This weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix is a landmark event for Formula One: it will be the first world championship event ever staged in the Middle East. The brand-new circuit's desert setting makes it unique among contemporary host venues and the race...
This weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix is a landmark event for Formula One: it will be the first world championship event ever staged in the Middle East. The brand-new circuit's desert setting makes it unique among contemporary host venues and the race marks a step into the unknown for teams and their technical partners. Michelin has been conducting sophisticated simulation tests in order to prepare dry-weather tyre compounds that will be suitable for the conditions.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"We came away from the previous grand prix in Malaysia in an extremely positive frame of mind. We are now moving from Sepang, a track with which we are familiar and where we have enjoyed great success in the past, to Bahrain, where we have no relevant experience at all. We don't know much about what lies ahead, although it will definitely be hot and there is a risk that sand will blow onto the track, a factor that will significantly decrease the level of grip and accelerate the rate of tyre wear. What I can say for certain, however, is that Michelin's extensive pre-race research has allowed us to prepare as thoroughly as possible."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin Formula One programme manager:
"Bahrain might be hot, but our investigations indicate that the circuit won't place particularly extreme loads on tyres, unlike tracks such as Barcelona. We plan to take three dry-weather tyre options, both from the middle segment of our range. Our calculations suggest that the fuel penalty will be somewhere between 0.3s and 0.35s per lap for every extra 10kg, but it is difficult to come up with a precise figure until the cars have turned a wheel in anger. Preparing for events such as this adds an interesting new twist to the season and I am confident."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director, BAR Honda:
"Bahrain might be an unknown quantity, but we have such good predictive tools nowadays that we can generate a very clear picture of a lap of the track long before we get there. We have access to all the co-ordinates, corner geometries and elevations, so we are able to establish a pretty good baseline. There are one or two questions still to be answered, however: we don't know how rough the kerbs are, for instance, or whether there are any ripples in the surface that might require us to raise the ride height a little."
"That's the kind of detail we'll assess when we have a chance to look at the circuit properly on the Thursday immediately before the race. When it comes to evaluating tyre wear for an event like this, BAR Honda relies on Michelin's input. So far we have only completed two races together, but they have been the tip of the iceberg in our working relationship. We carried out about 20,000 kilometres of pre-season testing and I was impressed by the manner in which both parties were able to begin collaborating productively within an incredibly short space of time. Our partnership has started very positively - and the team's podium finish in Malaysia reflected that."