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Bahrain preview quotes - Marussia, Lotus, Caterham & more 18 Apr 2013

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Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 22 April 2012 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 2 March 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Rodolfo Gonzalez (VEN) Marussia F1 
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 John Booth (GBR) Marussia Racing Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 7 October 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 James Allison (GBR) Lotus F1 Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Force India Formula One Team Owner.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Qualifying, Saturday, 27 October 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Ross Brawn (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Mike Coughlan (GBR) Williams Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 5 October 2012 Remi Taffin (FRA), head of Renault Sport F1 track operations in the Press Conference
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 2 November 2012 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director with FanVision.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013

After a thrilling race in Shanghai, the F1 paddock moves rapidly from the Far East to the Middle East for round four of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship, the 2013 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir. Those involved discuss their prospects for the desert event…

Jules Bianchi, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“I learned a lot during the course of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. It was a challenging race and in many ways it felt like I crossed the line with a much more complete understanding of the MR02 and the tyres. Although it’s still early days, I am really comfortable with my understanding of the car, the direction we are heading in as a team and where I can continue to develop personally. There’s been a nice pace to the season so far, so although we’ve had just a week before this race, I think it will allow us the chance to consolidate the progress we have made with the interim updates and then catch our breath again ready for what we will bring to Europe. So Bahrain marks the end of the long-haul phase at the start of the season and this is a track I am looking forward to. There are some tricky features and also the conditions make it even more challenging with the high temperatures. It can also be also be quite windy. I’ve had a bit of experience here in GP2 so it’s good to be back and I’m excited to see what we can achieve here.”

Max Chilton, Marussia
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“It’s good to be heading into Bahrain so soon after China. We ended the weekend there on a more positive note, so I think the short gap between races will be useful in helping us to carry through that momentum. I’ve raced at the Bahrain International Circuit a few times so I know it to be a great track with quite a few challenging elements to it. It’s one of those circuits that seems to be constantly changing through the weekend, so it will be important to get a positive start in Free Practice to provide a good baseline for us to read the rest of the sessions. The updates we brought to China were a good step, so hopefully we can feel more of the benefit of those this weekend. All in all, I’m quite comfortable that things are heading in the right direction now and I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off.”

Rodolfo Gonzalez, Marussia reserve driver
“I’m really happy with this opportunity to drive in my first FP1 session of the season. It will be a nice feeling to be back in a car - especially to drive a Formula 1 car again - and with my previous F1 experience I feel more than comfortable and ready. I love this circuit; it will be quite dusty in FP1 but it’s also good fun and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can achieve. I would like to thank the team for their faith in me. They have made me feel so welcome and have bent over backwards to involve me in every aspect of the racing.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“A quick turnaround for the team sees us up and running again in Bahrain this week and in good shape overall for the final long-haul race of the early part of the season. This track represents a different challenge from Shanghai but both drivers have raced here before in the junior formulae, so factors like the track conditions - the heat, the wind, the sand - are not a completely unknown quantity for them. From a team point of view we’ll need to work hard to achieve the right compromise of car set-up, to manage the grip level and cooling demands. The asphalt can also be quite abrasive here, so it will be interesting to see how the tyre story unfolds here through the weekend. We experienced a few frustrations in Shanghai which we are determined to iron out here so that we give ourselves the opportunity to properly showcase our developments and maintain a clearer picture of where we are in respect to the cars ahead. We are pleased to welcome our reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez to the car for his first FP1 session of the season. On this occasion he will take over from Jules for the morning but we will see him taking part in this session at several of the races this season and we will alternate between the two cars. We wish him well and look forward to getting our first opportunity to gauge his performance level in the MR02.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 11th, 2012 Race - 2nd

“Obviously, it was a good race for us as a team last year. It was my first podium for Enstone, and we had a good fight all the way. We took a gamble during qualifying, and it didn’t work out well for us. This meant we missed out on the top ten, but we managed to use our tyres pretty well in the race and we ended up fighting for the top step of the podium, which is always a good thing.

“I like (the Sakhir circuit). I’ve had some nice races there and picked up some good points although I’ve never won. It’s a little bit different from others we visit and it’s quite nice to be out there in the sand! Wherever you look around the track you can just see sand in the distance and you notice it in the paddock too. It’s a circuit where I’ve never won before, so maybe this year I’ll change that.

