Bahrain International Circuit, home of the Formula One Bahrain Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
Because the Bahrain International Circuit where the race is held lies in the middle of a desert, conditions change frequently, with lots of sand being blown almost constantly.
In addition to this, teams have to deal with some hottest temperatures of the year.
The weather forecast for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix is for clear and sunny skies, with a peak temperature of 91 degrees F (33 degrees C). Humidity is expected to be just 33 percent and wind speed will be a low 10 mph.
The high ambient temperature, which registers even higher on the track, means car bodywork may have to be slightly opened to aid cooling. However, chassis engineers will no doubt be trying to limit these openings to negate any detrimental effect on the aero performance.
Tire degradation is also expected to be quite high at this race, which can always throw up some interesting challenges for the teams. Traction and braking are the two key aspects of Bahrain, both of which are very demanding on the rubber. Pirelli has its P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium tires, the two hardest this season.
Earlier today, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, fresh from his win at last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, set the second fastest time of 1.34.564 in the first free practice session, behind his team-mate Felipe Massa who set a time of 1.34.487. Later in the day, Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen registered a 1:34.154, which was just ahead of Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber's 1:34.184.
Going into qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s eventual race, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing leads the Drivers’ Championship with 52 points, followed by Kimi Räikkönen with 49 points and Fernando Alonso in third with 43 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains in the lead with 78 points, followed by Ferrari with 73 points and Lotus with 60 points.