McLaren at the 2012 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Drivers and teams will be facing notoriously high temperatures during race time tomorrow, though surprisingly they may even be faced with some wet weather as forecasters say there’s a slight chance of rain.
While it’s highly unlikely that we experience wet weather at the Bahrain Grand Prix this year, it being the start of the Bahraini summer means temperatures will still be soaring.
We’re expecting ambient temperatures of around 95 degrees F (35 degrees C) and track temperatures rising to 104 degrees F (40 degrees C) and above.
This means that the bodywork on the cars may have to be slightly opened to aid the cooling configuration, but chassis engineers will no doubt be trying to limit these openings to negate any detrimental effect on the aero performance.
Due to the higher temperatures, tire degradation is expected to be more critical than in the previous races. As such, it is important that the driver can accurately modulate the torque to reduce wheel spin and prolong tire life. With tire degradation, the drivers may also prefer to use engine support when braking to stabilize the rear end of the car. This prolongs the effective tire life, but comes at the expense of increased fuel consumption--and thus a higher race start weight--as well as a small increase in coolant temperatures.
As we saw in qualifying earlier today, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel will be starting on pole tomorrow, with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton starting beside him at the front of the grid. With both of the world championship winning drivers eager for their first win of the season, plenty of action should be guaranteed.
Going into tomorrow’s race, Hamilton holds the world championship lead with 45 points to his McLaren teammate Jenson Button's 43. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Bahrain’s 2010 winner, lies third with 37; McLaren's got the constructor's lead with 88 points to Red Bull's 64, Ferrari's 37, Sauber's 31, Mercedes' 26 and Lotus' 24 points.
We hope you enjoy the 2012 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix, and remember to check back on Monday for the full race results.