Bahrain GP: Preview - Bridgestone


After the heat of the Malaysian Grand Prix, Bridgestone Motorsport's medium and soft compound Potenza Formula One tyres face another hot test with the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on April 6th.

The 5.41 km Hermann Tilke designed circuit features a diverse 15 turns. It is one of the toughest circuits on brakes visited during the course of the season, and the weather conditions are usually hot and dry, meaning that cars and drivers face a severe test. In addition, the desert location means the circuit often starts the weekend quite sandy, but with the running cars soon cleaning the track.

Finding traction is crucial in Bahrain with the circuit layout seeing a number of tight corners leading on to short straights. With no traction control in 2008, and the high demands for traction, this circuit could be the best illustration so far of just how well teams and drivers have adapted to the latest rules.

Where traction is not optimised, spinning the wheels or sliding can occur. Apart from looking dramatic, this causes additional heat in the tyres. Tyre management and minimising unnecessary tyre heat – in the already hot conditions - is therefore an important consideration for competitors here.

After reviewing data from the 2007 race, there is a change to tyre allocation for this year's race. Last year Bridgestone brought the hard and medium compound Potenza tyres to Bahrain, whereas this year it's the medium and soft compounds. This brings an additional challenge for teams and drivers to learn and maximise the potential of the soft compound on this track.

Last year in Bahrain Felipe Massa (Ferrari) used the medium compound to claim pole, the 100th achieved on Bridgestone Potenza tyres. Massa went on to win the race, using a medium-medium- hard tyre strategy.

Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development: "Bahrain is a challenging circuit and this will also be an interesting event as only two teams have tested here before the start of the season. After reviewing our data from last year we have changed the tyre allocation for this grand prix. The data showed we could go one position softer so we will use the soft and medium compound Potenza tyres this season. This will mean teams have less data than they have done for the previous two grands prix, where the allocations were the same as in 2007. A lap of the Bahrain International Circuit is exciting, and traction out of the slower corners is crucial for a good lap. As this is a ‘traction' circuit it will be interesting for drivers to find the best balance without the assistance of traction control. Just as last season, we should see some thrilling racing in Bahrain."

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Published: 30/03/2008
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