Bahrain Grand Prix Preview: Sakhir 19-21 April 2013

HARDEST P ZERO COMPOUNDS FOR BAHRAIN Milan, April 15, 2013 – Just one week after the Chinese Grand Prix, Formula One moves to Bahrain where the P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium tyres have been nominated. At the Bahrain International Circuit, high track and air temperatures are expected, along with a track surface that is frequently made dirty by sand from the surrounding desert. Bahrain is a fast, flowing and technically demanding circuit, which made it the perfect test venue for Pirelli when the Italian firm was preparing for its Formula One return. Traction and braking are the main demands of the 5.412-kilometre variable width track, with tyre degradation expected to be reasonably high – which is why the two hardest compounds of the range have been nominated. Paul Hembery: “Bahrain was one of the very few circuits that was entirely new to us in competition last year, although we know it well from testing. It’s one of the most demanding tracks of the year for the tyres, mostly because of the high ambient and track temperatures. We expect about three stops per car, although we’ll have to wait to get some running in on Friday before we can look at the data and make a more accurate prediction. One of the main challenges of racing in Bahrain is that the track evolution is very hard to predict, depending on how much sand is blown onto the circuit. From what we saw last year though, there will be plenty of scope for different race strategies, which can even allow drivers who have not qualified as well as they hoped to recover during the grand prix.” Jean Alesi: “Bahrain is a circuit that I never raced on during my Formula One career, but I did race there in the Speedcar series – similar to NASCAR – in 2009: in fact I won the race. After a change to the layout the track has now gone back to its original version and it’s a nice circuit that you definitely have to find a rhythm with. If you do this, it will bring you a good lap time but it will also make sure that your tyres stay in the best possible condition, which will be an important part of the race. It’s a circuit that is quite demanding on tyres, but this is an area where the driver always has an influence. Bahrain is also a physically demanding track, so a good level of physical preparation is necessary.” The tyre from a circuit point of view:

  • Bahrain is one of the most demanding tracks of the year in terms of longitudinal energy going into the tyres: especially under braking in turns one and 14, and traction in turn 10.
  • Braking is in fact a key characteristic of the Bahrain International Circuit: in the first corner the cars decelerate from 315kph to 65kph in just 130 metres and three seconds. This places a force on the tyres equivalent to around 4.5g.
  • Lateral energy is about average for the year, reaching a peak in turn 12.
  • Last year, the medium and soft tyres were selected – but this year’s compounds are all much softer than their equivalents last year, meaning that the 2013 hard tyre is more similar to the 2012 medium. The top five finishers selected a three-stop strategy at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, all starting on the soft tyre. However, the way they used the soft and the medium was quite different. The top-placed two-stopper came sixth.
  • Further information on Bahrain and the demands it places on tyres can be found on a 3D animated video that is copyright-free for media use on Pirelli’s Formula One website: www.pirelli.com/f1pressarea

Technical tyre notes:

  • The asphalt surface, made up of 60,000 tonnes of imported granite from England, offers good grip when clean and is classified as medium to high in terms of abrasion.
  • The expected lifespan of the hard tyre, when it comes to wear, should be 15-17 laps, whereas the medium tyre should last for approximately 13 to 15 laps.
  • The first corner is a particularly critical one. It’s important to exit turn one cleanly in order to make the most of the left-hand kink that follows and get a good drive onto the straights, while avoiding wheelspin and unnecessary tyre wear. Many places are won and lost here at the start.

The tyre choices so far:

  PZero Red PZero Yellow PZero White PZero Orange
Australia Supersoft   Medium  
Malesia     Medium Hard
China   Soft Medium  
Bahrain     Medium Hard

Meet the Pirelli F1 Team: Stefano Gardini, Director of Consumer, OEM and F1 Activation Stefano was born in Padova. He moved to Milan to go to Bocconi University to study economics. His first job was in the consumer industry where he worked for 10 years. In 2002 he joined Pirelli, initially to look after the motorcycle business unit. At the time he also looked after activation for the World Superbike championship, which for the first time ever chose a single tyre supplier: Pirelli. After this, he was responsible for the moto marketing and sales side of the business in Italy. In 2008 he moved to Pirelli’s truck business unit where he was in charge of B-to-B marketing operations. In 2011 he returned to consumer trade in Pirelli’s car business unit. From this year he is also responsible for the F1 Activation department, which organises all activities around Pirelli’s involvement in Formula One, with the teams as well as Pirelli customers and dealers. Stefano is passionate about model cars and he has been collecting them since he was a child. The collection now numbers more than 300! Other news from Pirelli:

  • The second round of the Italian Rally Championship, the Mille Miglia Rally – named after Italy’s most famous road race – got underway from Brescia the weekend before the Bahrain Grand Prix. Pirelli-backed Peugeot privateer Alessandro Perico won the rally.
  • Pirelli also supplied the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza, just half an hour from the company’s Milan headquarters.
  • Pirelli recently held the “Supplier Award 2013” ceremony in Milan, in recognition of the best suppliers who contribute in a significant way to Pirelli’s Premium strategy throughout the world. In total nine companies were given prizes, providing everything from synthetic rubber to IT solutions.