2008 Bahrain Formula 1 GP – Wolf’s Race Preview

Bahrain 2007 WilliamsThe Bahrain Grand Prix is just around a corner and perhaps for next few days we can focus on racing instead of … well we all know whom :-) .

The last race in Malaysia was the 10th Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Bahrain is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year. A look back to previous four races (scroll down to the bottom of this post) reveals that only Renault and Ferrari managed to win this race. It is hard to see Renault to get to the top of the podium this year. But Ferrari would be my top favourite for this race. Their performance in Malaysia suggests that Melbourne might have been just a weekend off for Ferrari. Unlikely all the rest of the field Ferrari (along with Toyota) tested in Bahrain during the winter and that should be a an advantage for them. It however remains to be seen how Felipe Massa handles the car without traction control on a dusty and sandy track … The fact that he plans to use his old engine and not to waste a new one suggests he might be again thinking about early retirement from the race (ooops, looks like am still in April 1st mood :-) )

McLaren did not have the best of weekends in Malaysia and BMW Saubers seemed to have matched their race pace. For no particular reason I expect McLaren to be closer to Ferrari than they were 2 weeks ago but still behind them. BMW Saubers will try again to squeeze between Ferraris and McLarens. They are obviously permanently on alert to capitalize on every mistake any of the top four cars make.

The midfield will be close again but I suspect that Toyota may have another good weekend. They are the surprise package of 2008 so far and their winter tests on this track should not do them too much harm. Williams had disapointing weekend in Malaysia and blamed it on new track surface in Sepang. Well, perhaps the dessert sand will suit them better. The fight to get to Q3 should be fierce again with Red Bull, Renault, Honda and Toro Rosso all eyeing the top 10 on the starting grid.

Force India’s ambitions are smaller, for now, Q2 is their goal, yet again …Fisi has been close twice this year, perhaps it will be his lucky day. Super Aguri will again be simply happy to be there.

The rain might mix everything up though, if it ever comes. This is what weather people have to say about Bahrain this weekend:

weather bahrain


Now is time to get bit technical with some characteristics of the track (with the help of ING Renault track preview)

Bahrain TrackThe Bahrain Circuit:
- long straights, big braking zones and several low-speed sections
- requires good mechanical grip and a precise and responsive car
- the emphasis is on hard acceleration and stability under braking

Aerodynamics
- similar aero package to Melbourne and Sepang but the downforce settings will be lower than in the first two races

Chassis set-up
- a compromise to ensure a stable balance in the quick corners and supple enough suspension in the lower sections to give good mechanical grip

Brakes (quote from Renault):
“The Bahrain race is one of the more demanding circuits on the brakes, being similar to Montreal as one of the most severe tests of the year. With three big stops from over 320kph into first or second gear corners, the car needs good stability to avoid locking tyres during the race. The frequency of braking is also significant, especially between Turns 4 and 13, where the brakes are constantly running at high temperatures without the chance to cool down. Braking is further complicated this year by the absence of engine braking systems, and a mistake into the slow corners of 10, 13 or 14 could prove costly with the drivers having to be defensive down the following straights.” – Well, does not sound too promising for Felipe Massa …

Tyres
- the medium and soft option Bridgestone tyres will be brought to race
- the sand on the track makes the grip levels low
- sand sticking to tyres reduces the grip even further, to keep the tyres clean drivers have to keep their cars on the racing line

Engine Performance
- the engine spends about 63% of the lap spent on full throttle
- the main concern is however the cohabitation of sand and the engine

Strategy
- a two-stop strategy is generally expected
- in theory the top ten cars on the grid should pit between laps 17 and 21 and then around laps 35 to 40. The bottom cars may pit first between laps 20 and 25, and then between laps 40 to 45.

The results of previous 4 Bahrain F1 Grands Prix

2007
1) Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:32:27.515
2) Lewis Hamilton – McLaren + 2.360 secs
3) Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari + 10.839 secs
4) Nick Heidfeld – BMW + 13.831 secs
5) Fernando Alonso – McLaren + 14.426 secs
6) Robert Kubica – BMW + 45.529 secs
7) Jarno Trulli – Toyota + 1:21.371 secs
8)Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault + 1:21.701 secs
9) Heikki Kovalainen – Renault + 1:29.411 secs
10) Nico Rosberg – Williams + 1:29.916 secs

2006
1) Fernando Alonso – Renault – 1:29:46.20
2) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +1.2 secs
3) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +19.3 secs
4) Jenson Button – Honda +19.9 secs
5) Juan Pablo Montoya – McLaren-Mercedes +37.0 secs
6) Mark Webber – Williams-Cosworth +41.9 secs
7) Nico Rosberg – Williams-Cosworth +63.0 secs
8)Christian Klien – RBR-Ferrari +66.7 secs
9) Felipe Massa – Ferrari +69.9 secs
10) David Coulthard – RBR-Ferrari +75.5 secs

2005
1) Fernando Alonso – Renault – 1:29:18.531
2) Jarno Trulli – Toyota +13.4 secs
3) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +32.0 secs
4) Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +53.2 secs
5) Pedro de la Rosa – McLaren-Mercedes +64.9 secs
6) Mark Webber – Williams-BMW +74.7 secs
7) Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
8)David Coulthard – RBR-Cosworth +1 Lap
9) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +1 Lap
10) Tiago Monteiro – Jordan-Toyota +2 Laps

2004
1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:28:34.875
2) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +1.3 secs
3) Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +26.6 secs
4) Jarno Trulli – Renault +32.2 secs
5) Takuma Sato – BAR-Honda +52.4 secs
6) Fernando Alonso – Renault +53.1 secs
7) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +58.1 secs
8)Mark Webber – Jaguar-Cosworth +1 Lap
9) Olivier Panis – Toyota +1 Lap
10) Cristiano da Matta – Toyota +1 Lap

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2013 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
1. Sebastian VETTEL
2 Mark WEBBER
Ferrari
3. Fernando ALONSO
4. Felipe MASSA
McLaren
5. Jenson BUTTON
6. Sergio PEREZ
Lotus
7. Kimi RAIKKONEN
8. Romain GROSJEAN
Mercedes
9. Nico ROSBERG
10. Lewis HAMILTON
Sauber
11. Nico HULKENBERG
12. Esteban GUTIEREZ
Force India
14. Paul di RESTA
15. Adrian SUTIL
Williams
16. Pastor MALDONADO
17. Valtteri BOTTAS
Toro Rosso
18. Daniel RICCIARDO
19. Jean Eric VERGNE
Caterham
20. Charles PIC
21. Giedo van der GARDE
Marussia
24. Jules BIANCHI
25. Max CHILTON

2013 F1 Calendar

15-17 March - Australia
22-24 March - Malaysia
12-14 April - China
19-21 April - Bahrain
10-12 May - Spain
23-26 May - Monaco
07-09 June - Canada
28-30 June - Great Britain
5-7 July - Germany
26-28 July - Hungary
23-25 August - Belgium
06-08 September - Italy
20-22 September - Singapore
04-06 October - Korea
11-13 October - Japan
25-27 October - India
01-03 November - Abu Dhabi
15-17 November - USA
22-24 November - Brazil

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