Friday 20 to Sunday 22 April, 2012, Sakhir, Bahrain
Round: 4 of 20
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Having held the race on the longer endurance course layout in 2010, the 2012 race has now reverted back to the 5.412km long, 57 lap Grand Prix layout. One of the main problems imposed by this circuit is the very hot local ambient conditions of typically 35°C and track temperature rising into the high 40°C’s. These conditions force teams to open up the engine cooling bodywork which in turn can adversely affect the aerodynamic efficiency.
The layout of the circuit means the likelihood of a safety car is very low. The DRS zone detection point is just before the penultimate corner and the activation point is along the main straight. Pirelli have brought the same tyre compounds as used in both Australia and China, namely the Prime medium and Option soft tyre, and tyre management will once again be the main priority. Having got both cars home in the points in China the whole team is eager to repeat this result in Bahrain this coming weekend.
Pastor Maldonado: I like the circuit layout, and it should suit our car because of the hot conditions. It is also a challenging circuit for tyre degradation so we need to prepare for that. It was satisfying to score my first points of the season in China and hopefully I can pick up some more points in Bahrain.
Bruno Senna: Bahrain is a challenging track with a number of long straights followed by big braking areas so the car has to be set up differently to many other circuits. Cars with a big DRS effect will have an advantage so it will be interesting to see how teams will perform. We have good momentum from the first three races of the season and hopefully we can carry that into this race.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: Sakhir is relatively similar in characteristic to Shanghai, so we will re-use the China engines again on both cars. Around 50% of the lap is spent at full throttle, but there are fewer slow corners so we work towards delivering driveability through the higher end of the rev range. We will target another trouble-free weekend to allow the team to capitalise on its China results and we are all very positive about the performance of the chassis-engine package so far this year.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: Once more we have nominated the soft and the medium tyre for Bahrain but these tyres will face a very different challenge to what we saw in China. Temperatures are expected to be very warm, and sand is often seen on the track in Bahrain from the surrounding desert which can affect grip, particularly at the beginning of each session. Traction and braking is very important at the circuit, which we tested at twice as we were preparing to return to Formula One, so we do have some data even though we are racing there for the first time.