“It is not easy to find a good set-up as you do experience the track surface changing over the weekend and sometimes the wind can affect the balance of the car too. It’s one of the more tricky places to get the car exactly right, but at least you don’t often have to worry about rain!”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2012 Qualifying - 7th, 2012 Race - 3rd

“I have good memories after a strong race there last year that’s for sure! Our car worked well and we seemed to like the heat so it’s a race I’m looking forward to. We should see some consistent weather too, which always helps when you are trying to set up the car for the weekend.

“I would be lying if I said the car is exactly where I want it and we are having quite an adventure to get the set-up and feeling from the car how we want it. This is very frustrating for a driver, as you want your car to be obedient - to do what you want it to do - and to do it in a consistent manner. Certainly, we’re not the only team who are having a difficult time early in the season, but it’s something we really want to get on top of as quickly as possible. I’m spending a lot of time with my engineers and we’re all working hard to make improvements.

“(Bahrain is) a track I knew from before Formula One and it has characteristics that I like in a circuit; some big braking into certain corners, some good change of direction with the double-left in the middle of the race track and it all flows quite nicely. Last year we got a good balance with the car and were able to make use of the E20 being kind to its tyres. The E21 shares that characteristic, so let’s hope we have more of the same this year.”

James Allison, Lotus technical director
“We certainly went well there last year and I hope it will be good for us this year as well! There are things that are special about Bahrain which might make us more optimistic. For example, it is one of the most aggressive tracks on the rear tyres and if we have a particular strength it does seem to be that when we get the car set up just right it does seem to use the tyres rather gently. Secondly, in Kimi in particular, we have a driver who is able to get the car to go quickly without really burdening the rear axle. While we are looking forward to the weekend, it is abundantly clear that there are several very strong teams this year, so we can expect a tough fight as always.

“We won’t be bringing anything particularly revolutionary on top of the China upgrades, but we will trial a suspension modification - internal rather than to the wishbones - which is an evolution of something we ran to good effect during pre-season. You’re always trying to find the right compromise between the mechanical grip that the suspension’s articulation offers to the tyres and holding the aerodynamic platform at the optimum height from the road, and we believe this is a step forward in helping us achieve that.”

Charles Pic, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - 21st, 2012 Race - DNF

“I left China on Sunday night and headed straight to Dubai for a couple of days off before going to Bahrain for race four. I was pleased with my performance in Shanghai and now the aim is to take that on to the race in Bahrain and keep making decent progress before we get back to Europe.

“I’ve raced in Bahrain a couple of times before and won the GP2 Asia race there back in 2010, so it’s a track I know well and one I like racing on. Technically it’s not too challenging but one of the main areas we’ll need to focus on is the brakes. It’s particularly hard on brakes, much more so than China for example, so we’ll look at that in the practice sessions as you can make up a lot of time in the braking zones if you can really push there. We’re also bringing some new parts to Bahrain so we’ll work on optimising their performance as much as possible in each session. This is only the first stage of the 2013 developments we’re bringing so we’re very realistic about what we might find this weekend, and we’re not going to make any predictions about what they’re going to bring in terms of lap time, but we’ll focus on integrating them into the package we’ve used in the first three races and see where we end up.”

Giedo van der Garde, Caterham
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“Back to Bahrain which is another circuit I have quite a bit of experience at, most recently last year in GP2 when I finished the feature race on the podium, so it’s a track that holds good memories for me. It’s quite a technical circuit that evolves a lot as the weekend progresses. It’ll be very sandy on Friday but with every lap that’s completed it rubbers in and the grip levels improve a lot - that’s important in each session, particularly quali as you need to time your run to make the most of the track evolution so strategy will be really important all weekend.

“Coming straight after China, the race in Bahrain is also a chance for me to get back to the performance levels I want to be racing at. China was a pretty tough weekend, but I’ve had a couple of days to recharge since leaving Shanghai and after the race we had a very good debrief and we’ve identified a few areas we’ll work on this weekend in Bahrain. Since announcing my F1 drive I’ve been really clear that the first few races were always going to be tough for a rookie, but it’s all part of the learning process so I’m as positive as ever and looking forward to getting back to work.”

