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Tyre management already the main challenge for F3 drivers in Bahrain

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

The top three drivers in Formula 3 qualifying at Bahrain have all say tyre management will be a challenge in both races of this weekend’s season-opening races.

Tyre degradation is expected to be high due to the hot temperatures of the daytime that Saturday’s shorter sprint race and Sunday’s longer feature race will take place in, while other series get to use the track at night, therefore keeping the tyres alive will be crucial for drivers’ race results.

The high level of degradation could already be felt during qualifying, where drivers suffered from overheating towards the end of a flying lap.

“In the one push, we can see the degradation through the lap. If we push really hard from the first few corners and we do a mistake, we can see it at the end of the push,” said ART Grand Prix’s Gregoire Saucy, who qualified third.

“It will be really important for the race to manage quite well the tyres from the start,”  he added. “We need to attack, but at the end manage still the tyres. So it’s a nice track but difficult for the tyre management.”

Hitech GP’s poleman Gabriele Mini shared similar thoughts.

“Of course in qualifying you can already feel the degradation towards the end of the lap. That’s why I think in the last sector I was struggling a bit because at the end of the second push [lap], the tyres were struggling with overheating at that point. And I think will be a key thing, especially also in the races because I think we will see drops of two or three seconds. And it depends partly from the setup you have on the car and also the driver can do a huge difference on that,” the Italian reckoned.

“I think that in the race will be a key as well to manage the tyres well and do a good job by not forcing too much the tyres at the beginning of the race,” Trident’s front row starter Gabriel Bortoleto affirmed.

Drivers also highlighted the importance of staying within the track limits. Bortoleto admitted that “you can get easily a penalty” for going off of the white line and stated that “it will be important to manage this risk in the race”.

For Hitech GP’s Mini, “it will be also quite tough to only use the track limits three times”, which is the maximum number of violations a driver can commit before being penalised on track limits, as “you can of course go easily off, especially if you’re following someone”.