Bahrain Grand Prix – Preview

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Formula One heads to the Bahrain International Circuit which plays host to the second round of the 2018 World Championship. Sebastian Vettel won the first race, but Ferrari has to sort out its balance issues.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is usually the third race of the calendar, but it kicked off the season in 2006 and 2010, robbing that important title from the Australian Melbourne track in those two years. For 2018, the Bahrain GP moved up a place in the calendar, hosting the second round of the championship.

History

The 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix marked the first ever round of the FIA Formula One World Championship to be held in the Middle East. The track is located in Sakhir which lies 30kms south-west of the island’s capital Manama.

The track was designed by German architect Herman Tilke. The construction works began in November 2002. As it is located in the desert, huge preparation work was needed. 12000 tonnes of stone was used in the build. One third of it is Welsh granite which forms the track surface because of its outstanding adhesive qualities.

The first race was held in 2004, Michael Schumacher claiming the win and doing so he became the first ever winner in the Grand Prix history of Bahrain.

The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix scheduled for 13 March was cancelled due to the 2011 Bahraini protests. FIA wanted to reschedule the event for October, but in the end it was decided that the Moving Circus will only revisit the country when peace returns in Bahrain.

Human rights activists called for a cancellation of 2012 race due to reports of alleged human rights abuses committed by the Bahraini authorities. Team personnel also voiced concerns about safety, but the race, nonetheless, was held as planned on 22 April 2012.

In 2014, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the first staging of the Bahrain Grand Prix, the race was held as a night event under floodlights. The Bahrain round became the second in the history of Formula One to host a night race after the 2008 Singapore GP. Due to its success, subsequent races have also been night races.
Country – interesting facts

Bahrain is an Arab constitutional monarchy in the Persian Gulf. It is an island country, its capital is Manama, its main religion is Islam, its two main ethnic groups are Arab and South Asian. It has been famed since antiquity for its pearl fisheries, which were considered the best in the world into the 19th century.

In Arabic, Bahrayn means ‘the two seas’. Bahrain is actually an archipelago of 33 islands. Bahrain World Trade Centre is the first skyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines into its design. Bahrain’s flag used to be the largest flag in the world, setting a Guinness world record in 2004 at 169.5m long and 97.1m wide. The first oil in the Arabian Gulf was discovered in Bahrain in 1932. Oil production has significantly increased to around 150,000 barrels last year – up from 40,000 barrels just a few years ago.

The most successful drivers and teams

Ferrari is the most successful team with five wins, followed by Mercedes (three triumphs). Renault and Red Bull share the third spot in this ranking with two-two wins on their tally.
Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel both were victorious three times in Bahrain. Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton have both two victories to their names.

Track
The track is 5.412km which adds a total race distance of 308.238km. Drivers circulate 57 times around the track over the Grand Prix distance. The official lap record is 1:31.447, however Valtteri Bottas secured the pole position with a time of 1:28.769 in last year’s event.

There are 15 corners, six of which are left-handed ones. There are eight braking events, four of which are heavy ones which mean that huge energies go through the brakes. The stop-and-go nature of the track makes the Bahrain GP one of the toughest in terms of fuel consumption. Drivers spend approximately 63 per cent of the lap at full throttle.

The length of the pit lane is 419.7m when drivers have to adhere to the pit lane speed limit. Drivers spend 18.9s driving at the speed limit of 80kph.

The main straight is quite long and the distance from the pole position to the apex of the first corner is also rather long with its 501.9m which offers good opportunities for close fights at the start.

There will be two DRS zones. The first one is on the main straight while the second one is on the back straight between turn 10 and 11. Turn one and turn four have been the best overtaking spots so far.

Pirelli will allocate the teams with the trio of medium, soft and supersoft compounds.