Bahrain F1 ‘oval’ has a “strange, aggressive’ kerb – Gasly

AlphaTauri Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly says that Bahrain’s outer circuit has a “strange” and “aggressive” kerb in the linking section that isn’t normally used.

The short version of the circuit will be raced on for the first time ever in this weekend’s Sakhir GP.

Like many drivers Gasly sampled the new section in a simulator before travelling to Bahrain, and he believes that the previously unused linking section will be a challenge.

“I think you have only four corners, really,” he said when asked for his opinion on the new track by Motorsport.com. “So Turn 1 and the last corner are the same [as the regular track], even though I expect everyone to come with a lot lower downforce.

“That middle part, Turn 4 is a lot faster obviously, with the wider exit. You have a chicane with a strange kerb – in the simulator there was quite an aggressive kerb in that right turn in the chicane, which wasn’t really easy.

“I think it will be a lot of fun, sort of a tow game, where everybody gets a tow, and I think this will make a big, big difference in terms of lap time. And then in the race it will be quite interesting and exciting to watch, I’d say.”

Gasly expects finding a clear run in qualifying will be particular difficult, given the short lap.

“I think you’ll hear a lot of complaints on TV,” he said. “Because it’s simple, 54 seconds, 55 seconds a lap, 20 cars, 20 guys that want a five second gap ahead of them to have a clean lap, it’s just not gonna work.

“So I don’t think we will all be happy. But obviously it will be the same situation for everyone. And we’ll have to find the best compromise to really make the best out of this unique track and layout and conditions.”

Gasly’s fellow Frenchman Esteban Ocon agreed that the kerbs in the linking section present a challenge.

“It is very different to the rest of the track,” said the Renault driver when asked about the kerbs by Motorsport.com. “The kerbs are pretty high.

“It’s quite bumpy in that part. That makes it obviously harder and harder for us to set the cars around that. But it’ll be alright, we’ll find our way around.

“It’s going to be extremely tricky to qualify. It’s going to be mad, pretty much, because if you put all the cars out on track, there’s only a two second gap between all of them. So it’s going to be hard to find gaps, get the good slipstream and all that.”

FIA race director Michael Masi has downplayed any concerns about the kerbs.

“There are kerbs there and yes, they’re aggressive kerbs, but no different to a lot of the circuits,” he said when the drivers’ concerns were put to him by Motorsport.com.

“Some areas have super aggressive kerbs, some circuits have less aggressive kerbs. But there is also the race track in-between, which is, what the target is, to stay on the track. 

“And going back the drivers have always asked for different types of kerbs, and more aggressive types of kerbs in different areas. So it discourages them to run off-track.”

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