Taking place just one week after the Chinese Grand Prix, Round Four of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship sees the sport arrive in the Middle East for the first of two visits this season for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday 26 April.
Located 30km south of the Kingdom's capital Manama, the Bahrain International Circuit was designed by Herman Tilke and staged its first Grand Prix in 2004. The 57 lap race takes place on a 5.412km (3.363 mile) circuit where the cars average 210kph (130mph) and reach top speeds of 314kph (195mph) along the pit straight.
The circuit features four long straights which place the emphasis on achieving maximum straightline speed combined with slower twisty sections. The desert location with high ambient temperatures presents an interesting challenge for the teams as sand blown onto the track surface in the frequently breezy conditions can vary grip levels dramatically.
ROSS BRAWN, TEAM PRINCIPAL
Q. With three races completed this season, how would you assess theBrawn GP team's performance?
"As the first four Grands Prix take place over just a five-week period,it has been an intense and demanding start to the season for the BrawnGP team. Australia, Malaysia and China produced some fantastic racingand I am very pleased with how the team responded to the challenges thatwe have faced. This was particularly the case in China last weekendwhere the team and the drivers did an excellent job. Although we werenot able to challenge for the victory in the dramatic and unexpectedlywet conditions, we consolidated our championship position with twostrong points-scoring results.�
"Looking ahead to the fourth race on the season in Bahrain this weekend,we are expecting a dry weekend which will allow us to really put the BGP001 through its paces and assess our performance. The trackcharacteristics of the Bahrain International Circuit should suit our carand we do not expect any concerns from the high ambient and tracktemperatures."�
Q. What are your thoughts on the Bahrain International Circuit?
"Bahrain is always one of my favourite races on the calendar as I lovethe country and the circuit has some great fast flowing sections whichreally suit my driving style and allow you to push the car to itslimits. It's a good circuit for overtaking, particularly at turn oneafter the long straight where you brake very hard from over 300kph inseventh gear down to first gear. People tend to brake surprisingly earlyhere so you can make up crucial ground if you are brave. Confidenceunder braking is the key to a quick lap. You have to believe in thecar's performance and have full confidence that you can stopeffectively."�
Q. What are the particular challenges that the Bahrain Grand Prixpresents?
"Bahrain is not a particularly quick track but it is an interesting onefrom a driver's perspective. From a technical point of view, braking andtraction are crucial and you need good straightline speed to maximisethe long straights so the strength of our Mercedes-Benz engine willprove a real advantage here. It can turn very windy, particularly in theafternoon, which causes sand to be blown onto the track affecting thegrip levels. This can be a particular challenge in qualifying wheneveryone is trying to be out on track at the last minute when thecircuit is cleanest. The last two race weekends have turned out to bereally eventful with the weather affecting the outcome in Malaysia andChina but hopefully we can expect a dry race here in Bahrain thisweekend."�
Bahrain International Circuit Stats
Circuit Length: 5.412km Race Distance: 308.238km Number of Laps: 57
Full Throttle: 68% Brake Wear: Hard Tyre Compounds: Super Soft / Medium Downforce Level:� Medium 7/10 Tyre Usage: Medium Average Speed: 210kph (130mph)
Race Weekend Schedule (all times are local)
Friday 24 AprilPractice 1: 1000 - 1130 �Practice 2: 1400 - 1530
Saturday 25 AprilPractice 3: 1100 - 1200 �Qualifying: 1400 - 1500
Sunday 26 AprilRace: 1500