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Miroslav Sanytrák | 11.4.07 | Aktuality

BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW
9th APRIL 2007

Formula One travels from the Far to the Middle East for the last of the season’s opening rounds of long haul races with the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. The Gulf State of Bahrain provides the location for round three of the Championship, at the island’s Sakhir circuit sited south-west of the capital, Manama. In only its fourth year, the Bahrain International Circuit is a wholly unique desert venue. The race comes just a week after a promising demonstration of race pace but a poor finish to the Malaysian Grand Prix. The AT&T Williams team are therefore hoping to improve their performance with points in the desert.

Nico Rosberg
I can’t wait to go to Bahrain. I really like the track and we did well there last year, it also suited me when I drove there in GP2 the year before. I hope we will continue our current momentum, at the moment we have the speed, especially in the race, but I think we might have to work hard on set-up during Friday’s practice sessions, particularly due to the nature of the Bahrain track. I expect a good weekend and we must succeed in achieving what we missed out on in Malaysia. I will be spending the few days between the two races with my parents, who arrived in Bahrain last Thursday, and it will be good to spend some time just relaxing before the weekend.

Alex Wurz
I’m looking forward to Bahrain. I like the circuit and last year we produced good lap times there so I think it suits the car as well. The only thing we have to overcome is that we didn’t test there over the winter so we will have a bit of catching up to do on Friday but I don’t think it’ll be a problem. We have a new aero package for the race that I tested at the Malaysia test a couple of weeks ago. It worked well so I’m optimistic that we will get the cars into the top ten if everything goes ok. That has to be our target for this weekend.

Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1
Two years ago, when the Bahrain Grand Prix was held in mid-April, temperatures reached 43oC on this hot and dry circuit. Weather conditions play a considerable part over the weekend, particularly as wind direction and strength can change significantly from day to day. The extreme variables will all have to be taken into account for set-up direction. It is a good racing track, with two or three overtaking opportunities around the lap, which always makes the race interesting. With the three long straights, which will see top speeds of around 320kph, and slow speed corners, aerodynamic efficiency is well rewarded at Sakhir. Brake wear is also a consideration as Bahrain is typically one of the hardest circuits on brakes. After an encouraging third row grid position in Malaysia, but a disappointing race result, we are going to Bahrain with the target of getting more points. Our understanding of the tyres has improved and this is helping us to get more performance out of the FW29. Pitstop strategy will be interesting, as a variety of strategies were used in last year’s race. Williams set the fastest lap of the race last year, set by Nico during his Formula One debut.

Bahrain International Circuit
One of the most unique destinations on the calendar due to its geographical location, the imposing desert backdrop significantly influences track conditions over the Grand Prix weekend at Sakhir. The blowing winds intermittently blast desert sands onto the 5.412km circuit which inevitably pose certain challenges for all but the leading driver as they pursue their counterparts and their cars are faced with air infused with damaging sand particles. As such, the sand dictates a necessity for heavy duty air filters to prevent the blocking of air cooling inlets, an essential requirement but one which must not compromise aerodynamic efficiency. Grip levels are another casualty of the sand and are reduced when sand settles on the track making all but the racing line dangerously slippery. The track is a complex mix of 15 slow and medium speed corners connected by three high speed straights, the fastest of which will see the cars peak at 320kph at the end of the pit straight going into turn one. With the lowest cornering speed registered at just above 100kph at Sakhir’s turn five, and taken in first gear, the number of extreme braking events is high so brake preservation is paramount. Due to the extensive, high speed stretches, each lap will demand a full throttle percentage of 62%; combined with the braking, cooling and sand variables, engine reliability will be a considerable factor in the race’s outcome. A circuit built to house 50,000 spectators, the fourth race in Bahrain will undoubtedly deliver another exciting Formula One Grand Prix.

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