The 5.412km Bahrain International Circuit features a mixture of long straights punctuated by a number of technical, flowing sections which push both the cars and drivers to the limit. Built in the middle of the desert, it is certainly a unique venue on the calendar and since 2014 the race has taken place at night, adding another intriguing aspect to the event.

Bahrain International Circuit

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Bahrain International Circuit
Detail 1

Turn 1 – Schumacher

The first corner, renamed after seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, provides a great overtaking opportunity as it’s a heavy braking area at the end of a long straight, which also doubles up as one of two DRS zones across the lap.

Detail 2

Turns 5, 6 & 7

A complex, high-speed left-right-left combination, turns 5, 6 & 7 look spectacular. To be mastered, they require a car with good grip and strong downforce plus the confidence of the driver to pitch his car into each turn knowing that their machine will respond exactly as they want.

Detail 3

Turns 9 & 10

This challenging double left-hander, which features a DRS detection point, is always a source of action as drivers attempt to pass their rivals. Forcing a foe onto the defensive through here can also lead to an overtaking opportunity heading down the long back straight and into turn 11, particularly if within DRS range.

Detail 4

Turns 14 & 15

The final two corners on the circuit. It is easy to get this medium speed, double right-hander wrong and run wide on exit, leading to a loss of time down the start/finish straight. The DRS detection point for the final DRS zone, which runs down the home straight, is located just before the braking zone for this section.

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red car on racer track

Q: How challenging is the track on a low-med-high scale?

A: The cooler night temperatures during the race are favourable to the engine but sand can be a major issue, with particles from the surrounding desert potentially mixing with the oil to form an abrasive mixture. The TrackLab team has to monitor carefully for sand in the oil, which is even more critical this season with the number of engines allowed reducing from four to three.

Shell helix lab testing with some products

Q: What challenges do you face as a team?

A: With the race getting underway at 18:10 local time, the schedule for the TrackLab team is slightly different to other races and whilst it means a later start to the day, it also means a later finish! The team will still be working from the flyaway TrackLab in Bahrain and with just one week between the race in the Middle East and the Chinese Grand Prix, it requires a rapid pack down on Sunday evening to be ready for the next race.

racer track early moring

Fun Fact

Bahrain was the first country in the Middle East to host a Grand Prix, with the inaugural race taking place in 2004.

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