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Guessing game for F1 teams at first ever Bahrain Grand Prix night race
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Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Apr 2014   |  5:23 am GMT  |  125 comments

The teams did a significant amount of pre-season testing in Bahrain this year, which will give them a good baseline understanding of the best way to attack this Grand Prix, however this year the race is being held at 6pm local time as a night race for the first time and this will mean that the track conditions will be cooler than in previous races here and the temperatures will fall as the race goes on.

Pirelli has brought the soft and medium tyres from its range; although last year the medium and hard were brought, the tyres this year are a step harder so it is a similar situation. Last year the most common strategy was three stops, Much will depend on the performance and degradation of the tyres in practice on Friday in the cooler evening temperatures, but indications from testing suggest more two stoppers this year.

Bahrain it is one of the toughest circuits of the year on brakes, with four major stops per lap from over 300km/h.

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 characteristics – Click on Track Map to enlarge

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

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

Full throttle – 64% of the lap.

Time spent braking: 16% of the lap. 8 braking zones. Brake wear: High.

Total time needed for pit stop: 23 seconds.
Pit lane length 480 metres

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

For an at a glance printable guide to all the key strategy points about Bahrain, click here At a glance Strategy notes


Form Guide

The Bahrain Grand Prix is the third round of the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship.

Mercedes has the clear advantage presently, with two pole positions and two race victories. Its customer-engined teams McLaren Williams and Force India occupy second fourth and fifth places in the Constructors’ Championship table.

As far as drivers’ form is concerned at Bahrain, Fernando Alonso has won the race three times, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel twice while Jenson Button has 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. Nico Rosberg took pole position in 2013.

Weather Forecast
Last year’s race was very hot, taking place as it did at the end of April. Track temperatures were well above 40 degrees. This year the race is early April and is being held at night so it should be cooler. There is little chance of rain and in general conditions should be stable across the weekend.


Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Bahrain: Soft and Medium

This is the second time this combination of 2014 Pirelli tyre compounds has been seen, after Melbourne. Last season for Bahrain Pirelli brought the medium and hard tyres.

Last year’s event saw significant thermal degradation on the tyres, which pushed many drivers into three or even four stops. This year the conditions are likely to be kinder.

The rear tyres are the limitation around this track due to wheelspin out of slow corners, especially with the torque of the new hybrid turbo power units and the relative lack of rear end downforce due to the banning of exhaust blown diffusers and the reduction of the rear wing.

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

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

For the last two seasons, this has been a fairly clear three stopper for most of the front-runners, with some positive results for outliers using two stops, such as Lotus and Force India last year,

However with the race being held at night for the first time and therefore cooler conditions, this may swing many of the teams towards a two stopper.

The optimum two stop is to pit on laps 19 and 38, while a three stopper would be something like laps 14, 28 and 43. The choice of tyres and when to take them will be interesting and dependent on the difference in performance between the soft and medium tyres in practice.

The rear tyres will go off first due to the number of traction events out of corners.

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 2014 start performance is concerned drivers have gained (+) or lost (-) places off the start line this season as follows. The results are cumulative and aggregated, anomalies like first lap accidents or starts from the pit lane are noted below.

Gained places

13 Bottas
9 Ericsson
4 Kobayashi
3 Massa, Chilton, Rosberg, Hulkenberg
2 Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Sutil, Grosjean,Magnussen, Maldonado, Gutierrez

Net Held position
Button [Perez/Bianchi – see Notes]

Lost places

10 Vergne
4 Vettel,
3 Hamilton, Kvyat
2 Alonso

Melbourne Notes: Kobayashi, Massa eliminated in a first corner accident; Perez, Gutierrez pitted at the end of Lap 1; Bianchi, Grosjean started from pit lane.
Malaysia Notes: Perez started from pit lane, Bianchi pitted at the end of lap 1


Pit stop League Table

Based on fastest time in the pit lane from Malaysian Grand Prix

1. Ferrari 24.222s
2.McLaren 24.415s
3. Red Bull 24.432s
4. Mercedes 24.484s
5. Williams 24.498s
6. Force India 24.887s
7. Lotus 25.046s
8. Toro Rosso 25.109s
9. Sauber 25.493s
10. Marussia 25.639s
11. Caterham 26.030s


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

For an at a glance guide to all the key points about Bahrain, click here At a glance Strategy notes

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125 Comments
  1. Buddy Benerba says:

    Should be interesting the way the teams will strategize this weekend. I think being a night race and the compounds being harder this year, the winner will be a on two stopper.