Paul di Resta, Force India
2012 Qualifying - 10th, 2012 Race - 6th

“Overall eighth in China was a good result when you consider how the first half of the race went. I was stuck in traffic, my tyres were graining and I couldn’t move forward. Fortunately we got ourselves into some clean air after my second pit stop and I think we showed that the potential of the car is very strong. We thought we would have to go on the softs at the end and overtake some cars, but we had such good speed that we managed to jump them with our strategy. In the end we left China feeling pretty satisfied, but knowing that there is more potential to come. I’m looking forward to Bahrain. We’re back in the hot weather and we were strong in the heat of Malaysia so there are no real worries. Last year the car worked well in Bahrain, which gives us confidence heading into the weekend. We’ve got a few things to understand and I think we can go forward a bit more. We’re back to the medium and hard, the same as we had in Malaysia, where we were strong. What do I need from the car in Bahrain? A bit more speed, as we always do! We need a clearer weekend; we don’t need things to go wrong, as they did in FP3 in China. It lost us a session, lost us a few hundredths, and that would have made the difference to put us out of position in qualifying to have an easier first lap. So that will be the plan - to be more consistent.”

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“The race in China was very short. I had a little incident with Paul early on, but we spoke about it, and there’s no problem. For the next few laps I was catching up the cars in front and then (Esteban) Gutierrez just missed his braking point and crashed into my rear. It’s frustrating, but what can you do? He will learn so there are no hard feelings. Hopefully he will not do it again. It’s never easy, but I think we can learn quite a lot out of the race. The pace was not so good at the beginning, but much better at the end. We have to understand why. Paul got some good points for the team, but we lost some pace this weekend in general, and there were quite a few quick cars who didn’t finish the race. So we have to get a move on in Bahrain! It should be better for us there. Do I enjoy the Sakhir track? I like it, yes. With a good car I like almost every circuit. The track is not one of the most difficult ones, but it has a lot of big braking points, so you need a strong car on the brakes. The heat is very different to China, with very high temperatures, and also there’s a different combination of tyres.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
"Last weekend’s race in China left us with mixed feelings: the pace of the VJM06 was evident throughout the sessions and we would have been on track to place both Paul and Adrian in the points had it not been for the unfortunate accident with Gutierrez in the opening stages. Paul’s pace, especially when he had clear air, was indicative of the quality of the work done by the team. We were also very satisfied by the good job done in the pits with a clean and fast final stop helping Paul emerge ahead of Grosjean and Hulkenberg after a race-long battle. We now head to Bahrain, where last year we had an excellent result with Paul finishing sixth. This track, with its high temperature and smooth surface, has generally suited our car and we hope this will be the case this weekend. With a bit more luck, we will be able to fully exploit the potential of our car and get some more points on the board before the European leg of the season."

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 1st, 2012 Race - 1st

“The positive of back-to-back races is that on the Friday of the second race, you get into the rhythm quickly. You save time by travelling direct from one race to the next and can adapt to the time zone a bit quicker, as you don‘t have to travel so far. The only thing is that there‘s not much time for physical and mental recovery after the first race. I make the most of the Monday after the first race, in terms of relaxing and recovery. On the Tuesday, I do some easy training in the gym or some badminton, to keep the body and mind in correct mode. It‘s important that the race calender is well balanced so that drivers can get proper rest periods in order to be able to push 100 percent at each event. This means that sometimes it is good to have back-to-back races and then some longer breaks. The circuit in Bahrain? The corners can fool you and lead to errors because the track is very wide and quite often the apex of the corner is not obvious. For example the apex of Turn 14 is hidden as you approach it.”

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2012 Qualifying - 3rd, 2012 Race - 4th

“The benefit of back-to-back races is that we like racing and it’s another opportunity to go racing again soon, so that’s a positive. We’re already roughly in the same part of the world, so back-to-back races can be an efficient way for us to go racing; as an industry it’s good organisation. It’s important to make sure you get ready for the next race off the back of the first one, so travelling as soon as you can is important. If you have a very big result at the first race then you’re not going to stay in the night club too long that evening celebrating, as you need to make sure you’re ready for the next event. It’s a short turnaround; you want to make sure that the training is sensible and you’re keeping yourself healthy. It’s good to have a back-to-back, then a bit of a break, and then back-to-back again. When we’re off we have a bit of a chance to regroup. My favourite corner of the Bahrain Circuit? I quite like the last sector, Turns 12 and 13, up over the crest, that’s a nice part of the lap. It’s a little bit quicker, because the rest of the track is quite slow and not super exhilarating. There are some quick-ish corners, which are quite rewarding.”

