The 2009 Formula 1 season continues with Bahrain GP. Most teams plan major developments only for the Spanish Grand Prix so there should not be too many suprises this weekend. But one never knows …
With the fuel loads taken in consideration the Brawn GP cars were still the fastest ones around in China on the dry track while Red Bulls were the class of the field in wet conditions. Both teams should be fighting for the podium in Bahrain too, as well as the “diffuser gang” teams Toyota and Williams.
Toyota spent quite a lot of their winter testing time in Bahrain and that may play to their advantage. Williams have the pace to challenge for the points and podium but they will need to start making the right calls during the races if they also want to get some results before the rest of the field catches up …
Flavio Briatore is trying to convince us all that Renault is quick, but we all could see that the front row starting position in China was achieved with almost no fuel in the tank. Bahrain should be dry and Renault will get the chance to prove that the pointless finish on China was only down to rain and safety car.
McLaren showed some signs of improvement last weekend in China and the team plans to bring more new parts for both cars to Bahrain.
Ferrari won 3 out 5 Bahrain GPs and twice occupied the top 2 steps on the podium but this year they will probably be more than happy if they leave with at least some points.
Robert Kubica scored his maiden pole position in Bahrain last year but repeat of that is unlikely this time …
Chances of rain are almost zero this weekend and the huge run-off areas greatly reduce the possibility of safety car appearance. We may finally see a “normal” race .
The desert location of the track however means that the track surface often has sand on it at the start of the race weekend, with track grip improving as the surface is cleaned by the cars running. Bridgestone will again bring the super soft and medium tyres. Bridgestone expects the medium tyre to be very durable.The super soft should present more of a challenge in terms of durability than the medium, however the data from the Bahrain pre-season tests show that this tyre can be managed well on this track if the correct set-up is found. The track layout means a lot of heavy braking and a lot of accelerating out of low speed corners. If a car has less than ideal traction, unwanted heat can be created in tyres complicating the matters for drivers.
The previous Bahrain Grands Prix were won by Michael Schumacher (2004), Fernando Alonso (2005-2006) and Felipe Massa (2007-2008).
Photo: Shell Motorsports
Track Diagram: Bridgestone Motorsports