Weekend weather - dry and dusty 31 Mar 2005
Welcome to the Al Manama area of Bahrain, and the 2005 Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir International Circuit. This weekend's race is round three of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Straight after Malaysia the teams head for another hot race, and the good news is that consistent conditions are expected throughout the weekend.
Thursdays expected temperature high today will be 32 degrees Celsius, rising to 33 on Friday and 36 on Saturday. It will be a little cooler on Sunday, with a predicted high of 35.
Humidity will also be high but not as great as in Malaysia, and the teams will be hoping for minimal wind to keep the sand away from the track and from getting into delicate parts of the cars mechanisms. All of the teams have taken detailed precautions against the ingress of sand into engines, cooling systems and wheel bearings.
The 5.417 km Sakhir track has been changed a little since the inaugural race last year. The width of Turn Four has been increased, and the mixture of sand and cement on all sectors has been replaced with sand-coloured asphalt so that cars can regain the track if they slide off-course. Extensive landscaping has also been carried out throughout the facility, with palm trees, flowers and bushes planted in the paddock.
For reference, Michael Schumacher took pole position for Ferrari last year in 1m 30.139s, and set fastest lap in 1m 30.252s.
The race will run over 57 laps (308.523 kilometres) and will start at 14.30 local time, which is two hours ahead of GMT.