Coming to Grips With Bahrain’s Many Challenges

Brad Spurgeon previews the technical complexities of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix for the New York Times:

“It is not easy to find a good setup as you do experience the track surface changing over the weekend and sometimes the wind can affect the balance of the car too,” said the former world champion Kimi Raikkonen, a driver at the Lotus team.

“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,” Raikkonen added.

It’s not just the technical challenges, however; the Bahrain race has political challenges surrounding it, too. Spurgeon again:

To worldwide condemnation, and ignoring pleas by British politicians and international organizations like Amnesty International, Formula One decided to honor its contract with Bahrain. The race was staged on the premise that sports should not be politicized and that despite the portrayal by the media of a country in chaos, Bahrain was a safe place for the teams, spectators and media to visit.

Formula One organizers and teams are saying the same thing about the race this year.

Formula One has unique requirements, owing to its worldwide racing calendar and large audience. This year is no different, at least in Bahrain. The track is one of the least interesting on the calendar, but the closeness of the points after the first three races of the year will make it a good one to watch.