Formula 1

Bahrain GP: A guide to the Sakhir Circuit

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The first Formula 1 standard racing facility in the Middle East, the Sakhir International Circuit is celebrating it's 10th birthday in 2014, here's your complete guide to this impressive venue.

Located in the south of the desert island state, the circuit is another creation of F1 track architect Hermann Tilke. Although it was the second such facility designed by the German, the characteristics of this circuit are shared throughout all of Tilke's subsequent designs all over the world.

The Grand Prix layout is 5.4km (3.3mi), consists of 15 corners, four long straights and three good overtaking areas. The race takes place over 57 laps.

Unlike Tilke's first creation, which was last week's host venue of Sepang in Malaysia, Bahrain was the first to incorporate the tarmac run off areas that are now seen at all circuits on the calendar.

In a bid to improve how the circuit looked visually, these run-off areas have been decorated to add some colour to the otherwise barren desert surroundings.

The pit facilities at Sakhir really raised the bar for which some of the more traditional circuits have had to match, while the Middle Eastern architecture was also incorporated into the canopy roofed grandstands and the impressive VIP tower located on the inside of turn 1 has become something of a landmark.

The circuit, much like Sepang, is divided into several different areas with the first and final third of the lap about top speed and the second sector more about handling.

There are many key areas which can make or break a lap with the first being into the tight hairpin of turn one.

This is where a lot of overtaking happens and often creates a lot of action at the start. Braking from over 200mph (320kph), the drivers have to cope with forces of over 5G as they lose 150mph (250kph) in under 100m for the tight hairpin.

A tricky exit through the left, right of turns two and three lead onto another long straight up to one of the trickier corners on the circuit at turn four. Braking hard the right-hander is another good place for overtaking but a wide exit mean drivers often carry too much speed running onto the kerb on the exit.

The most difficult area is turns nine and 10. The first is a left kink leading to the hairpin of 10, the combination of turning and braking through turn nine makes it very easy for tyres to be locked up and see cars run into the dusty tarmac off the circuit

A good exit from the corner is also important as it leads into the second DRS zone towards the sweeping turn 11, some opt to overtake here in a hope to 'surprise' the driver in front as most tend to leave the overtaking for the long haul down the start/ finish straight.

The lap ends with another long straight down to the final corner. Pre-DRS this was another good chance to slipstream and overtake at the final corner.

However because of the effectiveness of the open rear wing down the main straight, most decide against any move and instead focus on a good final turn which leads onto the 1km straight.

To commemorate the tenth anniversary an all-new lighting system has been installed very similar to that used in Abu Dhabi and will illuminate the track for it's first ever day/ night race.

This does have an effect on the tyres with Pirelli bringing the medium and soft compounds for this weekend.

Because of the later race start temperatures will be lower than in previous years with the unique phenomena of the track temperature being less than the ambient by the end of the race.

This, however, will mean tyre wear, which has been a factor before, will be less so this year. 

That is what to expect then from the Sakhir Circuit this weekend, plenty of overtaking and a spectacular setting under the lights, but with Mercedes set to dominate the question of who will win may be a foregone conclusion.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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