Medium and soft for GP2 in Bahrain: medium for GP3
This race marks the second time this season that the GP2 Series comes to Bahrain, which has been added to the calendar again following the cancelled race in Germany, but the GP3 Series comes to Bahrain for the first time. For GP2 the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres have been nominated, the same selection as 2014 and earlier this season, meaning the teams have lots of data from previous races to help support their racing and tyre management strategy. However, for GP3 teams this will be their first experience in Bahrain, and the P Zero White medium tyre has been nominated. While the GP2 teams have lots of knowledge of Bahrain, the GP3 teams have very little which should make for some interesting racing. The Bahrain circuit opened over 10 years ago in the middle of the desert and is known for having one of the roughest track surfaces of anywhere on the calendar, making tyre management extremely important. The teams will also have to contend with high temperatures, as practice, qualifying and racing takes place in the heat of the day putting extra pressure on the tyres. Pirelli’s racing manager says: Mario Isola: “We come back to a venue that ourselves and the team know very well, in Bahrain, both through testing and racing, earlier this year. So although this weekend was a relatively late addition to the GP2 calendar, everyone is still very well-prepared due to the previous data we have collected here. We can expect quite a high degree of track evolution in the first sessions and also high temperatures. However, with the season coming towards an end and the drivers benefitting from previous experience, their tyre management skills should ensure that they get the best out of their allocation this weekend. For the GP3 drivers, the situation is much more uncertain as they come here for the first time. This means that they will have to go through the whole process of learning the track and how the tyres interact with it, in order to formulate the best tyre management strategy in what are sure to be very challenging conditions.” The challenge for the tyres: The ambient temperature in Bahrain is expected to be in the region of 30 degrees centigrade, meaning the track could reach up to 50 degrees centigrade or more. This makes thermal degradation a key factor, which the drivers in both series will need to manage. Bahrain also has a high level of asphalt roughness, which accelerates wear and degradation. The circuit puts a particular emphasis on the rear tyres, with traction and braking being two key characteristics of the medium-speed, flowing layout. The race and the rules:
GP2 Every car will have five sets of dry tyres and three sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP2 race weekend. The five sets of dry tyres comprise three sets of the medium compound and two sets of the soft compound. The drivers can use their tyre allocation in any way they like, but at least one set of each compound must be used in the feature race (unless it is a wet race). One set of the harder compound must be returned after free practice. Qualifying takes place at 14.20 on Thursday, after practice at 11.30. Race One on Friday is run at 15.30 over 37 laps and each driver must complete one compulsory pit stop. This cannot take place within the first six laps. Unlike Formula One, the drivers do not have to start the race using the tyres they qualified on. The grid for Race Two on Saturday at 10.45 is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed. Race Two is run over 28 laps, with no compulsory pit stops.
GP3 Every car will have three sets of dry tyres and two sets of wet weather tyres available for the GP3 race weekend. Only one compound is nominated: medium. The drivers can use the tyre allocation in any way they like. All the GP3 compounds carry yellow markings. Drivers are normally allowed to carry over one tyre set from the previous round for use in free practice only. This will be the ‘medium’ compound from Sochi: particularly useful in Bahrain as it is the same compound nominated for the race. There is one practice session, one qualifying session and two races in GP3. Qualifying takes place at 12.40 on Thursday, after a single free practice session at 09.35. Race One starts at 13.20 on Friday and lasts for 22 laps, followed by Race Two at 09.00 on Saturday (lasting 17 laps). The grid for Race Two is determined by the finishing order of the first race, with the top eight positions reversed.
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