Jenson Button, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 4th, 2012 Race - 18th

“The Sakhir circuit requires a good overall car balance. There are some tricky and technical low-speed changes of direction; you need to place the car really precisely at the corner entry in order to maximise traction at the exit. And there are also some high-speed sweeps – Turns Six and Seven, for example – and some fast corners, such as the uphill left-hander at Turn 11. You need a good front-end, but also good traction, to get the best from those corners. It’s a place where the grip levels can be quite hard to anticipate, and where the wind direction can play quite an important part in determining the car’s balance. The wind can affect top speed and cornering performance, so practice will be more important than ever in enabling us to take the best overall package into qualifying and the race.”

Sergio Perez, McLaren
2012 Qualifying - 8th, 2012 Race - 11th

“The Bahrain Grand Prix circuit has plenty of run-off and a good combination of high- and low-speed corners. The challenge for the drivers comes from the constantly evolving nature of the corners, and dealing with the sand – which gets blown onto different areas of the track from the surrounding desert. With two DRS zones, I think we should see some decent racing: the two best overtaking opportunities are into the Turn One and Turn Four hairpins. They’re both good places to attack – you can force another driver onto the inside line and then attack on the exit, when they’re more vulnerable. The second DRS zone will mainly be used to close the gap down to the car in front, before attacking again along the pits straight.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“Bahrain marks the end of the opening fly-away leg of the 2013 world championship. That being the case, following on in quick succession from last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, we'll look to consolidate our achievements in Shanghai with further solid points finishes this weekend. While the first three races haven’t been the easiest for us, there’s been a little progress at every round, and we’ll be looking for another improved showing, as well as the opportunity to increase our understanding of MP4-28, in Bahrain this weekend. The work that goes on at the track is only the tip of the iceberg, though. There's been an incredible amount of effort expended back at the McLaren Technology Centre [Woking, UK], so as to ensure that the delivery of new parts, and the evaluation of fresh ideas, remain constant. I therefore want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who's contributed to that work. Your efforts never go unnoticed, and the development trend is in the right direction.”

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2012 Qualifying - 5th, 2012 Race - 5th

“I'll be really happy to get back in the car again on Friday after a tough weekend in Shanghai. The first three races haven't quite worked out as we had hoped on my side but the positive is that we have a car that we can really work with. So I'm looking forward to getting on with this weekend and the circuit at Sakhir is one that I like very much. It's going to be very tough on the rear tyres and our biggest challenge will be to make the most out of the situation. We're better prepared than we were last year and we have shown that the car is much stronger so I really hope that we can achieve a great result in Bahrain.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2012 Qualifying - 2nd, 2012 Race - 8th

“The weekend in China was really positive for both me and the team. With each race, I am becoming more settled in the team and more comfortable in my car, and we were very happy with the pole and podium finish. There are some areas where we need to improve to close that gap to the fastest cars and we're working hard to identify and develop those. There's a limit to what we can do before Bahrain but I'll be talking to my engineers before we arrive at the circuit and seeing where we can improve in the short term. The Bahrain circuit is a real challenge, particularly for the tyres with overheating and also the sand on the track, but this helps to make it unique. The layout has a great combination of fast, slow and medium corners which make it tough for the drivers and the car, so it will be a true test for us. I can't wait to get back in the car and see what we can do."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“With three race weekends under our belts, Bahrain will be the final race of the season-opening quartet. With very different track conditions at each venue, this should give us a good understanding of the car that we have to work with for the rest of the season. The performances so far have been pleasing and perhaps even beyond our pre-season expectations however there is work to be done. We have two main areas to focus on; we must improve the reliability and we have to lift our performance to find that extra couple of tenths to our fastest competitors. And of course, that's a moving target to make the challenge even tougher. A strong two car finish will be our target this weekend, and we want to see both Nico and Lewis in a position to score not only points but podiums regularly. We've had a taste of success already this season and the slight feeling of disappointment with third place in China is our motivation.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“After three races, we have an equal balance of reasons to be pleased and areas we need to improve. Two podium finishes in two races for Lewis represent a strong start to the season. That shows our car is competitive in different conditions and on different types of circuit. But two technical retirements for Nico in three races are not acceptable, and everybody is working flat out at the factory to make sure we hit our target of bringing both cars to the finish at every race. Inside the team, the atmosphere is calm and motivated, with Nico and Lewis pushing everybody forward with their strong performances. Bahrain will provide another new challenge, with the combination of high temperatures, dust conditions and heavy demands on the rear tyres. We will need a smooth and reliable weekend to collect the required data for making the right decisions on Sunday.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2012 Qualifying - 17th, 2012 Race - DNF

“Because the Sakhir Circuit is in the desert the track conditions can change quite a lot during the weekend, especially with the sand being blown across the surface, so the teams will have to be ready to react to the different conditions. The temperatures in the cockpit are also going to be very high so as a driver you have to be prepared both physically and mentally to deal with that and I’m expecting to lose between 2 and 3kg during the race. Tyre degradation is also expected to be quite high at this race which can always throw up some interesting challenges for the teams.”

