What kind of temperatures can we expect in Bahrain?
In recent years, we've seen air temperatures climb up to 38 degrees Celsius and more in the middle of the day, with track temperatures creeping up to the mid to high 50s. While we do see extremely high temperatures in the middle of the day, both the track and the ambient temperature cool down significantly when the sun sets.
With FP2, Qualifying and the Race taking place at 18:00 local time, those sessions are usually held in more comfortable conditions, with outside temperatures in the mid-to-high 20s or low 30s and asphalt temperatures in the mid-30s. This year, however, temperatures are forecast to be a little cooler, with even some light rain predicted in the days leading up to the weekend.
How do F1 cars react to high temperatures?
A number of components, particularly the Power Unit, the gearbox and the electrical systems, would sustain damage if the team was to run them above their temperature limits for prolonged periods of time. So, when the W10 is run in a hot climate, the team has to open up the bodywork of the car for additional cooling in order to prevent those components from overheating.
However, opening up the bodywork means losing aerodynamic performance as the additional air inlets produce drag and also disturb the air flow around the car, negatively impacting the efficiency of the rear wing and the diffuser. Depending on which aero configuration the team runs, the difference in lap time can be quite substantial; a completely closed-up car would be several tenths of a second per lap faster compared to one that is opened up for maximum cooling.