Bahrain GP – Tech
The opening round of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship season takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit. Built on former desert, the track sits about 30 kilometres south of the island kingdom’s capital city, Manama. In 2004 Bahrain became the first Middle Eastern country to host a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship; this is the second time it has hosted the season-opening Grand Prix – the first being in 2006.
Several changes have been made to the track for 2010. It’s now configured with inner and outer circuits, a new loop, and has 23 turns: 13 right-handers and 10 left-handers. The additional loop, starting just after the old turn four, brings eight new corners – a fast left leading into a sequence of five bends followed by a quick kink then a hairpin – all with a significant elevation change. The layout will be a new challenge for the drivers and should add overtaking opportunities. BIC’s desert location means sand blown on to the circuit by frequent strong winds can reduce grip levels. To help ensure maximum grip, the track surface was laid with a special type of sandstone. The Bahrain Grand Prix, with its Arabian climate and desert setting, presents competitors with a unique challenge: all must cope with heat, dehydration and sand.
CHANGES TO THE CIRCUIT SINCE 2009
• New, longer configuration featuring eight additional corners.
• Additional conveyor belting has been fitted in all tyre barriers more than six rows deep.
• The paint from all kerbs has been stripped and re-applied.
FAST FACTS: BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT
• Seventy thousand cubic metres (70,000m3) of concrete was used during circuit construction.
• Despite rumours, sand around the BIC has never been glued to stop it blowing onto the track.
• In 2007 the BIC was recognised as a Centre of Excellence by the FIA Institute, for its commitment to setting high standards in medical, marshal and race control safety.
• BIC’s 6.3km length makes it the second-longest track on the 2010 calendar, after Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps (7km).
• The 2010 Bahrain GP will run over just 49 laps – fewer only than the Belgian GP (44 laps) – but the race will be the sixth-longest, at 308km from lights to flag.
• Length of lap: 6.299km
• Start line/finish line offset: 0.246km
• Total number of race laps: 49
• Total race distance: 308.405km
• Pitlane speed limits: 60km/h during practice sessions; 100km/h during qualifying and race
A cutting edge facility located where once there was only desert, Sakhir hosted the Middle East’s inaugural world championship grand prix in 2004. The predominantly medium-speed corners aren’t particularly taxing, but local conditions conjure other challenges. Drivers have to contend with fierce ambient heat and the circuit – extended this year, with a new series of corners between what were Turns Four and Five – can be quite slippery. Its surface is frequently sandblasted by strong winds that whip across the adjacent terrain.
- Kilos per lap: 2.37kg / 5km
- Time loss per 5km of fuel: 0.07s/lap of fuel
- Vmax: 303kph
- Average speed: 210kph
- Turn angle: 124°
- Temperatures: Ambient 34°C / Track 42°C
- Greatest power reduction: 1010 mbar pressure
- Pitlane loss: 18.6 seconds
- Pitlane length: 420m
- Safety cars: 0.3 average per race
Circuit Statistics Legend
Kilos per lap: This indicates the amount of fuel required to complete a lap of each circuit normalilsed for a 5km lap, thereby indicating the relative fuel demands of each circuit.
Time loss per 5km of fuel: This metric indicates the relative penalty at each circuit of carrying 5km of fuel.
Vmax: The highest top speed at each circuit, one variable in the aero map for each track profile.
Average speed: Velocity averaged over the circuit distance, another variable in determining the aero map.
Average corner speed: In contrast to Vmax which indicated highest speeds achieved normally on the longest straight of the cricuit, average corner speed indicates the aggregated speeds through all corners on any given circuit, providing an insight to the nature of the circuit profile.
Turn angle: Average turn angle indicates the average angle of a circuit’s corners expressed in degrees. The higher the average turn angle, the more acute the corners in the circuit’s configration and the greater propensity for understeer to compromise lap time.
Temperatures: Average ambient and track temperatures have a bearing on many variables, from tyre warm-up to significant car cooling requirements. And if you need to open the bodywork for cooling, you have to consider the potential drag penalties.
Greatest power reductions: Air density has a bearing on engine power and the most influential factor in air density is air pressure, determined by the elevation above sea level.
Pitlane loss: The time lost (excluding stationery time) entering and exiting the pit lane, providing an indication of not just the pitalne length, but also its profile.
Pitlane length: The entry to exit distance of each pitlane.
Safesty cars: A variety of past statistics indicates the likelihood of the safety car’s possible intervention.
Sources: FIA, Williams F1