2021 Pre-season testing was an absolute banger! Since there were only 3 days for testing, everything was important and the teams needed to spend as much time on the track as possible. This had the fans at the edges of their seats. And of course, there’s the excitement of seeing the cars out on the racetrack for the very first time this year. But what this post explains is how Bahrain and the Bahrain International Circuit provided a unique excitement for 2021 pre-season testing.
The Bahrain International Circuit is a new venue for testing. For the first time since 2008, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was not the venue or one of the venues for F1 pre-season testing. After F1 postponed the Australian Grand Prix, they decided to shift pre-season testing to Bahrain, and postpone the dates for testing as well. It’s a completely new dynamic, as Bahrain is a lot further from team bases than Spain. Teams needed to be much more well-prepared because it’s much harder to transport parts from Europe to Bahrain. Previously, if there was an issue, a team could easily have parts transported from their bases. Their bases are located in countries near or neighbouring to Spain.
The Bahrain International Circuit is very different from the circuit in Catalunya. Bahrain doesn’t have as much of a balance of the types of corners, unlike Spain. Spain is much harder on the brakes, and Bahrain is much harder on the tires. Bahrain has more of a high-grip, coarse-grained surface, rather than the smooth surface that Spain has. So these differences in the circuits gave the teams different types of data in testing. For example, the surface of the track and the warmer temperatures provided more accurate tire data.
The warmth gives more accurate data on the cooling systems of the car. And of course, there is reliable weather. Shockingly, the weather was not so reliable at testing, since a sandstorm struck on Day 1. But compared to some other countries, Bahrain has a lot more reliable weather. Things like rain are almost sure not to disturb testing. In past years, the weather has disturbed testing in Spain and has resulted in extra days being added to make up for the lost time.
All in all, the new track, the new location, the type of track and the temperatures provided a new excitement for testing that Formula 1 definitely needed. Let me know in the comments below, do you prefer Bahrain or Spain for testing? We ran a poll on Twitter, and Bahrain won, but we still want to hear your opinions! Stay safe, and enjoy F1ntastic!