Valtteri Bottas, Williams
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“It’s been a very busy start to my career with two back to back races in a row, but it has meant that I have had a lot of time in the car and the chance to try and understand its characteristics. The track in Bahrain isn’t used much throughout the year so can be quite green and the dusty surface means that the conditions can change quite a lot from one session to another, so it will be important to keep searching for the best grip on each lap. The tyres also tend to drop off quite a lot at this circuit so in Friday practice we need to try and find a good car setup to maximise the long run performance for the race so we can keep the tyres alive longer than others.”

Mike Coughlan, Williams technical director
“Bahrain is a circuit that has some key characteristics that will present new challenges for the teams. It’s a high braking circuit so brake wear will be a factor, it is tough on rear tyres and it has a high ambient temperature. We feel that the current car, whilst not as competitive as we would like, will be more competitive in Bahrain because of these factors. For engines it is a high power, high efficiency circuit that places a premium on straight line speed and the Renault engine should be robust at this sort of circuit. It’s been disappointing not to score points in our first three races, but we can be pleased with the fact that Valtteri has managed to bring the car home in every race so far with very solid drives.”

Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
“Sakhir sits in the middle of the table for the demands put on the engine, with drivers at full throttle for 50% of the lap in the race and 57% in qualifying. However the high ambient temperatures and low humidity are the main challenges for engines in Bahrain. The hot conditions mean that the bodywork may have to be slightly opened to aid the cooling configuration, while the aridity increases pressure within the cylinder chamber, which can cause internal failure. We can counteract this by tuning the engine.”

Pirelli
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“Bahrain was one of the very few circuits that was entirely new to us in competition last year, although we know it well from testing. It’s one of the most demanding tracks of the year for the tyres, mostly because of the high ambient and track temperatures. We expect about three stops per car, although we’ll have to wait to get some running in on Friday before we can look at the data and make a more accurate prediction. One of the main challenges of racing in Bahrain is that the track evolution is very hard to predict, depending on how much sand is blown onto the circuit. From what we saw last year though, there will be plenty of scope for different race strategies, which can even allow drivers who have not qualified as well as they hoped to recover during the Grand Prix.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - 13th, 2012 Race - 12th

“I’m looking forward to the race in Bahrain. In 2010 I drove my first Formula One Grand Prix there. I like the track, and there is always a One Thousand and One Nights atmosphere in the paddock. Other than high temperatures, the brakes will play a significant role. There are a couple of long straights where we drive at over 300 km/h and then we need to brake very hard into the corners, so it will be the usual balancing act between downforce and top speed.”

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
2012 Qualifying - n/a, 2012 Race - n/a

“To end the Chinese Grand Prix like that was disappointing. The mistake I made not only ended my race, but I also received a five-place grid penalty. Of course, this will not make the race in Bahrain any easier, but it doesn’t change my approach or my motivation. I will fight and make the best out of the situation. However, China also had a positive side to it. The engineers took several technical measures, which saw an improvement. Bahrain is another hot place on the calendar. The conditions are not as humid as in Malaysia, but you still have to be in good shape to cope with the heat during the race. I know the track from my time in GP2, and I think it’s a nice one with challenging corners. It’s a very demanding track for the tyres, and I’m looking forward to driving there in a Formula One car.”

Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
“From a technical point of view, China was a successful weekend for our team. We had taken some measures before that race, which proved to be effective. We now have a direction, and we know what has to be done. The Bahrain circuit is dominated by several long straights with mainly slow and medium speed corners. This places high importance on an efficient aero package and a car with strong low speed performance - in particular traction. The circuit layout is also very demanding for the brakes. The desert environment results in quite a dusty track - especially when the wind builds up. The chance of rainfall is low, and the typically high ambient and track temperatures make it a real challenge for the cooling level of the car and management of the tyres. Therefore, Pirelli has allocated the hard and medium compounds for this weekend.”

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