Bahrain GP - Best race on the calendar IMO

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    Bahrain GP - Best race on the calendar IMO

    Post by Ross on 23rd April 2009, 17:31

    Weather updates are up on the homepage.

    Another dry race for Bahrain of course then, I wonder if Red Bull will still have an edge..?

    Anyway here is an article what I writ myself Razz

    Moved back a week to accommodate for the early Chinese Grand Prix, the fourth round of the 2009 Formula One World Championship is the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir.

    When teams begin to arrive in the United Arab Emirates to prepare for the weekend's action, it won't be the first touchdown in the desert for some of them this year.

    BMW, Ferrari and Toyota all tested here back in February, and we no doubt remember the outcome: two days of testing were virtually abandoned as high winds created sandstorms meaning visibility was poor and the track was dusty and undriveable. It was something that Formula One had never witnessed before.

    And this is what makes the Bahrain Grand Prix my favourite of the entire F1 calendar; the phenomenon of racing in the desert.

    Bahrain isn't known for it's excitement, culture or even passion for motor racing. In fact it's one of the lowest attended Grands Prix of the year. The country isn't too much of a tourist attraction either, with very little in the form of entertainment, and the only night-life to speak of comes from Arabian Nights tales.

    So when Bernie Ecclestone announced that from 2004 the F1 circus would be heading to the middle-east once a year, it came as a relative shock.

    The track itself—designed by Hermann Tilke and costing around $150m to build—is located in the middle of the desert, miles away from any major town or city.

    Naturally, it's windy—there are no obstacles to slow the wind, just miles of flat, open space. Of course with this open space being covered in sand, it's dusty on-track, but the ever-innovative minds of the organisers, a team led by the Crown Prince of Bahrain, have worked around the sand and come up with a conclusion: The track ain't moving, so why should the sand? They spray a special adhesive onto the sand directly around the trackside—a job costing thousands of dollars—that helps keep it still.

    This is of course why we don't see plumes of the stuff spraying up from the rear wheels of drivers leaving the track—and they do leave the track—it's as much a challenging circuit as Spa or Monza used to be, a feat very uncharacteristic of modern venues.

    Another achievement that only Monaco can't lay claim to as a traditional circuit, is its overtaking opportunities. There is a trend developing in modern-day Formula 1, which is that the newer the circuit, the fewer opportunities there are to overtake.

    In fairness, we have seen how Tilke's tracks are designed around overtaking, and they do work to an extent—Turkey and Malaysia, for example, both provide several opportunities to make a passing attempt.

    However many of the circuits Tilke has overseen and helped design—Valencia and Singapore come to mind, even China to an extent—lack many overtaking possibilities, simply because they are exactly that: designed.

    Back when Spa, Silverstone, or Monza were laid down, they weren't really designed—safety came after the building was finished, it wasn't in with the planning.

    This is why we complain that we don't see overtaking anymore: the newer, state-of-the-art places F1 visits are amazing, but they aren't built freestyle, the designers don't sit at a work bench with a pencil and draw a squiggle here and a hairpin there on the margin of the morning's newspaper.

    It takes weeks of computer-generated design, they must run through every possible scenario of if a car were to drive off track.

    Where, at Monza, they solve all their run-off issues by "just sticking some tyres there," the angles of corners are changed or the speed of the approach is reduced at a new track if there is even the slightest risk of a driver going off at high-speed.

    The end result will always be different from the original plan, purely because they have to consider safety all the time.

    Bahrain was built differently. Being in the desert, there were little space restrictions, so the designers were allowed to be aggressive, and they came up with this glorious hotbed for true racing, featuring long straights preceding tight hairpins and fast, windy corners during which a mistake would destroy a lap.

    So it's clever, it has tight, twisty corners and long, fast ones to test engineers and drivers to the limit, it provides a spectacle not simply because of its location—theoretically, this should already be regarded as the best circuit on earth.

    But it's not. Ask anyone which the best one is, and the response will always be the same—Spa, Monaco, Silverstone, Suzuka—circuits with history, with passion, circuits that can make or break a champion.

    Bahrain lacks that. After all, it will only be the fifth time the F1 circus has turned up for a race at the track this weekend, and it hasn't exactly made crucial influences on the world championship in the past.

    But it can; Ecclestone respects the circuit and its owners, and as we have seen in the past, if Bernie respects a track, it will get preference when he chooses the calendar. The big man has fully backed Abu Dhabi, which is why its first F1 race will be the last of the season—and possibly the title decider.

    We have already seen hints that Bahrain is favoured by Ecclestone; it got the honor of hosting the season-opener in 2006 when Melbourne's race was postponed, and he has openly said that is one of the best facilities in the world.

    The Bahrain International Circuit, despite it's lowly reputation for now, can go down in F1 history as one of the greatest circuits of all time, it is already physically ready for that, it just needs that helping hand from the FIA, and a few years' more experience.

    This year, with such a shake-up in results and huge changes to the sport, I have a feeling that when the magnificent Bahrainian sunset descends on Sunday's race this weekend, this fantastic circuit will have moved one step closer to Formula 1 greatness.

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    Re: Bahrain GP - Best race on the calendar IMO

    Post by in.s@ne on 24th April 2009, 06:00

    Hmm I must say, seeing GP's live in Oz is still slightly more enjoyable for me Smile

    Also, having seen Bahrain, it's a physically difficult circuit with elevation drops as well, makes it all the more enjoyable

      Current date/time is 25th May 2018, 04:54