Apexhead's 2012 F1 Bahrain Gp Preview
Preview Bahrain GP Formula One Formula 1 F1
1. Pirelli tires have never endured a race in Bahrain
Tested, yes. But not in a competitive environment. This weekend will be a learning experience for Pirelli, as well as all teams involved. Speaking of tires…
2. Can Mercedes’ pace hold in the Bahrain heat?
We were all surprised that Nico Rosberg was able to manage his tires so well in China and hang onto the win. Michael Schumacher was on pace to finish somwhere between P2 and P4 had it not been for the pit error. This could very well be the hottest race of the year, which means more rapid tire degradation – not good news for Mercedes.<br style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">On the plus side, however, conditions should be the same between practice, qualifying and the race. This means Brawn’s crew should at least have dependable tire data come Sunday when determining a strategy.<br style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">Another plus is that the majority of the circuit is full-throttle, which should be a good thing for the team’s controversial “double DRS” chassis.<br style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">In the end, another huge test for Brawn’s team.
3. Expect another downer for the Crimson Rose
Both Ferrari and Fernando Alonso have had good success in Bahrain (not always together, mind you). The problem is, the F2012 is still way behind schedule and is not expected to hold up in these conditions very well. This season is basically the worst timing for Felipe Massa, who was already on the hot seat and is now contending with a sub-par car. He will be scrutinized yet again.
4. After three strong showings from a pace perspective, all eyes will be on Sauber and Williams
Both teams are competing to be a top 5 constructor. I would say Sauber has the edge right now, but bothSergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi have never competed in an F1 race in Bahrain, though both drivers have other experience with the track. I am curious how Perez will manage his tires, as he s known for trying to make his last much longer to reduce pit stops.<br style="margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; ">That said, we cannot discount the pace of Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado, especially the last two races. Bruno has really surprised so far.
5. Lotus could be a podium dark horse, but only if tire problems are minimized
Theoretically the Lotus E20 should perform well in the heat. Despite the disappointing finish for Kimi Raikkonen last weekend, the Falling Flying Finn has actually held up well for coming back to the sport after a two year sabbatical. Romaine Grojean‘s pace has been excellent all season.
As long as the team doesn’t make more mistakes with tire management, this could be a race where Lotus sneaks in a podium.
Odds and Ends
- Lewis Hamilton has been patient and seems upbeat; it’s only a matter of time before he or Jenson Button land a victory. The McLaren car is still the one to beat.
- Jean-Eric Vergne has not gotten out of Q1 in the last two races, but he has performed admirably on race day. The discrepancy likely points to setup issues, but time will tell.
- Is this the race where Force India is, well, a force? Of course, these types of things can’t help the team’s focus.
- The configuration being used this weekend (shorter) has not be in use since 2009.
- The circuit is rarely used otherwise, so expect a lot of green track early in the weekend. This isn’t helped by the likelihood of sands being swept on the track and causing grip problems
- Wind could also be a factor over the weekend.