2024 Bahrain Grand Prix: Selected Tyres

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix: Selected Tyres
2024 Bahrain Grand Prix: Selected Tyres

Just a week after pre-season testing concluded, Formula 1 returns to Bahrain for the first round of the 2024 season, from Thursday February 29 to Saturday March 2. The usual grand prix weekend schedule has been brought forward by one day – as will be the case the following weekend in Saudi Arabia too – with two free practice sessions on Thursday, FP3 and qualifying on Friday, then the grand prix itself on Saturday. This move has been made by Formula 1 to accommodate the start of Ramadan on the second Sunday of March.

The teams come to Sakhir with plenty of information about how the car and tyre package works on this particularly abrasive track, where traction and braking stability are key to performance: both on a flying lap as well as on longer runs.

Track evolution is somewhat limited, with temperature being the biggest influence: two of the three free practice sessions take place in the heat of the day, making it harder to get a representative read on race data. Another factor often affecting the cars is wind, as it can blow sand onto the track and also make the balance unpredictable. Thermal degradation will be significant and can have a decisive impact on race performance, while wear is generally limited.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is traditionally one of the most spectacular races of the year as it offers a number of different overtaking opportunities, particularly in Turns 1, 4, and 11. Tyre degradation, with all the resulting different race strategies, also creates interesting performance differentials.

Last year, a two-stopper using the C1 and the C3 was the favoured strategy, with the C2 used by only one team (McLaren).

This weekend’s race will mark the 20th Bahrain Grand Prix, although the total number of races that have been held at the track is 21: in 2020 the Sakhir Grand Prix was additionally run, won by Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.

The driver to have triumphed most often is Lewis Hamilton with five wins, followed by Sebastian Vettel on four and Fernando Alonso on three. The Spaniard is the only driver this weekend to have also taken part in the very first race at Sakhir, back in 2004. Last year, Max Verstappen took his first Bahrain Grand Prix win, putting an end to a victory drought for Red Bull in Bahrain that had lasted for 10 years. Ferrari is the most successful team with seven wins at the Bahrain Grand Prix. However, Mercedes has equalled this score at the venue thanks to Bottas’s win at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

01 Bh24 Preview En

Formula 2

There’s a brand new car, previewed at Monza last year, for the 2024 FIA Formula 2 Championship. Pirelli, a partner in the series since the very beginning, has kept the same three compounds as last year – in agreement with the promoter – allowing teams and drivers to learn their new cars while keeping a stable reference point from 2023. This also underlines the adaptability of the Pirelli F2 tyres, which not only meet all the needs laid down by the championship, but also work well on a completely new car compared to the previous generation. During the shakedown at Barcelona and test in Bahrain, the teams were able to get to know the 2024 package, and their first impressions of the tyres was positive. The proof will come this weekend at the first race, with the advantage of familiar conditions on a track that the drivers know well. Pirelli has chosen the hard and the soft tyres for Sakhir, with the same step between the nominated compounds as seen last year. Differences in their performance and degradation rates will be a key factor in the strategic choices. The soft should be the favourite for the Sprint Race, while one of the keys to the Feature Race will be the usual decision as to whether or not to start on the hard and run long to take advantage of the extra speed from the soft at the end, or vice versa. The Bahrain race has frequently offered a thrilling spectacle thanks to these different strategy options, as well as the relative ease of overtaking.

Formula 3

Teams and drivers will have Pirelli’s latest hard tyre at their disposal for the first round of the FIA Formula 3 Championship. This is down to the particularly abrasive nature of the Sakhir track and the heavy braking and traction demands, as well as the high ambient temperatures that put plenty of heat into the tyres. A new version of the hard tyre makes its debut this weekend, which is a bit softer than last year’s equivalent. The teams were able to work on the set up with this new compound during testing at Sakhir two weeks ago: an additional challenge for a series that always guarantees close and unpredictable racing.

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