2023 Bahrain Grand Prix - Preview
“The new C1 can be a valid option for the race”
“The first race of the championship will be an important test bench to validate all the development work we have carried out last year, which allowed us to further improve the structure of the tyres and introduce a new compound. Our latest C1 will make its debut at Sakhir: an entirely new compound based on last year’s C2, which allows us to reduce the performance gap between the harder compounds in the range. We expect it to be a valid option for the race this weekend as well. The ‘undercut’ is often pivotal to the Bahrain Grand Prix, so it will be interesting to see how the teams make use of this new element in the trio of compounds that are nominated for Sakhir.”
THE TYRES ON TRACK
- The new C1 makes its debut at the first race of the season in Sakhir. This year, Pirell has expanded the range of available compounds to six, with three still chosen for every race. The brand new C1 compound fills the gap between the hardest C0 (used as the C1 in 2022) and the C2, which is unchanged from last year.
- At the Bahrain Grand Prix, C1 will be the P Zero White hard, C2 will be the P Zero Yellow medium and C3 will be the P Zero Red soft. The teams will have at their disposal two sets of hard tyres, three sets of mediums, and eights sets of soft per car, as well as the usual allocation of Cinturato intermediate and full wet tyres.
- The Bahrain International Circuit features some of the most abrasive asphalt of the year while the track – consisting of low to medium speed corners – mainly places traction and braking demands on the tyres. The layout also requires a good level of stability at the rear of the car.
- The wide range of temperatures is a factor to take into consideration. Asphalt temperatures can reach 45 degrees centigrade during the day, dropping by at least 15 degrees as evening falls. FP2, qualifying and the race – which all begin at 18:00 – will therefore be run in very different conditions to the remaining sessions, which take place in the early afternoon.
- The Bahrain Grand Prix takes place on a circuit surrounded by the Sakhir desert. Wind can sometimes blow sand onto the track, affecting the grip levels during the sessions. The support races include Formula 2 and Formula 3, with the resulting rubber laid down influencing track evolution.
- Tyre degradation will be a key factor when it comes to deciding the strategy. Last season, all the drivers bar one stopped three times (rather than the anticipated two-stopper) due to a late-race safety car. The winner Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) carried out his first two stints on the soft, before swapping to the medium. The safety car allowed him to put the soft back on for the final run to the flag, ahead of his team mate Carlos Sainz.
Exclusively supplied by Pirelli, will also begin their seasons in Bahrain. This year’s Formula 2 grid includes no fewer than 10 drivers who have graduated from Formula 3: including 2022 champion Victor Martins, who received a 300,000 euro scholarship from Pirelli to help him move up to F2. A total of 22 drivers are competing in Formula 2, while the F3 grid comprises 30 drivers – 18 of whom are rookies.
The World Rally Championship – another series officially equipped by Pirelli – has got underway, with Toyota’s defending champion Kalle Rovanpera winning in Monte-Carlo and Ott Tanak triumphing for M-Sport Ford in Sweden on only his second WRC event in the car.
The Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli launched its 2023 season on the Bathurst circuit in Australia, resulting in the fastest race in the history of the 12 Hours, with a record number of laps completed and the winning Mercedes crossing the line less than a second ahead of the Porsche that was runner-up. Bike legend Valentino Rossi topped FP2 before finishing sixth in the race with his BMW team mates.