F1 simulations predict Sakhir GP pole time of 53.9s

Formula 1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds is confident that the Sakhir GP on Bahrain’s outer circuit will be a “spectacle” - and he has revealed the predicted pole time.

F1 simulations predict Sakhir GP pole time of 53.9s

The track, which has never been used for racing, will host the penultimate round of the 2020 World Championship on December 6.

Symonds leads the group of engineers at the F1 organisation that ran simulations of the short, high-speed circuit before deciding that it could host a Grand Prix.

He says that the numbers indicate a pole lap time of 54.3s if two DRS zones are used, which will fall to 53.9s if three zones are employed. A final decision on the number of zones has yet to be made.

Symonds said that F1 looked at all available options when trying to distinguish Bahrain’s second event from the first.

“We've done a lot of simulation,” he said. “Naturally when we have two races back-to-back on the same track we're looking for ways of not just having a carbon copy one weekend to the next.

“At Silverstone for example, the idea was to bring the tyre compounds one step softer. In Austria, we felt we needed to just have some stability because it's the start of the season. But as we move on to Bahrain, we wanted to look for something else.

“And Bahrain is quite unique, in that it does have a number of different circuits. And if you remember, we did use an alternative circuit some years back [in 2010].

“And that didn't actually give a very good race. Bahrain typically does give quite a good race, and that particular circuit wasn't that good. So we evaluated all the circuits that were available to us.”

Symonds says that his team looked at all aspects of racing on the outer track.

“We have some pretty sophisticated tools,” he noted. “They're not just lap simulation tools, they are tools that allow us to look at probabilities of overtaking, and things like this. Of course, we also looked at tyre duty cycles, brake duty cycles, all these sorts of things.

“And in this case, we even had to look at lighting, because it's going to be a night race, rather than the dusk race. And we had to ensure that on the outer loop, we had adequate lighting. So we've been through all that.

“We felt that there was something really quite different. It's a very short lap time, it's a very high speed circuit. It's a different sort of challenge. But we're pretty sure it's actually going to give quite an exciting race. We really want to provide the fans and the spectators with something different.

“We're looking at qualifying with two DRS zones at a 54.3s, if we have three DRS zones that comes down to about a 53.9s.”

Asked by Motorsport.com about potential traffic issues – especially when 20 cars are running in Q1 – Symonds said that drivers would just have to deal with it.

“In terms of traffic, yeah, it's going to be crowded, in the same way Brazil gets crowded. Short circuits do. It's all part of the challenge. And the Drivers’ Championship, we mustn't forget that to be a complete driver, you have to handle things like this.

“And of course the teams have so many tools these days to look at these sort of things. So it will be a challenge, it will be difficult, and maybe someone will lose out from it, someone will gain from it, but I think overall, we're going to have a good spectacle there.”

F1 boss Ross Brawn confirmed that the track will be significantly faster than the usual Bahrain layout, and car set-up will have to change from the previous week’s race on the regular track.

“The excitement for all of us and the fans is that this will be a different race with new challenges,” Brawn told Motorsport.com. “The teams are the best at adapting to situations and will find the ways to maximise their competitiveness and strategies for this circuit.

“Relative to the current circuit, the full throttle percentage could increase by up to 5% per lap and the average qualifying speed increases from 219 to 232 km/h.

“These coupled with the lap layout could force teams to adopt a lower wing level than they would at the traditional F1 circuit. It’s also going to be later in the evening than the Bahrain GP so with that comes different conditions, and hopefully added drama.”

shares
comments

Related video

Wolff: Hamilton’s tyre dream a ‘physical impossibility'
Previous article

Wolff: Hamilton’s tyre dream a ‘physical impossibility'

Next article

Belgian GP: Hamilton leads FP3 from Ocon; Vettel slowest

Belgian GP: Hamilton leads FP3 from Ocon; Vettel slowest
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021