System 1 drivers say the brand new monitor limits guidelines which have been imposed for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix are “very clear after final yr’s confusion.
On the 2021 grand prix, drivers got totally different directions relating to the enforcement of monitor limits at flip 4 throughout qualifying and the race. This precipitated some confusion and monitor limits remained some extent of competition all through the season.
Nonetheless new FIA F1 race director Niels Wittich, one in all two individuals who have changed Michael Masi within the function throughout the low season, has enforced a extra easy coverage this weekend. In his steerage to drivers earlier than the weekend started, Wittich acknowledged merely: “The white strains outline the monitor edges.
System 1 is a ravenous beast. No sooner has the flag fallen on a race than consideration turns to the following occasion. This weekend’s hero is the following Sunday’s zero. And no sooner has one season ended than the main focus switches sharply to the following. And whereas the repercussions of final season’s title decider are prone to ripple by the game for a while, the quick warmth of the explosive conclusion to an epic marketing campaign has already light to a smoulder.
The explanation for such dramatic de-escalation is straightforward: System 1 is all about problem-solving, transferring ahead to overcome the following problem. And that stressed seek for perfection stretches past aero maps and chassis optimisation to these on the sharp finish of competitors – the drivers. And Lewis Hamilton is not any exception.
The seven-time world champion might need been on the epicentre of the seismic occasions of Abu Dhabi and the Briton’s fury was such that he retreated to his fortress of solitude till the launch of Mercedes 2022 challenger.
In some ways, it’s a extra easy equation this yr for the groups, because the tyre they qualify on not has any bearing on the compound they begin the race on. The earlier rule of beginning the race in your Q2 tyres – if you happen to qualify within the prime 10 – has been scrapped, so it’s a free alternative for everybody within the discipline.
One factor that’s fairly clear is the popular beginning compound, with nearly all of the grid prone to begin on the comfortable tyre. As a lot as strategists may wish to strive one thing totally different – particularly if they’re additional again within the beginning order – the early benefit supplied by the comfortable tyre over the opposite two compounds is just too nice to miss.
Bahrain has repeatedly been a two-stop race and this yr is not any totally different, with the two-stopper deemed the preferable possibility as soon as once more regardless of the brand new tyres and 18-inch wheels. The medium and onerous compounds are anticipated to supply related efficiency rewards, however the slower warm-up part of the onerous tyre means the anticipated essential possibility for the groups is a two-stop technique that contains a first stint on the softs, second stint on the mediums and third stint again on the softs.
That might require a primary stint of something between 14 and 24 laps, earlier than switching to the mediums till not less than Lap 35 earlier than having the ability to return to the comfortable compound.
For 4 drivers – Valtteri Bottas, Alex Albon, Zhou Guanyu and Nicholas Latifi – the tyre allocation out there to them means they’re the one ones with the choice of working soft-medium-medium if required, widening the window for his or her second cease.
All through final season we have been used to seeing Mercedes versus Purple Bull, and whereas the latter are nonetheless proper up there, it’s Ferrari which have changed the Silver Arrows as the primary challenger. Greater than that, Ferrari had the sting in qualifying and have been 0.006s away from a one-two end result however for Max Verstappen’s remaining lap that pipped Carlos Sainz.
Nonetheless, there have been solely 0.129s between the highest three drivers in an exhilarating qualifying session, with Sergio Perez securing his spot on the second row slightly below 1 / 4 of a second off his staff mate. It’s clear that the 2 groups are carefully matched in qualifying trim on the Sakhir circuit, and each have been pleased with the work they did all through pre-season testing when it got here to race simulations, too.
Ferrari have the benefit by way of beginning place they usually additionally appear to have a powerful energy unit that ought to assist if they should get defensive, however Purple Bull are notably assured of their race tempo. With each groups having each vehicles on the entrance, this may very well be an epic battle each strategically and on monitor.