First held in 2004, the Bahrain Grand Prix has become a welcome fixture to the calendar and part of the first set of “fly away” races to begin the F1 calendar.
The Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir has not changed much beyond the use of the 24-corner endurance circuit in 2010. With 3 massive straights it is first and foremost a power circuit, but the infield section of lap provides a challenge with rapid change of direction and slow corners that do require a balanced and nimble car.
So with all that in mind just how should you setup you car to try and find success in what can be an AI-favouring track?
This part of the setup menu describes the amount of downforce on the car. The general rule is that the more corners there are, the more wing angle you want. With so many straights you want as little wing angle as you can cope with.
You need enough front wing to get the car stopped and turned in to the slower corners, and enough rear wing to keep the back end stable when you accelerate and drive though the prolonged corners. We have opted for a 3-7 setup with our wings here, but as time goes on you may well feel more comfortable dropping a touch of rear wing.
READ MORE: All F1 2019 setup guides
The transmission is all about how power gets from the engine and through the rear wheels. The more you move the sliders to the left the more independently the rear wheels are allowed to turn, resulting in a more stable but less immediate deployment of power. A move to the right forces the rear tyres to rotate at a more similar rate, giving a boost in traction but increasing tyre wear and adding some unpredictability when you hit the loud pedal.
Around Bahrain we want traction, but thanks to the fact that on-throttle differential is adjustable mid-race we don’t have to worry about it too much. 65% is a nice place to start at, especially if you are using none or medium traction control, and you can put this up for qualifying or when you leave the pits on fresh tyres.
The off-throttle differential is set to 80% to help push the car through the corners and ensure the wheels are at least rotating nearly in sync before we try to put our foot through the floor.
Often the most frustrating part of any setup is the suspension geometry. This section describes how the wheels are aligned to the body of the car and the effect of changes can be quite severe. The camber settings align the wheels vertically, with the top of the wheel being closer to the car than the bottom. This creates better traction through prolonged corners, of which Bahrain has quite a few. Turns 11 & 12 in particular are long mid-speed corners that require a good amount of grip to take at speed.
We have moved the front camber to -2.70 to provide better responsiveness on turn-in, with the rear camber at -1.30. The toe describes the horizontal alignment of the tyres. Front tyres are always set to toe out, meaning the leading edge points away from the body of the car, while rears are set to toe in, with the leading edge pointing in. This provides responsiveness on turn-in and stability when the power, at the cost of a bit of top end speed. We have set the front toe to 0.07 to help with front stability and reduce straight line resistance. The rear toe is set to 0.32 to give us a little bit of top speed help without reducing stability too much.
READ MORE: F1 2019 Achievements & Trophy Guide
This area of the setup describes the stiffness of the car and the height it is set to. This is one of the most driver-specific areas of the setup, and what works for one driver may not transfer to another.
We have set the front and rear suspension to a 3-3 setting. This provides a nice transfer of weight in braking and acceleration but also allows you to ride some kerbs which is useful in the first sector and if you need to make a move in the middle sector when moving through traffic after a pitstop.
Anti-roll bars are set to 7-5, this is provides good initial responsiveness from the front and nice traction through prolonged corners on the rear. If you find tyre wear is a bit too high one place to start tweaking is the anti-roll bars. Softening them a touch will help prolong tyre wear.
Ride height is set to 3-4. This position is to create a rake, which adds some oversteer to the car. It is also set nice and low so that the car hunkers down on the straights and retains enough clearance to take the kerbing where necessary.
There is one big braking zone into turn 1 which is a primary overtaking spot, so you do want higher brake pressure to ensure your stopping distance is not too long. However, Bahrain also holds the biggest lock-up risk at turn 9/10, which means your brake pressure has to be carefully balanced. We have set it to 84%, which should keep you competitive at turn 1 and stable into 9/10.
The brake bias sets which set of brakes, front or rear, do the work of stopping the car. We’ve moved the bias rearward to 54% to reduce the odds of the fronts locking and to help with responsiveness at turn-in.
Tyre pressures affect the contact patch with the ground and how heat distributes across the rubber. Higher tyre pressures can reduce rolling resistance and help with turn-in, while lower aids traction and helps distributes heat better and protect tyres. We have set the fronts to 23.8 psi and the rears to 21.1 psi. This helps provide more front-end responsiveness and rear traction out of the slow corners onto the long straights.
READ MORE: How To Master F2 Cars
So that’s our setup for Bahrain. It provides good consistency and stability in the middle sector and long turns of 11 & 12 as well as nice traction to exit the corners. It is pretty neutral with tyre wear, so some careful driving early on can extent the stint nicely and open up options later in the race.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?