Logo Content

    A new era for Formula 1 gets underway at Sakhir

    Maranello 17 marzo 2022

    A new era for Formula 1 gets underway in Bahrain. Less than a week ago, pre-season testing came to an end at the same Sakhir track, just six days for the teams to get to grips with this year’s new generation of cars. Among the many changes to the regulations, a return to ground effect, Pirelli’s larger 18 inch tyres, the use of E10 eco-fuel and an increase in the car’s minimum weight. Scuderia Ferrari completed almost 4000 kilometres of testing with the F1-75, more than any other team and Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc were favourably impressed.

    The circuit. Sunday’s race is over 57 laps of the 5.412 kilometre Sakhir track, whose stand-out features are long straights and heavy braking points, the toughest being at turns 1 and 14. The moveable rear wing (DRS) can be used at three points, the first on the main straight, one between turns 3 and 4 and the final one between turns 10 and 11. Recent strong winds have left a lot of sand on track and it’s likely that lap times during the first free practice session, starting Friday at 15 local (13 CET) will be rather slow. As usual here, qualifying and the race start after sunset at 18 (16 CET) the track illuminated by powerful floodlights. The track generally picks up pace as night falls in Bahrain and the temperatures drop.

    In the past.  Scuderia Ferrari has won six times in Bahrain and it was here in 2019 that Leclerc first made his mark, taking his maiden pole position and podium finish. Sakhir was also the venue for Carlos Sainz’s debut with the Maranello marque last year, when he started and finished eighth in the SF21.

    Three questions to...


    1. Personally, how does it feel to be starting your 15th season in Formula 1?

    “The first race of the season is always special, because it’s the start of a new adventure. This time however, it’s even more special because there are many new factors to take into account and I’m keen to find out, if everything we have done in terms of processes and procedures is taking us in the right direction and delivering the benefits we are expecting. Of course, we used the test sessions to do a sort of general trial run, but it’s only on a race weekend, with its pressure and expectations, that we can really judge how well we have prepared. Those pressures and expectations can lead to mistakes and we have worked with the entire team so as to be calm in managing all the various aspects of the weekend. We must concentrate on ourselves and work with confidence.”

    2. The cars are completely new: from a technical point of view, what do you think could make the difference on track this weekend?

    “I think that, putting to one side the different car designs, whoever has done the best job in preparing for the season down to the smallest detail, will have a competitive advantage at the start. There are so many new elements involved and whoever has understood the new format better, especially the limitations involved, could have the edge for at least the first third of the season. When I say format, I mean the whole package: the completely new car, the little time available to work on it, the 18 inch tyres and also the fact the drivers must modify their driving style to suit it. All in all, whoever understands the limitations and opportunities of this more compressed weekend format, will have an ace up their sleeve on track.”

    3. And looking at the long term, given this is the first of 23 races, what factors could be key over the course of the season?

    "Car development will clearly be the main element, but there are other key factors such as on-track organisation, which is my responsibility. Let’s not forget we are embarking on the busiest season ever in the history of this sport, so I think that now, more than ever, it’s the smallest details that can count when it comes to making every task more efficient. One of the aims will be to expand the flow of information between the engineers and the team at the track and those back in the factory."

    Ferrari Stats

    GP entered 1030

    Seasons in F1 73

    Debut Monaco 1950 (A. Ascari 2nd; R. Sommer 4th; L. Villoresi ret.)

    Wins 238 (23,11%)

    Pole positions 230 (22,33%)

    Fastest laps 254 (24,66%)

    Total podiums 778 (25,18%)

    Ferrari Stats Bahrain GP

    GP entered 18*

    Debut 2004 (M. Schumacher 1st; R. Barrichello 2nd)

    Wins 6 (33,33%)

    Pole positions 5 (27,78%) 

    Fastest laps 5 (27,78%)

    Total podiums 14 (25,92%)

    *Including the 2020 Sakhir GP

    Bahrain Grand Prix: facts & figures 

    3. The number of times Bahrain has hosted the opening round of the season. The first was in 2006 when Fernando Alonso (Renault) won, ahead of Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari. The second time dates back to 2010, when the Spaniard won again, this time with Scuderia Ferrari. The third occasion was last year, when victory went to Lewis Hamilton, while Charles and Carlos were sixth and eighth in the Ferrari SF21.

    4. The furthest back on the grid from which the Bahrain GP has been won. It happened twice: in 2006 with Fernando Alonso (Renault) and in 2009 with Jenson Button (Brawn GP). As for finishing on the podium from furthest back on the grid, that accolade goes to Kimi Räikkönen who took his McLaren from 22nd to third in 2006.

    13. The number of Grand Prix distances equivalent to the 3,941 km completed over the six days of pre-season testing this year.

    35. The average number of overtaking moves in the 18 Bahrain Grands Prix held to date. The biggest number of position changes was in 2016, when there were 66 overtaking moves, while the fewest was the second ever race in 2005, with just eight passes.

    40. The number of years since the last time ground-effect cars raced in a Grand Prix. After some serious accidents in 1982, the “skirts” were banned, replaced with a flat bottom, thus bringing to an end the technology introduced into Formula 1 by Lotus in 1977.

    At Ferrari 75 years ago

    After the first successful shakedown of the 125 S engine and chassis, which took place at around 16 on 12 March, Enzo Ferrari commissioned the first bodywork for his creation. At the time of placing the order, the company founder, foreseeing the likely need for various unexpected changes to be required, decided to rely on the services of a local craftsman, by the name of Giuseppe Peiretti.