Updated: Nov 26, 2020
The Bahrain International Circuit is a technical circuit sculpted from the sand dunes in Sakir. It is typically one of the first races on the F1 calendar (though not for 2020) and provides a good mix of low and medium-speed sections with four high-speed straights. Let’s take a look at how to master this technical circuit on F1 2020.
Sector 1 starts with a tight right-hander off the back of the long main straight before going through the left-right kinks of T2 and T3 and up the hill to the right-hander of T4. The first few corners are all about carrying as much speed as possible onto the uphill straight. Let’s look at each corner in more detail.
Turn 1: Entry and apex
Turn 1 has the biggest braking zone on the track and one of the biggest of the F1 season.
Off the back of a long DRS zone, keep the wheel completely straight as you brake heavily, using the left kerb and the 100m board as a reference.
It is important to take advantage of the downforce early in the braking phase before progressively reducing the pressure as the speed and downforce reduce.
After braking, rotate the car towards the apex but do not touch the kerb as this will unsettle the car and compromise the flow and power delivery into T2. Clipping the white line is a good target.
Turn 1: Exit
Be gentle on the throttle when you have a lot of steering input, aim to place the car in the middle of the track out of T1 for a better line into T2.
Do not run too wide out of T1 as this will cost you in T2, T3 and all the way up the hill.
Build the throttle only when the steering is straightened as it can be easy to spin when the downforce is low and the lock is on.
With a good exit out of T1, T2 can be taken flat out, this time taking the kerb as it is fairly flat in F1 2020. The downforce should be starting to work effectively by the time you reach it.
Short-shifting between T1 and T2 helps you with traction.
Try to avoid scrubbing any speed by making unnecessary steering inputs and head for the T3 kerb. Focus on being smooth with both steering and throttle to carry as much speed as possible up the hill.
The small right kink of Turn 3 is really just the exit of Turn 2 and is easy flat.
The key thing here is to stay within track limits when trying to straight line the path up the hill towards Turn 4.
You want to try to get a good portion of the car on onto the kerb but going fully over it with all four tyres could scrub off some speed.
Get ready to open DRS as soon as you exit T3.
Turn 4: Entry
Following the short uphill straight, braking into T4 can be later than normal due to the incline.
Stradling the white line/kerb for a wide and late entry helps minimise the turning radius and increases your minimum apex speed. This is a technique that generally helps in the F1 games but would make you lose grip in real life or other sims.
The inside kerb here is pretty big, so get close but don’t ride it. Slightly clipping it with your inside wheel is as far as you’ll want to go here.
Turn 4: Exit
Get on the power as early as you can and run the car out all the way to the exit kerb and run alongside it towards Turn 5. Again, watch out for those track limits!