Formula 1 travels from the far to Middle East for Round 3 of the FIA World Championship in Bahrain. The tiny Country tucked on the East border of Saudi Arabia will play host at its 5.412 kilometer (3.363 mile), 15 turn circuit. Many heavy braking zones and several long straights, run off areas are plentiful and the circuit itself is very wide which will hopefully lead to great battles. However, sweltering dry heat and conditions which can be quite sandy at times will test the reliability (and grip) of the cars and perseverance of drivers throughout the weekend.
In 2016, the teams first season, Haas made their best finish of 5th place in the Bahrain desert, causing Grosjean to say it was “The American dream!” over team radio at the end of the race. The 5th place finish preceded didn’t translate into similar results for the rest of that season, but Grosjean, and the team are looking to repeat the performance and build on their first points finish last race in China that put them 7th in the Constructors World Championship ahead of Renault, Sauber and McLaren. Grosjean 19-11 Magnussen finished 8.
Adding to the teams best finish of 5th at Bahrain in 2016 Grosjean also has two back to back podium finishes in 2012 & 2013 with Lotus finishing 3rd in each out of his 5 Formula 1 starts in Bahrain. The track seems to suit the Frenchman who is probably nearing frustration with his lack of points after a DNF in Australia and a strong drive from 19th to 11th just outside of the points in China.
“Bahrain is not a circuit that looks very technical from a paper point of view, but I love driving it every year….turns 9 & 10 are pretty tricky. That’s the braking going downhill and there’s a lot of g-forces and front locking, with tricky traction on exit. That’s the place where you really need to focus” Grosjean said.
Magnussen meanwhile has two starts, one with McLaren in 2014 and the other with Renault in 2016 where he made his best finish of 11th coming back from dead last of 22nd on the grid.
“I’d say turns 11, 12, and 13 are cool.” Magnussen said. It’s a track with some good braking zones, fast chicanes and medium speed corners. It’s quite fun.”
Pirelli are brining three tire compounds to the Bahrain circuit this weekend; P Zero White mediums, Yellow softs, and Red supersofts. The P Zero White mediums may be the most suited to Bahrain, from Pirelli; “less grip, less wear (used for long race stints). This is Pirellis most balanced tire, with an ideal compromise between performance and durability. It’s extremely versatile, but often it comes into it’s own on circuits that tend towards high speeds high temperatures, and high-energy loadings. It is a low range working compound.”
I believe Haas are going to preform well this weekend, the VF 17, if it’s predecessor is any indication, will preform well, the circuit may be one of Romain Grosjeans strongest and Magnussen is on form after a confidence building 8th place finish in China. The VF 17 is ready for it’s first performance of the season under the bright lights in the desert