Whether you take to the track as part of a tour or race there are plenty of bends and curves to look out for on Bahrain's GP track
Since its inauguration in 2004, the Sakhir circuit has developed a reputation for being very challenging. It contains a mixture of high, medium and low-speed corners, which require teams to strike a balance between high down-force – giving the car more grip on the road and enabling the driver to make the turns – and speed on the circuit’s substantial straight sections. Finding the best combination of the two presents a technical challenge to the pit crews. Drivers have remarked that Bahrain offers lots of excellent overtaking opportunities, which helps to keep the 57-lap race exciting for the spectators. However, some racing experts have remarked on the large run-off areas, which enable drivers who make mistakes to rejoin the race with little or no penalty.
The track is very hard on brakes and tyres, due to the high ambient tarmac temperature (which can reach more than 50 °C) and the repeated bouts of high speed and heavy braking. The track can also become slippery if sand is blown onto the circuit, and the tiny particles can be incredibly destructive to the finely tuned engines, so teams will also kit out their cars to counter this, keeping them cool and dust free.
The tight first turn can make for an interesting start to the race, as all 20 or so cars attempt to brake from 300kmph and squeeze onto the racing line, holding the best position possible for turns 2 and 3. You can expect to see drivers jostling for position throughout the tricky sequences of corners, desperate to carry speed onto the track’s straight sectors. This combination of intricate handling and horsepower-heavy drag races on the straights makes the Bahrain Grand Prix one of the most interesting on the F1 calendar.