Round two of the 2018 Formula 1 World Championship takes us to Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The race is very different to the previous round in Melbourne, Australia. For example, at this time of year the temperatures in Bahrain reach close to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) during the hottest part of the day.
And the race, scheduled for Sunday, starts at twilight and finishes under lights in order to avoid most of the heat of the day. However, this throws up a new issue since all of the practice sessions take place during the day and the qualifying and race are held at night. This makes it extremely difficult to find the right setup.
The Bahrain International Circuit stretches 3.3 miles, with its layout defined by four relatively long straights that should prove a good test of the power units. The brakes also get a good work out due to the slow corners. Because of this combination, car setup is a compromise between straight-line speed and cornering grip. Pirelli has nominated its medium, soft and supersoft compounds for the race.
Going into tomorrow's qualifying session and Sunday's race, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel leads the 2018 Drivers' Championship with 25 points. Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton is second with 18 points and Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen is third with 15 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari leads with 40 points versus the 22 of Mercedes and 20 of Red Bull Racing. Last year's winner in Bahrain was Vettel.
In other F1 news, organizers at a meeting on Friday in Bahrain announced a series of proposals for the future of the sport from 2021 onward. Among the proposals were calls for less expensive, louder power units albeit still with hybrid technology. The proposals also called for costs caps and some standardization of parts, two issues top teams Ferrari and Mercedes have expressed displeasure with in the past.
The full list of the proposals is below:
Power units (PU)
- The PU must be cheaper, simpler, louder, have more power and reduce the necessity of grid penalties.
- It must remain road relevant, hybrid and allow manufacturers to build unique and original PU.
- New PU rules must be attractive for new entrants and customer teams must have access to equivalent performance.
- We believe how you spend the money must be more decisive and important than how much money you spend.
- While there will be some standardised elements, car differentiation must remain a core value.
- Implement a cost cap that maintains F1's position as the pinnacle of motorsport with a state-of-the-art technology.
- The new revenue distribution criteria must be more balanced, based on meritocracy of the current performance and reward success for the teams and the Commercial Rights Holder (Liberty Media).
- F1s unique, historical franchise and value must and will still be recognised.
- Revenue support to both cars and engine suppliers.
Sporting and technical rules & regulations
- We must make cars more raceable to increase overtaking opportunities.
- Engineering technology must remain a cornerstone but driver’s skill must be the predominant factor in the performance of the car.
- The cars must and will remain different from each other and maintain performance differentiators like aerodynamics, suspensions and PU performance. However, we believe areas not relevant to fans need to be standardised.
- A simple and streamline structure between the teams, the FIA and F1.