No sooner had last weekend’s race in China ended that all the Formula One teams headed off for Bahrain for the fourth round of the season, scheduled for this weekend. The Bahrain Grand Prix is always a controversial stop on the F1 calendar, with the political tensions in the country still as hot as ever, but the race itself is an exciting one as it is a real test on the teams.
The race is held at the Bahrain International Circuit, a Hermann Tilke-designed track that stretches 3.3 miles and has a number of challenging characteristics. Some of these are the heavy acceleration and braking, factors that put the car under a lot of stress both in terms of traction coming out of the corners and when under braking.
The temperatures, dust and sand also present teams with a unique mechanical challenge in which to operate F1 cars at peak performance, although the temperature factor isn’t as bad as in past years as the Bahrain Grand Prix recently switched to being a night race. This creates other problems, though, as track and air temperatures tend to fall as the race goes on, which is the opposite to most day events.
The weather conditions for Sunday’s race is predicted to be dry and warm, starting in the region of 84 degrees F (29 degrees C) ambient and dropping down to 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) or lower by the finish. The risk of rain is very low, although there will be some cloud scatter. Pirelli has nominated its medium and soft compounds for the race.
Last year’s winner was Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton, who won after a spectacular dual with his teammate Nico Rosberg. While Mercedes remains the dominant force this season, Ferrari has shown that it’s also a contender, especially now that it has four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in its squad, so this weekend’s race could prove quite exciting.
Going into the weekend, Hamilton remains on top of the 2015 Drivers’ Championship standings with 68 points versus Vettel in second with 55 points and Rosberg in third with 51 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 119 points versus the 79 of Ferrari and 48 of Williams.