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Azerbaijan GP: Track notes, DRS, tyres, stats and more

NEWS STORY
25/04/2019

Other than routine maintenance, no changes of significance have been made to the Baku Street Circuit since last year.

In terms of DRS, there are two zones and they are the same as in 2018. The detection point of the first is the SC2 line, while activation is 54m after Turn 2.

The detection point of the second zone is at the apex of Turn 20, with activation 347m after Turn 20.

As in China, the hard tyre choice is the C2, the medium the C3 and the soft C4, right in the middle of Pirelli's range of five compounds.

Baku is the longest and also the fastest street circuit on the calendar, thanks to the lengthy straights that form the majority of the 3.730 mile (6.003 km) track: the second longest of the year after Spa.

However, while the speeds are high, the track is narrow - and that combination has caused a few incidents in the past.

Baku is known as the 'city of winds' - which naturally have an effect on the aerodynamics, while high track temperatures, but cool weather, make it a tough race to predict.

The long straights have the effect of cooling down the front tyres in particular - a bit like China - which can cause a risk of front locking.

Last year the race was won with a two-stop strategy, but this was influenced by two safety cars. In fact, the safety car has been out in the last two of the three Baku races held to date, so all strategies have to be flexible.

As is always the case on a street circuit, the surface tends to be 'green' and slippery at the start of the weekend especially, and grip is affected by features such as white lines and surface changes, Degradation is generally low on the smooth surface.

Another factor affecting grip levels is the fact that there are patches of light and shades along the circuit, which is downtown and surrounded by high buildings. This means that the track temperature can vary of different parts of the circuit. The race starts at 16:10 (local time), so temperatures can fall quite quickly.

The three top teams have all made different tyre nominations. Red Bull has the most sets of soft tyres of the leading trio, followed by Mercedes, while Ferrari has selected the least soft tyres of any team.

Baku is the most power sensitive track of the year so far, even more so than Montreal and any extra power will make a noticeable impact on lap time owing to the long periods of wide open throttle.

Around 59% (in qualifying) of the track is at at wide open throttle. Indeed, the majority of the last sector is flat-out, from Turn 16 to the braking point for Turn 1. Drivers will be on the throttle for a total of 24s through this sector with a maximum speed of 209 mph (337 km/h) with DRS.

Baku is on the limit for fuel usage, therefore it is expected that drivers will have to incorporate around 4% fuel saving to stay within the 105kg limit. Canada is in the region of 8%.

The drivers will be on the brakes for approximately 20% of the lap, giving the energy recovery systems ample opportunity to recharge the energy store.

The track is middle of the road for downforce levels, making cornering speeds approximately equivalent to Sochi, 46 - 75 mph (75 - 120 km/h).

Check out our Thursday gallery from Baku, here.

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