative PR for them.
    I would not be surprised if they just get tired of it and leave the “sport” as soon as they can.

    1. Simmo says:

      Good point. They are just doing as they’ve been asked.

  27. Quade says:

    What I really fear for, is anyone who has won a WDC in this era. In future, its value is going to be somewhat devalued.

    1. Spinodontosaurus says:

      Yes, because a WDC won in an era of intensely close competition between the top teams is not an achievement that will be valued, but effortless dominations in previous years get the thumbs up.
      …yeah right.

    2. Hardly. With a float on the stockmarket in the pipeline F1 is going to get more gimmiky as time goes on. So people who started watching recently will consider these the golden years! I fear that 2010 will become the last good season F1 ever.

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Disregarding 2012 due to convenience of course.

      2. @Spinodontosaurus

        No, I’m not disregarding 2012.

      3. Mike from Colombia says:

        2010 was the last good season.

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        If 2012 was not ‘good’ by your own standards then you are right; we probably won’t have another ‘good’ season in a long while.

    3. Me says:

      Even if its won by Alonso?…

      1. Quade says:

        Please don’t belittle my arguments with footbal fan style partisanship. It is best to consider the wider health of the sport above all else.

        This sort of partisan colouration of arguments in recent times is an unfortunate entrant into F1. I guess it comes with the gimmickry. I hope F1 fans are not going to be actually exchanging blows in pubs in the next few years; its time for the sport to do some deep introspection.

      2. Me says:

        Unfortunately football fan partisanship is what you get when you make asinine comments about world championships being under valued because you do not like the driver that’s winning…

    4. Elie says:

      Any team and driver that wins a championship in “this era” is like two in any other !-Limited testing, limited Budgets, 5-6 World champions , 19 races, difficult tyres, and tougher rules than the last generation where teams did pretty much what they like and tested all they liked .

    5. Peter says:

      I agree, and a thought experiment for you:

      If Senna, that gold standard of F1 drivers, had DRS’d and KERS’d and his way to half his victories and simply relied on his opponents tyres disintegrating, or them being forced to run the sub-optimal tyre choice for a stint, or them having to pit-in for no other reason than because it’s in the rules that they have to, if he had done any of those things for the other half of his victories, you’d be asking me “Senna who?” right now because pushing buttons or exploiting ‘show enhancing’ rules to win just doesn’t demand the same level of respect. His wins and championships would have been dismissed as an curious artefact of the era, the same way Vettel’s accomplishments will be, and in some vocal corners already are.

      A schism is coming.

  28. Baart1980 says:

    When should they use used tires ? When this is good option ?

    1. pcoops says:

      when they have run out of new ones…

  29. mhilgtx says:

    Everyone and their dog complains about the tires. The tires get changed. Many of the same complain that about the tires now complain that changing the tires is unfair. Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope (old redneck saying)

    Here is my complaint, I think the hand wringing done by some about Bahrain fail to do the same about China. They fail to point out that Williams takes money from one of the more corrupt regimes in the world. As we speak Pastor Maldonado’s backers are stealing and election and suppressing protest in brutal fashion. Those MP’s that cry about Bahrain have not enacted legislation that would prevent Williams from receiving money from Chavez’s regime knowing full well of they stole that money by nationalizing the oil industry. Chavez went into power a poor man and died a billionaire all in the name of “helping the poor”. He accomplished this the old fashioned way, rig elections then suppress descent and killing your enemies. Me thinks some of those that protest might be a little inconsistent at best.

    James if this is too strong and you wish to delete I understand.

    On to the race, I for one hope this plays into RBR’s hands as I want to see them win the WCC and Vettel win the WCC. Webber needs to step it up here and try not to run into anyone. In a perfect world it would be RBR 1st and Second and Hamilton in 3rd.

  30. matthew says:

    ^^agree

  31. goferet says:

    @ IJW

    Seven different winners?

    No mate, such seasons don’t happen everyday. Remember the last time we had that many different winners was in 1982.

    Alonso too said that we won’t get 7 different winners.

  32. pcoops says:

    You know when something is wrong in a sport when it dominates the discussion a little too often…

  33. micks@sa says:

    I’m surprised that no one mentioned that the hard is equal to last years’ medium and the medium is equal to the soft. So the hard or medium tyre makes no difference to last year. In other words, it’s theoretically the medium and soft (2012).

    In my opinion, I still believe Ferrari and Lotus should come out good. This nonsense of Red Bull(sh*t) and Mercedes having an advantage is off the menu. I expect once again a fight between Lotus and Ferrari. Merc and RBR not far behind, maybe fight for pole thought. Let’s wait and see who is right come Sunday after the race.

    Pole- Merc or RBR, maybe Ferrari and Lotus could surprise like China.

    Race- Lotus with Ferrari maybe second or third!

    1. BurgerF1 says:

      Agreed. The only time being easy on tires is a disadvantage is when you can’t get the tire up to temperature. That usually only happens only at the cold races or in wet weather; neither of which will happen in Bahrain.

