Sakhir – watch out for turn 1

Just been looking through brake manufacturer Brembo’s analysis of the Bahrain circuit. All the teams now produce quite nice infographics for the GPs which I find really useful.

Definitely one of the most demanding circuits for brakes. The races on the Sakhir track, surrounded by the desert, are characterised by high temperatures that increase mechanical grip, and make it difficult to dissipate the heat generated during braking.

This aspect – combined with the presence of numerous high energy braking sections which are quite close together – makes Sakhir a hard bench test for all the braking system components which are continuously stressed by the high energy forces and the hellishly hot temperatures.

If the drivers want to finish the race, the high wear of the friction material is the biggest danger that must be avoided.

Since 2004, Bahrain has staged 10 Formula One Grands Prix. In the 2010 season the race took place on an extended layout: instead of the usual 5.412 km GP circuit, the 6.299 km configuration was used. The first man to win a race at the Bahrain International Circuit was Michael Schumacher in the 2004 season.

According to Brembo technicians who classified the 21 World Championship tracks on a scale of one to 10, the Bahrain track earned a score of nine on the difficulty index, identical to recently built tracks like Singapore and Baku, which has yet to be used.

Of the eight braking zones half are classified as difficult on the brakes, while the other four are of medium difficulty. The four most challenging braking sections – those with a deceleration greater than 4.4 g – are confronted by vehicles travelling at 300 km/h or just slightly less.

The one feared the most is the Schumacher curve (turn 1) because the drivers arrive at speed that reach 330 km/h and they have to face a 5.2 g deceleration: the braking force required is greater than 2,200 Kw, but more importantly is the brake time (1.76 seconds) which is one of the highest in the entire World Championship.

The four braking sections that have a medium level of difficulty on the brakes are all positioned in the central part of the track and are broken up only by curve 11, where a load of 143 kilos is applied to the pedal.

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