Renault Sport F1 Bahrain Grand Prix preview

Renault Sport F1 Bahrain Grand Prix preview



Cyril Abiteboul foreword

Melbourne was a great opening race for Renault Sport Formula One Team. There were many positives, but the most important was that we showed we can race on track.

Both drivers delivered exactly what we wanted. It was superb to see Jolyon defending hard against the opposition, especially as that meant a lot of airtime for us! Kevin fought hard to come back from a tough start and overtook late in the race.

Furthermore, the car looked great on circuit – we have received a lot of positive feedback – and the team worked well together, leading to a lot of interest from a number of quarters. It’s only the first race but it’s been a hugely encouraging start. We can look forward to Bahrain with a lot of confidence and enthusiasm.

Bahrain Techfile

The Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place at the Sakhir track in the desert south of the capital Manama, has become a modern classic. The circuit often produces a thriller of a race due to the multiple overtaking opportunities afforded by its long straights and tight corners.

The race takes place around dusk and finishes under lights, giving extra variables as the temperature rapidly falls from searing hot to pleasantly cool.

Track notes

The pit straight is 1km long but the heavy braking for turn one means a good overtaking opportunity. No penalties for overshooting the corner so over-optimism is not unduly curtailed. The exit of this corner calls for driver delicacy on the throttle when tyres are worn.

The more kerb you can take at turn two, the more speed you can take down the straight which follows.

Turn four is another overtaking opportunity, with heavy braking from the 520m straight before and a wide entry and space on exit.

Front wing is set to balance the car through turns six and seven.

The entry to turn ten is difficult. You need to be in the correct track position after turn nine and the unweighted inside wheel can easily lock up. Sufficient speed needs to be carried through turn nine for the entry, but it’s easy to outbrake yourself here. There is a long serrated kerb at the exit to turn ten which is best avoided.

Another 520m burst between turns 10 and 11 and 600m from turns 13 to 14 really taxes the power unit.

Alongside turn 1, the exit of turn 14 is one of the most difficult turns, but it must be completely correct. The exit falls slightly off camber as it enters turn 15, but the driver has to get the line right as it is proceeded by the 1km pit straight. Finding the right balance between aggressive set-up and balance is a tricky balance.

Power Unit notes

-    Sakhir sits in the middle of the table for power unit demands. The circuit includes four straights and the ICE and turbocharger will work at full revs for around 60% of the lap.

-    Bahrain’s arid climate can have severe consequences for the ICE. Pressure inside the cylinder rises and knock can be a real problem. Ignition timing is therefore very tightly controlled and checked to prevent issues developing.

-    The corners of the back section from turns 4 to 8 and 11 to 13 have several heavy braking points. Around 27% of the energy recovered under braking comes from turns 1 and 4, which will allow the MGU-K to keep the battery reserve at high charge. This is very important since the MGU-K will also be required to feed the ICE on those four long straights.

-    The long straights give a steady stream of exhaust flow to the MGU-H. This is particularly important since fuel consumption over one lap is extremely high due to the frequency of heavy braking and acceleration. Sakhir has in fact the second highest fuel consumption per lap after Montreal.

-    The straights give plenty of opportunity for the MGU-H to recover energy from the exhaust, but it’s crucial for it to convert quickly to the ‘motor’ function to give good drive out of the slow speed corners. A smooth, neutral PU set up will show up in the lap time.

-    The braking points at the end of the straights call for particular engine maps. Coming after a long period of wide open throttle, the braking phase is a lot heavier and cylinders are cut for longer. As a result their temperatures drop and getting them firing again correctly is incredibly important.

Technical notes

Circuit length:            5.412km
Race distance:            308.238km
Race start time:            18:00
Full throttle time per lap :     50% Race and 55% Quali
Fuel consumption:     1.75kg with 3s of lift–off (Race 100kg/N)
Energy recovery :    1.4MJ with the K in braking with possibility of recovering the maximum FIA allowed 2MJ with overload (using the ICE to charge the battery via the K in part throttle)

Longest time spent at full throttle: 13sec
Percentage of lap spent braking: 23% of lap time
Pitlane length:            Approx 400m
Brakewear:            Hard
Difficulty for PU :           Medium-high
Aero level:            Medium-high

Tyre choice for Bahrain

Medium (white)

The medium compound is ideal for all running. Like the desert camel it can go for long distances, but can sprint when needed.

Soft (yellow)

Like the soft compound, falcons are prone to bursts of speed but spend a great deal of time cruising.

Supersoft (red)

Like a desert dwelling scorpion, the supersoft has a real sting in its tail. It can attack when needed but then goes back to a dark hiding place.

What we’ve been up to…

Kevin returned to Denmark between Australia and Bahrain. He caught a flight back to Copenhagen after the race and spent some time at home.

Jolyon stayed out in Australia, heading up North to the Gold Coast for some R&R. He spent time on the beach, chilling out, and even learnt to surf! (Must have been those surf vibes from our livery launch…)

Esteban Ocon returned to Europe for sim sessions and engineering meetings ahead of the start of the DTM championship, which is due to start in May. He will leave Bahrain on Saturday evening as a DTM test will start on Monday.

The majority of the race team returned to Enstone and Viry after Australia, leaving on the Monday after the race and arriving Tuesday. Departure for Bahrain was from Monday onwards, leaving only minimal Easter egg consumption time.

What we will get up to this week…

Jolyon will fly into Bahrain direct from Australia. His first commitment will be an event at a hotel in downtown Manama hosted by Renault Bahrain on the Wednesday before the race.

To take into account the later timetable in Bahrain, our engineers and drivers will be doing their track walk later in the day than normal. Kick-off is due to start around 19:30 to be more representative of the cooler and darker conditions likely in the race.

A trip down memory lane

Bahrain Grand Prix, 2006: After winning the 2005 championship, all eyes were on Renault, who had taken a gamble in being one of the last teams to run the incoming V8 engine. Fernando Alonso wins a hard-fought victory to start his title defence despite heavy pressure from Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher.

- Renault Sport  - also photos


25.03.2016 / MaP

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