The Bahrain Grand Prix weekend marks the start of a new season in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, exclusively supplied by Pirelli. Twenty young drivers are aiming to follow in the footsteps of the top three in the 2018 standings – George Russell, Lando Norris and Alex Albon – who all made their Formula 1 debuts two weeks ago in Australia.

The challenge

• With three long straights and several corners that are taken at relatively slow speeds, traction and braking are key around the Bahrain International Circuit, placing the emphasis on the rear tyres.

• The circuit has an abrasive surface that provides good grip but contributes to tyre wear.

• Unlike in Formula 1, all of the Formula 2 sessions in Bahrain will take place during the day. With high ambient temperatures, thermal degradation can be a major factor.

• This year’s pre-season testing took place in Spain in cooler temperatures, so teams will need to gather new data for the conditions they face during the race weekend.

The tyres and strategy

• The Formula 2 tyres are the same as last year, but with new colours for the four slick compounds: P Zero White (hard), P Zero Yellow (medium), P Zero Red (soft) and P Zero Purple (supersoft).

• In Bahrain, the medium and soft tyres will be available, as was the case at the same circuit last year.

• Each driver has five sets of slick tyres to use over the weekend: three medium and two soft. They also have three sets of wet-weather tyres. During race one, where there is a mandatory pit stop, both compounds have to be used unless it is declared a wet race. Pit stops are optional in race two.

What happened last year?

Lando Norris won the first race for the F2 2018 car in dominant fashion, leading from start to finish. Like most other drivers, he began the race on the medium tyre and switched to the soft on lap 18 of 32.

Artem Markelov came from a pit-lane start to finish third on a similar strategy. He went on to win the sprint race from sixth using the medium tyres. Nyck de Vries replicated Charles Leclerc’s winning strategy from the 2017 race, pitting from the lead to swap the soft tyre for mediums, and used the fresher rubber to finish fifth.


Mario Isola, Pirelli head of F1 and car racing: “Unlike Formula 1, the Formula 2 drivers will be racing in the heat of the day in Bahrain, meaning that thermal degradation will be a bigger factor. Managing this will be crucial, especially as they are also racing on the most abrasive surface of the season. With the top three drivers in Formula 2 last year all finding seats in Formula 1, it’s a tried and trusted route to the top of the sport.”


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