    2. Grant says:

      Agree with your predictions there mate…

  34. James, as so many note, your efforts at providing the wider background articles are sincerely appreciated. Apologies for this suggestion being off topic, but it would be interesting to have some analysis of driver performance from the wider/career-type perspective, including team-related issues/politics. For example, it is mentioned above that Bahrain is one track where LH has not won. He arrived with a whole lot of “promise” in the media and continues to be noted as “fast” but the championships really haven’t followed and one woul think he can be truly called a “veteran” by now. There are several others in the field for whom this type of a look-see might prove interesting – Hekki and Button also comes to mind as arriving with significant promise proclaimed. Just a thought. Thanks again for your good work.

  35. Dave C says:

    James do you know when Redbull and Ferrari intend on installing the FRIC suspension? Merc and Lotus will struggle to be at the front once those 2 teams implement these passive ride height controls.

  36. Wanja says:

    I’m not opposed to degrading tires, but if conserving tires is always faster than driving the hell out of them and giving them a few cool laps in between, then the concept is broken.

    In a perfect world choosing “soft, hard, hard” and “conserving tires” would be just a tad slower but more secure than an aggressive “soft, soft, soft, hard” strategy. Taking some risks should always pay off, even though it may end in tears from time to time.

  37. Clear View says:

    This is fantastic James, just when I thought these pre-race summaries couldn’t get any better, you do yourself proud. Love the track graphic from the FIA.

    Keep it up James, I’m so excited about the way the season is playing out already.

  38. Jose Arellano says:

    James:

    Has F1 considered shorter pitlanes or increasing pit lane speed limit to encourage more attacking strategies ??

    1. Multi 21 says:

      I think the pit lane speed limit is set as fast as possible at each race with special consideration given to the width of the pitlane and how close the garages are to each other.

      1. Arno Nonymous says:

        You mean as fast as possible, as in Monaco in the early 90s (where there was no limit) or as fast as possible as in Monaco today?

  39. cartweel says:

    James/Community:

    I have wondered why it is not possible for teams to nominate their chosen tire compounds for each race in enough time to logistically make sense. Teams could pick the tires they would race on- say 2 months in advance of a race. Then teams with higher wear could decide on different strategies than teams with lower wear. To me this would spice things up and open the door for lots of different speculation on strategies when the team’s choices are published for everyone to see. Seems like a pretty simple way to spice it up and stop teams from crying about the tires they are given. Heck- you cold even see someone like Marussia throwing a flyer by choosing super-softs for a run at pole position on a track typically suited to harder tires. I wouldn’t mind seeing that!

    1. Lincon Sousa says:

      Never thought of it this way… this could very amusing to see indeed…

  40. Feral says:

    Great write James and love that you add the track lay out.(keep it up for every race)

    As for tyres, everyone has the same choices and there are the same 2 choices for everyone for cost reasons, imagine the cost and management if Pirelli let the teams choose whatever they liked. it’s the same for everyone it’s up to them to setup to the tyres chosen.

  41. Wade Parmino says:

    I recall a race at Indianapolis (a track with massive loads placed on tyres) several years back. Half way through the race Schumacher’s engineer spoke to him over the radio. He told MS that the wear/degradation levels on his tyres were fine, specifically saying “more than 100 laps”. This was a 73 lap race. Meaning he could run two whole race distances on the one set of tyres. The only factor to consider was fuel.

    If I could choose between what we have now and the above scenario, I’d go with what we have now. Although, I would like to see refuelling again.

    1. Quade says:

      Check out this absolutely wicked old video. Its just 3 laps. 3 laps! …But the amount of action in it could cover a full modern grand prix. Only Lewis and Kimi have that sort of race craft in this era.

      Take note of how the cars attack, jinking from left to right, always on the limit. Its because the tyres of the era allowed it, any driver trying such in todays fake races would retire in lap one with wrecked tyres.

      Enjoy.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivHrg_S86Ts

      Bring back the golden age and bring back Murray Walker! :)

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        You’re not wrong! A great video indeed. But this was the 80′s/90′s era (the greatest era of F1). The 1993 season fielded the greatest Formula 1 cars ever designed; in particular the Williams. Specifications and rules were completely different.

        Straight line aerodynamics for example, has evolved to a point where slipstreaming alone without the aid of DRS will seldom get you close enough to the next car to attempt a pass. At the same time, aerodynamic downforce is so significant that in turns a following driver can only get so close before the vacuum created by the leading car renders his downforce insufficient. This means he can’t close the gap any further. Combine both these aerodynamic factors along with grippy and durable tyres and the result is processional racing.

        DRS, KERS, volatile tyres enable much more interesting and exciting races. To describe current F1 as ‘WWE’ is a rather extreme overstatement. When the cars line up on the grid the outcome of the race is still far more unpredictable than the early 2000′s racing was.

        Personally, I would like the regulations to be overhauled. Very tightly restricted budget with totally unrestricted technical regulations. Traction control, ABS, ground effect, active suspenion, different engine types, ‘f’ ducts, continuously variable automatic transmission, moving aerodynamic devices, fan cars, even six wheelers! Innovation, imaginitive engineering. This is what Formula 1 is supposed to be about. A change such as this would hopefully return (even surpass) F1 to the quality of racing seen in the early 90′s.

