Bahrain GP 2020 - GP preview - AlphaTauri
“There’s not much to say about Turkey, it was our worst weekend of the year, which is why I just want to focus on the two rounds in Bahrain. In Istanbul, we couldn’t get the car to work in the cold and slippery conditions, and it was only the second race of the year in which the team failed to score points.
“In Bahrain, at least there shouldn’t be any problems getting the tyres up to temperature! It should see a return to more normal conditions. It’s a circuit that has usually suited our car, especially if we think back to 2018 when I finished fourth, which at the time was my best F1 result. I really like the track. We will be there at a different time of year to normal, as we are usually there in April, but in that part of the world, the temperature change is not so significant from month to month.
“Going back to the Middle East will seem very familiar, as I spent two months there immediately after what should have been the Australian GP, and now we will be there for almost three weeks which means I will have spent almost a quarter of the year in that part of the world. Above all, I’m keen to finish the season by doing as well as possible in these two Bahrain races. We have had a good car and have been competitive at nearly all the races this year. So, I think we have got what we need to fight hard and score points here, even if it’s going to be tricky to move up in the Constructors’ classification. I’ll just focus one at a time in these last three races and see what we can do.
“The Bahrain track itself – at least the version we have raced on before – has got a few straights, which is good for overtaking, helped by the fact it is quite wide. There are some interesting corners and it is quite technical. As for our second race there on the different layout, it’s going to be something completely different to usual as the track is almost an oval. There are just four corners, so it will be a game of slipstreaming, like a mini F1 version of the Indianapolis 500. I’ve done a few laps of it on the simulator and the lap time is under one minute, so dealing with traffic won’t be easy. In qualifying, we will play the team game, towing your team-mate round and then being towed yourself. There will be a lot of slipstreaming in the race, so it will be an interesting experience and a first time for everyone. I think it should be a spectacular race with a lot of overtaking and it will be interesting to see if it is almost too easy to overtake with the DRS.”
“After what was a very difficult weekend for everyone in Turkey with those very unusual track conditions, it will be good to get back to something more normal in Bahrain. There should be fewer surprises this weekend, at least in terms of the weather. But even with the strange circumstances, we learned some useful lessons in Istanbul.
“This will be my seventh-year racing in Bahrain. It’s an interesting track, with plenty of different corner types and some good overtaking opportunities. As usual, the key will be to get our car in the right working window as soon as possible on Friday and then we’ll see how things go from there. It will be nice to end the season in this part of the world, we’ll have one big push over these last three races.
“I’ve not had an opportunity to use the simulator to assess the new circuit which we will use for the second Bahrain race, so it means we will have to improvise a bit and see what we can squeeze out of the car. It will be a case of learning quickly. One obvious difference is that the second race is a full night race, whereas the first one starts in daylight, so that impacts things like tyre temperatures during the race. It will be strange to see the pit board counting down from 87 – that’s a lot of laps! It’s not completely different, as I believe it uses the first three turns of the track we know and then rejoins it again towards the end.
“From what I’ve seen, the new layout has hardly any real corners so it will be a very high-speed challenge, something different which is always nice.”
More on AlphaTauri