Red Bull ready for tough weekend

by Michelle Fortune , 18 April 2012

Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel are anticipating a tough weekend as Formula 1 makes its return to Bahrain.

Violent unrest in the Gulf state led to the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix being cancelled and there were fears that this year's race would suffer the same fate until the FIA received assurances that the situation had improved.

It is two years since Formula 1 raced in Bahrain and drivers will have to spend Friday's practice sessions familiarising themselves with the track in cars which are vastly different to their 2010 machines.

Red Bull have yet to win a race this season and Webber knows that it will be important for the team to get to adapt to the heat and tyre wear in Sakhir is they are to have any chance of finishing on the podium.

"We haven't been to the circuit for two years and the last time we raced on the current track layout was in 2009," he said.

"We also haven't been there with Pirelli tyres or the DRS, so it's going to be interesting to see how those new features go; the ingredients are all there for another exciting Grand Prix.

"It's going to be important to understand the tyres quickly and you need good top speed and braking. It's a hot race, hotter than it was in Australia and Shanghai and more like the temperature in Malaysia. It would be nice to get a podium before we go back to Europe."

Vettel has warned that the surrounding desert will pose its own problems with sand likely to make grip hard to achieve.

"The track requires a lot from the drivers, because the constantly changing character of the corners means you never really get time to settle in to a lap," he said in a team preview.

"Also, as the track's built in the middle of the desert, you have to manage the sand there. It moves with the wind, so it can suddenly appear in new places on the track on each lap - so you're never quite sure where it will be slippery.

"For the teams, it's always a challenge to anticipate the grip levels for the race. In Friday Practice, when the track is still "green", you often require a different set-up than you need for Sunday. Due to the nature of the circuit, the brakes are in high demand."

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