2020 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – PREVIEW
WHY WE’VE CHOSEN THE TYRES
- The Bahrain International Circuit will host two distinct challenges on consecutive weekends, but using the same tyre choice: C2 as the P Zero White hard, C3 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 as the P Zero Red soft.
- This year’s nomination is a step softer than last year’s, where the vast majority of the drivers stopped twice at the Bahrain Grand Prix. This was because drivers focussed on only the two softer compounds nominated in 2019, feeling that the C1 was too hard. As a result, the softer nomination this year should bring all three compounds into play.
- The first weekend is the Bahrain Grand Prix, held on the usual Bahrain International Circuit layout during the late afternoon and evening. The following weekend is the Sakhir Grand Prix, held at night on a unique short oval-style outer circuit with only 11 corners, where the lap time is expected to be less than a minute. At 87 laps, this will also be the highest lap count of the year.
- The tyres therefore have to cope with two different challenges, which combine some of the most abrasive asphalt seen all season with some of the highest average lap speeds of the year (at the Sakhir Grand Prix). Tyres in the middle of the range have been selected to cope with this very varied range of demands.
- At the first race, the Bahrain Grand Prix, the teams will have two sets of 2021 C3 tyre to sample on Friday for each car, on top of the usual allocation for the weekend (two sets of the hard, three sets of the medium, and eight of the soft). There will be a similar opportunity in FP2 at the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a set of C4 tyres for each driver.
BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX – TRACK CHARACTERISTICS
SAKHIR GRAND PRIX – TRACK CHARACTERISTICS
- This is the very first time that Bahrain has taken place so late in the season, but temperatures at the start and the end of the year are quite similar, so data from previous races should still be relevant. One risk present all year round is sand blowing onto the circuit from the surrounding desert, which can make the surface dirty and reduce grip.
- Sakhir is a medium severity circuit with a focus on traction and braking rather than lateral loads and the 3.543-kilometre outer circuit – set to be among the fastest in Formula 1, with a predicted average speed of around 230kph – should be a bit less demanding on tyres than the standard circuit. The drivers will work hard though as the short lap will mean a lot of traffic that could make qualifying and overtaking tricky.
- There will be quite a different approach to free practice at each race. For the Bahrain Grand Prix, two of the three free sessions are held in the heat of the day, so aren’t especially relevant to qualifying and the race. The same is true of the Sakhir Grand Prix, but as this is not only a new track but a totally new style of circuit, the teams will need to collect as much tyre and car data as they can by maximising every session.
F2: WHAT TO EXPECT
The Formula 2 season will conclude with back-to-back rounds supporting the two F1 races in Bahrain. The P Zero White hard tyres are nominated for both events, alongside the P Zero Yellow medium for the first round and P Zero Red soft for the following weekend. This gives teams and drivers another variable to adapt to between events, in addition to the change of layout.
The F2 field tested in Bahrain back in March, when they ran the new 18-inch tyres introduced for 2020 for the first time. After the second race, Sakhir will host another F2 test session.
MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
“We get to experience something quite different during both weekends in Bahrain. Perhaps the most interesting challenge will be the Sakhir Grand Prix, as it’s not like any other circuit where we have raced before: even though it uses about half of the standard grand prix track. While there’s some simulation data already, we need to wait for real data from free practice to understand the exact effect on wear, degradation, and therefore strategy. On top of that, we’re bringing tyres that are a step softer than last year, which open up more opportunities in terms of strategy. During the first weekend drivers will run the new 2021 tyres on Friday with the C3 compound, getting a first proper taste of the rubber they will use next year. Formula 2 is also back for the final round alongside F1, in a pair of races with different tyre nominations that will decide the title”.
FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX 2020
|MIN. STARTING PRESSURES (slicks)||EOS CAMBER LIMIT|
|22.5 psi (front) | 21.0 psi (rear)||-3.50° (front) | -2.00° (rear)|
FORMULA 1 ROLEX SAKHIR GRAND PRIX 2020
|MIN. STARTING PRESSURES (slicks)||EOS CAMBER LIMIT|
|23.5 psi (front) | 21.5 psi (rear)||-3.50° (front) | -2.00° (rear)|
|compounds nominated this season|
|Austria (July 5)|
|Austria (July 12)|
|Hungary (July 19)|
|Great Britain (August 2)|
|Great Britain (August 9)|
|Spain (August 16)|
|Belgium (August 30)|
|Italy (September 6)|
|Tuscany/Italy (September 13)|
|Russia (September 27)|
|Germany (October 9-11)|
|Portugal (October 23-25)|
|Italy / Emilia Romagna
(October 31 – November 1)
|Turkey (November 13-15)|
|Bahrain (November 27-29)|
|Bahrain / Sakhir (December 4-6)|
|Abu Dhabi (December 11-13)|
OTHER PIRELLI NEWS
- The GT World Challenge Europe, exclusively supplied by Pirelli, has concluded with the six-hour race. Alessandro Pier Guidi was crowned champion of the Endurance Cup, driving for Ferrari.