  2. Neshaen says:

    This is Hamiltons /Rosbergs race to lose!
    The Mercedes is brilliant at the moment.
    Lets hope that Ferrari, Red Bull and Macca can catch up to the Mercedes within the next few races.

  3. Bob says:

    Interesting article.

    You could also note that Hamilton only had 5 cylinders for the start in Melbourne.

  4. Andrew M says:

    My guess is that Mercedes will win.

  5. Joshua says:

    I’m really looking forward to the night race and hopefully the dropping temperatures will catch a few teams out.

    More importantly for me this should be the first dry qualifying of the year at a circuit where the teams have done a lot of testing on these tires. This will give us a clearer picture of the pecking order. I’m excited to see how high the Williams can go.

  6. fox says:

    Slippery sandy track might be good for Raikkonen rally driver.

  7. neilmurg says:

    Could we have stats on how easy it is to regain the 2MJ elec energy per lap, how much of a power circuit it is, how much medium and high speed corner (to asses downforce and drag performance).

    great info thanks!

  8. James Macdonald says:

    Great strategy briefing as ever. Just a thought, though – if the “total fuel required for race distance = 150.8kg”, then the teams are going to have a gigantic headache on their hands…

  9. David Woodthorpe-Evans says:

    Hi James, great insight into the race ahead as always, although I think the “Total fuel needed for race distance: 150.8 kilos” needs to be updated.

    With the change in qualifying rules, do you think it possible that Mercedes or one of the teams could get into Q3 using the Medium tyre and therefore start on that one? Or would they be at too much of a dissadvantage at the start of the race? Is there any indication of the time difference between the Soft and Medium during the cooler evenings?

  10. Optimaximal says:

    Ferrari has four wins from the seven races held at the venue since the 2004 inauguration.

    It’s been run 9 times.

  11. goferet says:

    If am not mistaken, with Bahrain becoming a night race, it will quickly turn into one of the most anticipated races on the calendar for there’s always something magical about having fun in the dark.

    The teams too must be glad for with the sun having set, this means they won’t sweat as much plus the cars won’t suffer as much.

    The only problem I see is getting heat into the tyres once the track temperatures fall but just like Abu-Dhabi, this is mainly important during qualifying.

    Regards fuel concerns, seeing as the drivers need 150.8 kg, it will interesting to see which drivers can make it to the finish line.

    Right, seeing as the Mercedes powered teams topped all the Bahrain winter testing sessions, perhaps we shall see the same this weekend.

    P.s.

    Nice touch by the organizers for the track side billboard in honour of our Schumi.

  12. Gaz Boy says:

    Let’s face it, reliability permitting, Merc will doubtless lock out the front row, but who is one pole will be an intriguing prospect.
    Williams will be able to show their dry qualifying hand for the first team this season, and I think they could qualify top six reliability permitting. Of course, the tension has been stoked out between their two drivers and the team, but will that be a destructive force or will it push the two drivers onto driving better? Whatever, I suspect the two different corners of the garage will have added intrigue from now on.
    Ferrari will struggle somewhat because their car has rubbish traction, and the straightline speed is not as good as the Merc V6 cars.
    Historically, Sebastian excels at Bahrain, and with Daniel mired in mid-field because of his penalty, will be an interesting weekends work for the Bulls.
    McLaren? Don’t know, jury’s out on them.
    Anyway, best of luck lads, but I’m not expecting a great race because historically Bahrain is a procession and Malaysia was a snooze-fest, but you’ll never know, perhaps a sand-storm could whip up a few laps into the race to make things interesting.

  13. Anil Parmar says:

    James (and others), I have a quesiton regarding the downforce requirements of this track.

    Last year, Alonso’s DRS broke during the race. Despite this, he actually stayed ahead of Nico Rosberg, despite the huge lack of rear downforce, as he was so quick out of and during the straights.