        With tightly restricted budgets, teams and designers would have to choose carefully what innovations and technologies they are going to pursue. Rules are for the racetrack, the workshop/factory/laboratory should not be hindered by such things. I bet men like Adrian Newey have some ideas they would love to implement if allowed to do so. :)

      2. KRB says:

        Yes, very nice. Gladiators on wheels. Now it’s everyone on their own race programme, and we’ll see how it all ends up in the final laps.

  42. Heinzman (Fan of: ALO) says:

    Let’s bring back Imola

  43. “Due to lead times and logistics, this decision will have been made before the Chinese weekend”

    I’m sorry but I just don’t but this. Especially the logistics part. Even assuming the softs were already on their way to Bahrain and they need to make a second shipment, if I phone around enough companies and tell them I’ve got to get several hundred -new- tyres to Bahrain in 7 days then there will be companies able to deliver – at a price. If I (Pirelli) need to save face badly enough (which they do!) then they’ll pay that price.

    1. James Allen says:

      The decision was made soon after Malaysia. I know this to be true

      1. Why has it only just been announced? I can’t find any source to back this claim up?

      2. KRB says:

        Yes, made right after the Malysian GP.

    2. Me says:

      Why on earth do they need to save face?

      1. The soft tyres barely lasted a full qualifying lap in Shanghai. There’s no way they’d be up for completing a lap in Bahrain. That’s a pretty urgent case for needing to save face if you ask me!

  44. Yak says:

    The DRS in China and Malysia particularly seemed a tad over-the-top.

    I’m hoping the way they’ve split them up in Bahrain, rather than having one down the long back straight just before the one down the front straight, will work a little better.

    It’s actually one of the first things I thought of when I heard they’d be running two DRS zones for most tracks this year. “Bahrain is going to be ridiculous”. I’d forgotten about that smaller stretch in the middle and just assumed they’d have them one after the other down the long straights.

    1. Arno Nonymous says:

      I absolutely don’t understand why with 2 DRS zones, there are no 2 detection points.
      As it is today you might overtake in the first zone and run away in the second, robbing the other driver of his chance to counter.

      1. Yak says:

        There are two detection points though. In Malaysia it was the exit of 12 I think for the first detection point, and the 2nd was actually in the final corner. We saw Rosberg take Hamilton going down the back straight, in front through the final corner, and then Hamilton would take him straight back down the front straight. Either Rosberg wasn’t really having a crack at him, or he wasn’t being very clever about it, as it would have been better to just use the first DRS to get right up behind him going into that last corner.

        In Bahrain the first detection point is just before the corner leading into the DRS zone, and the front straight’s detection point is just before the 2nd last corner (that is… before the kind of double-corner that leads on to the front straight).

  45. Elie says:

    Kimi will win this race. He will qualify on poll and never be seen again. He will start on mediums to lap 20, take mediums again on lap 45 and do 11 laps on the hards.

    1. Chromatic says:

      How long will his pit stops last?

      1. Vivek says:

        I hope he does not do that, because he would have done 1 lap short :-)

        Hope that your prediction regarding the winner comes through though.

      2. Elie says:

        Thought it was 56 laps. He will do 12 on the hards

      3. Elie says:

        Yeah I know 3.1 &3.2 sec ,he will make up for it in clear air !

    2. kfzmeister says:

      Unfortunately Mercedes or Red Bull will be on pole. Not to say it couldn’t be done from behind the first row (see Alonso).

    3. Grant says:

      Merc or RBR will take pole.
      Followed by an easy win by Kimi or Alonso.

      1. KRB says:

        Believe yer right.

  46. multi12 says:

    i think first race in bahrain was held in 2004 and i dont remember it ever rained there..and it seems again that all 3 days will be sunny… so isn’t it unnecessary for pirelli to bring intermadiate or wet tyres ? they could normally save some money…

  47. Methusalem says:

    Bernie Ecclestone sent an apology letter to the human rights activists of Bahrain. He said he can understand their cause, and is willing to meet Bahrain opposition. This is very surprising!

  48. Dan says:

    I really dont like DRS. It is just too easy to pass. The skill is removed and most of the drivers just yeild because they know their coming.. Its quite a joke. That mixed with tyres going off after 1 lap and team orders and and and… What happened to racing? Are they still racing??

  49. kfzmeister says:

    Alain Prost has chimed in and mentioned that when he was racing they had to start with 250 liters of fuel on board and couldn’t push 100% at the beginning of a race for fear of the brakes or the tires not lasting the race distance. There was also mention of ’94 and how at that point refueling and tire changes were (re)introduced. Essentially driver’s from today’s generation and even Schumacher mostly were able to go all out between each pitstop, yet things were not always so, as mentioned above. How about an article that chronologicals the tire history (70′s through today)?

    1. Grant says:

      Tyre history???
      Have we not heard enough about tyres already?

  50. kfzmeister says:

    That should have said “chronicles”

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH News
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer