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Adding more “Tilkeness” to the Tilkedrome?

January 25, 2010

Will the new loop have any effect on overtaking? Probably not...

This afternoon was announced that the Bahrain Grand Prix this year will be hosted under a different circuit layout, adding an existing loop to the circuit, which will now have 6.299 meters – 887 more than last year layout – making it the second longest circuit on the calendar, only behind Spa-Francorchamps and its mighty 7.004 meters.

But the question inside my head is: why?

The race bosses told the media that the decision was taken with the fact that Formula 1 will have 26 cars in mind, and that with 2010 rule changes it shall boost overtaking around the desert track.

I shall reserve judgement until the end of the first race this season, but just looking at the layout, you have to ask yourself how these changes are going to have an effect on overall overtaking, and it’s hard to see why you would need 800 extra meters of tarmac to accommodate more six cars.

The new loop is composed basically of turns (seven in total), making it almost straightless. It will join the original track again right before the ex-high-speed and tricky Turn 5 – everyone who played that on a racing simulator knows how challenging is to tackle those two turns at more than 200km/h. But now cars will be much slower around it, making it rather tedious and bureaucratic, but that could help packing the cars together so a driver behind could try to pass an unaware (or bored) competitor at the Turn 6 hairpin.

But the problem is that since races will be shorter (around 48/49 laps) we see less overtaking on places like that last and first corners, so all in all, overtaking opportunities around the circuit could stay the same, while we are forced to watch F1 cars driving around an ugly track.

There is no need to say, however, that the Sakhir track is not so short in overtaking when compared to others such as Yas Marina, Valencia or Singapore. The proof of what I’m saying? This video shows…

Laps times increased, but by how much?

Besides the number of laps, the most obvious change to the race will be the increase on lap times. It is quite hard to tell exactly by how much the lap times will increase, but we can get a vague idea by comparing the times from last season.

The fastest time that year was set by Sebastian Vettel during Q2, at 1:32.474, an average of 58,52 meters per second. Unfortunately for us, we can’t predict how average speeds will be around the new track layout – all we know is that it will surely be slower. But if we calculate the times for the new layout using Sebastian Vettel’s average speed from the 2009 season, we will find out that the lap time around the 6.299 meters circuit would be 1:47.630.

That’s a considerable 15 second difference between the two times, and when we put into the equation that fact that average speeds will be lower around the circuit this year, expect this time to increase between one and two seconds.

All in all, let’s hope that the new layout produces better racing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the race turns out to be processional.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2010 8:48 am

    Couldn’t agree with you more… it will be processional, no doubt.

  2. January 26, 2010 12:29 pm

    I can’t say I understand why they’ve added the new corners either. They don’t look like they add anything to the circuit except slow it down. Typical tilke sector, too. *yawns*

    It summed it up for me when Jenson Button recently said in an interview how he and Lewis are looking forward to kicking the season off in Melbourne. It was a slip of the tongue I assume but we all know he’s secretly right. :)

  3. January 26, 2010 7:52 pm

    turn 1 and turn 4 you can overtake but its a boring track

  4. January 26, 2010 8:35 pm

    I really don’t like Bahrain and I don’t think the new changes will make the track or the racing any better.

  5. Spud permalink
    January 31, 2010 7:58 pm

    Very very mickey mouse… ey……

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