    Would it be possible for a driver to run a low downforce configuration around Bahrain? Less drag would result in less fuel being used up, as well as mighty top speed and whilst ultimate pace wouldn’t be the fastest, the driver would be fastest at the end of the straights and therefore they would be difficult to pass.

    I was inspired to post asking this question because I recall Gilles Villeneuve winning a race years back in a Ferrari (I think..?) that was incredibly quick down the straights but awful in the corners.

  14. goferet says:

    Some Bahrain stats:

    1) The back to back winners are Vettel, Massa and Alonso

    2) Alonso is the only driver to have won in different teams i.e. Renault and Ferrari

    3) Mclaren has never won the race or been on pole

    4) Massa is the only Bahrain winner that isn’t a world champion >>> however, it could be argued Massa was a champion for 30 seconds in 2008.

    5) Kimi is the only number 1 driver to have been beaten to the win by his teammate >>> however, Kimi also has the best podium record as the only two years he wasn’t on the podium are 2004 (DNF) and 2009 (6th)

    6) 5 out of 9 Bahrain victors have come from pole >>> but 2008 and 2009 poles were achieved with much less fuel on board.

  15. Phil says:

    Melbourne notes for start performances dont include Hamilton’s engine problems which caused the loss of places, not the driver. Vettel had the same.

  16. Deeno says:

    Only a brave man will bet against Mercedes this weekend.
    Even Red Bull admitted Gap to Mercedes will be bigger in Bahrain. And with no rain during qulifying – it will be a real head to head battle.

    My Prediction : MERC 1-2, Williams on podium – And HULK having another high finish. Hopefully KIMI can beat his team mate.

  17. TGS says:

    My money’s on a Williams podium, most likely Bottas.

  18. W-K says:

    The problems with cut and paste.

    Total fuel needed for race distance: 150.8 kilos.

  19. Luis Pastilla says:

    James you seem to omit Raikkonen from your form lists and other considerations these days, but with respect, is that not a little premature?
    He won here for Ferrari, and was second to RB last two times out with Lotus.

  20. Ben says:

    With only 2 races to base it on there is not quite enough data yet but it seems that the Mercedes engined cars are very good off the start. Hamilton is the only Mercedes engined driver to have lost places but he has started on pole from both races and you can only go backwards from pole and the first race he had a technical problem. Ericsson and Kobayashi are 2nd and 3rd on the list which is the only problem with my theory but that could be due to them starting near the back and positioning their cars well at the first corner!

    James, last year you did a piece on how to get the perfect start but with the additional torque and all the other new gizmo’s I imagine this has all changed. As the season goes on I would be interested to know how the teams and drivers are managing it.

  21. Jonathan C says:

    “Malaysia Notes: Perez started from pit lane”

    I don’t remember him starting at all…

  22. Luis Pastilla says:

    Reliability appears to be one of Ferrari’s strengths and its likely they can at least maintain the pace of progress relative to Mercedes if not RB.
    So perhaps predicting a podium for Alonso here and in China is not unwise? P2 even…

  23. Jonathan Cooper says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how the 2014 stats compare (specifically for braking rather than lift-and-coast energy recovery) to the below – apart from the obvious change in fuel use :)

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

    Time spent braking: 16% of the lap. 8 braking zones. Brake wear: High.

    James – will you be doing any insight into the RB system of beeps for lifting and coasting into corners, rather than the drivers (in a non-ERS equipped car) historically spotting braking points etc?

  24. jake says:

    Guess the drivers will be pushing the car after 2/3rd distance when the 100kg fuel runs out.
    :-)

  25. Carl Sheen says:

    I’m sure you have already answered this but in case you haven’t.

    Why is the fuel needed for a race distance 150.8 kilos when they can only carry 100 kilos this year?

    Was this the figure from last year? If so, could we make this clearer?

  26. Random 79 says:

    So the first thing that I immediately take from that is that if Ferrari can’t win here they can’t win anywhere. Fair statement?

  27. Richard Stephens says:

    What are the dangers of a dust storm shutting down the track? I think it was closed many years ago for a testing not due to the cars but because it was unsafe for the helicopter to fly.

  28. Chris O says:

    Could be a short race if they need 150.8kg to get to the end….

    On a more serious point James, I have a question about the “fuel used” graphics that were shown at the Malaysian GP.

    Presumably the data comes from the dreaded fuel flow meters. So the information the FIA have is how much fuel has been used. Do the FIA know how much fuel the teams are putting in for the race or are they just assuming the teams are putting in the full 100kg? If any teams are confident to put less than the full 100kg and the FIA don’t know, then the percentage values shown on screen may be inaccurate.

    Any thoughts?

  29. Calum says:

    Hi James,

    The fuel stat:

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

    Is this now out of date?

  30. Tom in Adelaide says:

    Awful time for viewing in Australia I must say…..

  31. KRB says:

    * Warning: Acronym/Abbreviation overload ahead *
    ;-)

    Current points-finish streaks (PFS):

    11 ROS (1 more than HAM’s best PFS)
     5 ALO
     4 BUT, HUL
     2 MAG, BOT, KVY
     1 HAM, VET, MAS

    PER’s PFS ended last race at 5, with his DNS.

    (JA, FYI had a problem with comments not posting earlier)

  32. Traction Event says:

    “due to the number of traction events”

    Please James… who on earth is responsible for giving us this little gem of newspeak ? I don’t blame you, but do think it only fair if you name the culprit.

  33. fox says:

    Need to read more & more from jamesallenonf1 because BBC F1 is so poor in 2014 in comparison to 2012-2013 coverage.

  34. Witan says:

    Sad and disturbing to see Ferrari still trying to win through politics rather than skill, determination, innovation and talent.

  35. Stigs says:

    Will be interesting to see if bulls can mix it with the “other ” Mercedes cars, worried that Ferrari will strugle to get info the points, unless major improvment with balance and traction. Massa is good at bahrain!

  36. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Anyone else noticed the difference in discourse between Red Bull and Lotus?

    i.e., Red Bull claiming Renault is the source of all their problems, threatening to work with a different engine manufacturer, while Lotus blame most of their problems on themselves.

    How much longer will Renault take this public beatdown by Red Bull? I also remember Renault complaining for the lack of recognition in Red Bull’s success.

    What are the odds of Renault retaking control over Lotus to make them their effective works team again? What would that mean for Red Bull?

  37. Patrick Guillon says:

    Hi James

    Just a quick question as all the teams did testing in Bahrain earlier was there no thought of having a night testing session to ensure the track lighting would be good enough for the race?

  38. Dal Brad says:

    No one can beat lewis, now he has the fastest car, & if no problems, then he will win 100%

  39. goferet says:

    Correction:

    4 out of 9 victors have emerged from Pole.

  40. Sebee says:

    Kimi is the oldest driver on the grid.

    Now there is a stat that I paid no attention to at all but read this morning and it smacked me right in the face.

    Ferrari better stock up the fridge with soft foods and ice cream without nuts or caramel, which may stick to dentures and inconvenience our most senior, señor.

  41. Rishi says:

    James, correct me if wrong but I don’t believe Kimi has ever won the Bahrain GP. The other stats appear correct, but Michael Schumacher won the inaugural race in 2004.

    Bahrain’s an intriguing one as a race. It tends to give us some really good racing, but not many really good races (contradictory as that may initially sound). 2006 is the pick of the bunch in my view, but I also remember De La Rosa’s eventful 2005 race; Massa v Hamilton in 2007 (a very intense first stint in which they traded fastest laps); and the repeat podiums of the last two years. Wonder what the odds are on it being the same podium three years running? Long I imagine!

  42. James Allen says:

    Yes, that was a typo thanks

  43. James Allen says:

    Good idea! I’ll ask the F1 team technical representatives about that in the FIA press conference tomorrow!

  44. James Allen says:

    Thanks not sure how that crept in, fixed now!

    Think the gap will probably be too big to pull that off but Friday practice will tell us

  45. Jim says:

    Hi James, bit off topic but… The interesting part of all the new spec cars debating for me, is the way the old powers that be in our beloved sport, have completely missed the power of social media, this forum, twitter, facebook etc. 10 years ago, they could do what they liked and feedback would only trickle through to them, now, it’s a downpour half way through the first race, that they can no longer ignore. We don’t need to moan about it and threaten to stop watching anymore, we have the power to shout in combined voice, so loud that they have to hear us.
    James, any chance you could chat to some fellow journalists and get them all to point their respective followers to fill out a poll, no the mother of all polls, so that we then let the FIA, teams and Bernie not what we want, would prefer, but want we demand and expect to get. We don’t want eco friendly F1, we have Formula E for that, help us get back proper pedal to the metal (or composite material of choice) full on racing. I’m sure you guys could sort out hosting the poll, but if not, I’d be happy to help there…

  46. Jodum5 says:

    Why not ask the drivers?

  47. But he kept throwing his rally car into the trees !!

  48. grat says:

    Since Ricciardo’s fuel flow meter was supposedly defunct for the whole race, and his fuel usage was being shown as well, I’m not sure where those numbers came from.

    Also, apparently the fuel meters are only dreaded if you install them on a Renault engine.

  49. Anil Parmar says:

    I believe that the ‘fuel used’ assumes that 100Kg was put into the car, so 95% used would mean that they definitely used 95Kg, but it doesn’t mean that 5Kg is sitting in the tank waiting to be used.

  50. grat says:

    Well, he started to…

  51. Random 79 says:

    Nothing for Rosberg’s win? Poor guy…

  52. Random 79 says:

    The American rounds are worse. Doesn’t really worry me though – half the reason I watch F1 is because it’s mostly active in the small hours, just like me ;)

  53. Gaz Boy says:

    Even worse in Britain Tom, if you don’t have Sky. Edited highlights of the race on the BBC are on (BST) 10.30 PM! The programme finishes at 12.00 AM.
    I don’t blame the BBC for that, it wasn’t there decision to have a night-race. No, the fault must lie with a little fellow with a pudin basin haircut. I think Mr E must assume everyone is a billionaire like he is and doesn’t have to get up early Monday morning, to, oh I don’t know, earn a hard day’s graft.

  54. Joe S says:

    Just like it is for European viewers and the Australian GP! I actually preferred when it was on earlier (Aus GP) as you could stay up instead of sleeping and risking missing the alarm.

  55. Robb says:

    Malaysia was the absolute worst time for me here in the midwest US. 3:00 am start time. Too late to stay up for, but too early to get up for.

  56. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

    I’m not sure if the Mercedes reliability will be fully tested at Bahrain when they are able to gap then cruise to take it easier on the car, due to their speed differential.

    Anyone know what Ham’s engine problem was in Oz, I think he ran the same engine alright in Malaysia P1?

  57. Phil Glass says:

    If McLaren are on it, that makes 6 cars, maybe 8 if Williams have a good race which are in theory faster than Ferrari.

    Top 6 finish for KR and FA may be possible again but I doubt podiums. But I love your optimism!

  58. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

    Nope, a miracle firmware upgrade is coming ;)

  59. Gaz Boy says:

    Random, it probably is.
    By the way, what does Jonsey think of Daniel? I bet Alan is a bit miffed that Bull keep cocking up Daniel’s chances, but delighted netherless that Daniel has excellent race pace with metronomic consistency.
    On the BBC in Malaysia, Mark gave us a superb insight into the fitness of the drivers, via a “special pill.” It’s good to see Mark put on a little bit of weight, he looks better for it. More insights please Mark, and good luck with your Porsche sports car career.

  60. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Bar reliability issues striking other teams, Ferrari will not win this GP.

  61. Jock Ulah says:

    I think Lucre Dim will confirm that it’s all about ‘participation’ and that ‘winning’ is a secondary bonus.

    Remember that the red cars and their history are propping up the rest of F1 regardless of where they place.

    Or maybe not . . .

  62. James Clayton says:

    Based on the assumption that the cars don’t develop over the season?

  63. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    From the first 5 races, this is probably going to be the worst track for Ferrari. And one of the worst along the year if they cant improve their traction.

  64. Alexander Supertramp says:

    I think P5 or below should be Felipe’s goal, he’s a good qualifier

  65. AuraF1 says:

    Malaysia is normally quite fun and Bahrain is boring. Given Sepang was a snooze this year maybe the night time desert track with lots of testing time on that layout will make it a thriller for once…

  66. cartweel says:

    Oooohh- going out on a limb eh!

  67. JF says:

    Nearly a guarantee in fact, reliability will be Merc’s only “opponent” on track. Other than that it will be an exercise of fuel control and tire management. Hope for some mid-field racing where things are closer.

  68. NickH says:

    Correct sir. Lewis to win again

  69. Gaz Boy says:

    FW and CW to FM over MAL 2014 race with VB: WTF?

  70. Joe S says:

    I don’t think so. Night races look good in city areas where the lighting looks a bit more naturally placed, instead of somewhere in the middle of nowhere like Bahrain. It will just look odd. I think it’s just a one-off to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the race.

    I find it a bit crazy how Bahrain has been the track doing all of these celebratory gestures. They modified the track for the start of the 60th F1 season in 2010, a night-race this year and the naming of a corner after Schumacher.

    My point is, that why is a relatively new addition to the track with nothing going for itthe one that does all these things? I think it shows how desperate Bahrain is to be seen as an important race to F1 and how they realise they if they lost the race, fans would not be disappointed.

  71. NickH says:

    The cars do look great in the other night races, the detail seems to come out a lot more with the lights on

  72. Gaz Boy says:

    PS Random, I just replied to a post from Tom in Adelaide about the stupidity of having a late night race in Bahrain.
    Tom says for Australian and New Zealand viewers (and also the Pacific Islands on the west side off the International Date Line such as Samoa and Tokelau) the race is scheduled at a silly time for Australasian viewers. I wouldn’t disagree, but it is also silly for British viewers who don’t have Sky, and have to rely on the BBC for edited highlights…………which start at 10.30 PM! The BBC F1 highlights show finishes at mid-night for God’s sake! Some of us have work to do on a Monday morning!
    I imagine Random that the races in Canada, USA and Brazil must be a nightmare time-wise in Australasia, they must finish into the early Monday morning hours! Don’t worry, us BBC viewers in Britain will share your pain because this year USA and Brazil will be shown as edited highlights, so by the time we get to bed it will also be Monday morning for us!
    PS Bit drastic – and I’m being a bit ironic here – but you could always try and arrange to have a holiday/short break in some Pacific Islands east of the IDL when Canada, USA and Brazil races are on!

  73. Random 79 says:

    “special pill”?

    I haven’t heard his words first hand so I can’t guess at the context or how he said it, but I sure as hell hope he was only joking.

    If not, F1 really, really needs to take a good hard look at itself.

  74. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    And alonso had no ers, as well as kimi, and the saubers, and the marussias… If james had to put every little detail tajt has gappened every race, he should need to write 5 articles unstead of 1

  75. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    Sorry for the typos, im writing from mobile phone

  76. KRB says:

    I think that “no ERS” story was debunked, no?

  77. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    Low aero set up would make you almost impossible to overtake, but your qualifying would be so bad that you would need a miracle to do something in the race.

  78. SteveS says:

    Actually his broken DRS did not result in less downforce. Once it broke he had to leave it in the closed (high downforce) setting. What he lacked as a result was a little top speed, since he could not open his DRS when he came up behind somebody in the DRS zones.

  79. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    And all the Ferrari powered drivers.

  80. deancassady says:

    The last time we saw the teams in Bahraine, Red Bull couldn;t get their car going.
    Red Bull are media sandbagging.
    They are still the class of the field in aero, and I’ll bet they’ve treaked their power unit again.
    Regardless of track, Red Bull are now a threat for at least podium.

    To go against the crowd, I’m going with Vettel to win.

    But with the rhetoric at all time, and completely questionable levels, against Renault, I feeling more and more the likelihood of a Red Bull switch in engine supplier, to an as yet undeclared manufacturer.
    I’ll be keeping my senses tuned to that music.

  81. Pete says:

    Rosberg usually does better around Bahrain than Malaysia. It will be closer between him and Ham.

  82. Brendan says:

    It looks like the best of the racing we’re going to be seeing this year, will be between these two guys Hamilton and Rosberg, the Mercedes team so far this tournament have been flawless. http://www.f1worldtour.com

  83. Speaking of Williams – did any information come out regarding how well informed Massa had been with the pit-wall “plan” to give Bottas 3 laps to get past Button in Sepang or has that piece of the action just faded into ‘really old business’ so to speak?

  84. Gaz Boy says:

    After the dogs breakfast that was 2013, it would be great for the Grove lads and lasses to have some podium celebrations.

  85. Random 79 says:

    Based on a lot of assumptions, but mostly based on the fact that if they’ve had four previous wins here then you could argue that it’s traditionally a good circuit for them, so if they don’t win here it’s probably not a good sign, but as you rightly point out it’s still early days so who really knows? :)

  86. Random 79 says:

    Honestly these days I think the powers that be are just making up holidays for the hell of it anyway :)

  87. Gaz Boy says:

    I remember the 2011 Canadian grand prix finished UK time around 11.30 PM, so I’m assuming it was Monday morning in AUS and NZ by the time Jenson got his well deserved champagne.

  88. Random 79 says:

    All I remember is that it was about 5.30 / 6am when the race finally got underway and then they switched to the morning news.

  89. goferet says:

    @ Joe S

    I don’t think the Bahrain night race is a one off because it would be a waste to invest in the lighting system only to get rid of it.

    Also it was Malaysia that Bernie wanted to make a night race but for some reason, it didn’t happen so Bahrain must have taken it’s place.

  90. Optimaximal says:

    FOM are pushing for the fly-away Asian races to be night races because it fits better into the TV scheduling for Europe and the US.

  91. James Allen says:

    The mother of all polls? I like it!

    I’ll look into that with some of the faces around here

  92. Gaz Boy says:

    I think the Prancing Horse is struggling with traction out of slow corners, so I think they’ll be a wayward stroppy stallion at Bahrain.

  93. Gaz Boy says:

    Don’t tell Montoya about a fully stocked fridge though!

  94. goferet says:

    @ Sebee

    Lol… I too wouldn’t turn down free ice cream.

  95. NickH says:

    He certainly doesn’t look it! Baby faced assassin

  96. Gaz Boy says:

    Do you know what, I think you are potentially correct about the Red Bull chassis is producing the most downforce. In the middle sector at Sepang, which has some fast, swoopy high speed corners which required good aero balance and high speed stability (which comes from downforce) the Red Bull was very good indeed. Inevitably, the Merc had the legs on the two mega long straights.
    However, on a track where high speed aerodynamics and downforce are more important than brute power – Barcelona, Silverstone, Hungaroring (yes, its a fiddly track, but lots of fast sweeping corners in the middle section of the track) and Suzuka I reckon the Red Bull could be very, very fast indeed.

  97. Michael says:

    Vettel for the win? He won’t even make the podium if Williams does what I think they’re going to do this weekend.

  98. Gaz Boy says:

    Good idea – apart from Kimi. The cliche “blood out of a stone” comes to mind!

  99. Anil Parmar says:

    Think you missed my point mate. I’m referring to the fact that he did a full lap with the DRS open (i.e. broken) with gave him no rear downforce, yet he stayed ahead of Rosberg as Nico couldn’t get near him.

    A DRS that is stuck in the open position always results in less downforce as it reduces drag and increases top speed, which is the whole point of the system. My question is whether you could run a low downforce set up here, akin to Alonso lapping with a broken, open rear wing, as people would struggle to overtake you..

  100. Anil Parmar says:

    Good point about qualifying. Williams will be interesting to watch this weekend as they aren’t producing as much drag as others as they don’t have much downforce on the car, so they may well be back at the top and difficult to overtake.

  101. Gaz Boy says:

    Random, let me fill you in with the details, via the BBC website. (Copyright BBC F1)
    “Mark visited Dr Simon Sostaric’s clinic in Melbourne to undertake heat acclimatisation training, where a special pill monitors his core temperature.”
    Random don’t worry, that special pill is a tiny thermometer. Mark swallows it, then after three to four hours after it has digested in Mark’s stomach, the signal inside the thermometer can be picked up via telemetry. Mark then does his exercises, and the telemetry can analyse whether Mark’s core body temperature is capable of withstanding the humid temperatures of the equatorial jungle races of Malaysia and Singapore.
    I hope that clarifies things. Don’t worry, it’s all in the name of medical research! Those “special pills” are used by the medical teams track-side at every grand prix to monitor the drivers core temperatures at the weekends to make sure they won’t suffer from heat stroke, heat exhaustion et al.
    See, you’re missing out on some good stuff if you don’t get the BBC!

  102. Alexander Supertramp says:

    It wasn’t that close last year, Nico struggled a lot in the race. But different date, different temperatures off course.

  103. Gaz Boy says:

    Well, with Mexico and New Jersey apparently joining the calender next year Random, even more reasons to have an all-nighter/s.
    PS I’ve got a bottle of Australian wine – Jacob’s Creek white – that I “discovered” the other day lurking in my drinks cabinet. I’ve decided I’ll open it when Daniel takes his first victory – got to support our commonwealth drivers and wine industry. (Britain does have a wine industry surprisingly – mostly Southern England, the West Country and South Wales, but I can’t see F1 swapping Munn to use British champagne any time soon).
    I know its a bit of a conflict of interest with his team, so I’m surprised to learn that Daniel is sponsored by Aroma cafe, Perth. Still, I wouldn’t blame Daniel for prefering a skinny latte than that awful children’s cough medicine masquerading as an energy drink.

  104. ferggsa says:

    Dont complain too much, back in Mexico we have to stay late for AussieGP, 0 to 2 am, and Malaysia and China are from 2 to 4 am

    European season is all at 7am, only race at decent time is Austin, which is same local time

    So when you add boring races at 3am in the morning, you have to be a real fan to stay awake
    And by the way, this is all on payTV

  105. Robb says:

    I believe you are correct.

    While I like seeing the fuel consumption figures, from a sporting perspective though, I think this is something the teams would like and should be able to keep under their hats. Teams shouldn’t know how much fuel other teams are using, that’s part of the game.

  106. NickH says:

    True Nico just went backwards last year, right from the start. Different cars, different time, different temps let’s see what happens. All we know is Merc on the front row. The 1st sector and 3rd sector they will be miles ahead

  107. aveli says:

    rosberg will gather fans as the anti hamilton fans builds their momentum.

  108. NickH says:

    For sure Mercedes front row. Maybe vettels Bahrain testing troubles will return?! Mclaren should be ok as there are less fast corners than Sepang and it’s kore point and squirt, hopefully Jenson can sneak a podium!

  109. NickH says:

    *more.

  110. Michael says:

    Sorry, but there will be no sneaking of anything from Button. He will come in his usual 5th or 6th place.

  111. NickH says:

    To be fair Rosbo was like a slow tug boat last year

  112. Gary A says:

    I think they said it was a faulty spark plug!

  113. KRB says:

    It was a crack in a rubber hose.

  114. ferggsa says:

    If you ask me its Dr Marko

    Imho he is one the worst likeable persons in the F1 circus, and we are talking big egos out there

    If I was Renault I would say, you dont like our products after 4 straight WCC, go buy somewhere else

    Like Pirelli, Renault have to take the crap form RB and not even a thank you after they win

  115. KRB says:

    Taking over Lotus requires money. Taking the beatdown from RBR sucks for them, but they’re being nicely compensated for it.

  116. Spinodontosaurus says:

    Mercedes was still quicker in the middle sector for the most part, and Toto Wolff was quoted as saying he believes Mercedes have the best chassis (although I don’t know if this was taken out of context or not).

  117. Deeno says:

    Yes I agree there will be cuircits where downforce will be King. But their lack of power will hurt them this week-end along with China and Canada – power dominated circuit.

    I know RBR will be trying to play around with the sofware for this weekend. But this will put stress on the Mechanical parts and hence reliability. It will be interesting to see what they do in Spain and Monaco.

  118. jason eade says:

    2 races were cancelled due to political and social unrest a few years ago,unless im mistaken

  119. Michael says:

    I’m expecting a lot better showing from Williams this race weekend.

  120. James Allen says:

    Not for that reason. They did add an hour one day to run under lights

  121. Optimaximal says:

    The race has been on the calendar for 10 years. Only the 2011 race was cancelled.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahrain_Grand_Prix#Winners_of_the_Bahrain_Grand_Prix

  122. Random 79 says:

    You have my commiserations :)

  123. Carl Sheen says:

    Could be interesting information to include to give us an idea how difficult the fuel saving will be?

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