Bahrain GP: Preview – Pirelli

Pirelli has selected the three hardest compounds in the new 18-inch tyre range for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix: the C1 compound is the White hard, the C2 is the Yellow medium and the C3 is the Red soft.

This nomination is one step harder than the selection made for last year’s race as the new 18-inch tyres are completely different in comparison to their 13-inch predecessors, also in terms of compounds.

This choice has been made because of Sakhir’s layout, asphalt characteristics and temperatures. Bahrain remains among the most abrasive tracks on the calendar (scoring five out of five in Pirelli’s abrasiveness classification) thanks to a high percentage of granite within the asphalt, which leads to high levels of wear and degradation. Although asphalt abrasion is high, sand that blows in from the surrounding desert can cause a lot of sliding that affects grip – and that’s why this track scores three out of five in Pirelli’s overall grip classification.

Sakhir is a stop-and-go track, scoring four out of five in Pirelli’s traction classification and four out of five in Pirelli’s braking classification. In terms of lateral loads the score is just three out of five, with the rear tyres worked hardest. There’s normally a high degree of track evolution over the weekend, and this year it will probably be even higher as both Formula 2 and Formula 3 will be present as support races.

The Bahrain race gets underway just after sunset at 6pm, with track temperatures that are quite different compared to FP1 and FP3. Instead, they are more similar to FP2 and qualifying, but track temperatures can also drop throughout the course of the 57-lap race.

“We’ve opted for the hardest tyres in the range for this first grand prix given the track layout, asphalt characteristics and temperatures,” said Mario Isola, “also because the compounds are different compared to previous years.

“The teams had the chance get familiar with the 2022 range, having spent a total of six days of testing with all the compounds, although not always in representative conditions.

“We know from the past that track temperatures can play an important role in Bahrain, affecting tyre degradation, and that’s something we noticed at the recent test as well.

“During the race temperatures should be milder compared to FP1 and FP3, so the teams will have to focus on their data from FP2 and qualifying. It’s still hard to predict the race strategy as, in the past, Bahrain has been a multi-stop race, but it will be interesting to see if anyone will try something different this year.”

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