• Bahrain Grand Prix

Sakhir changes will make for good racing - de la Rosa

ESPNF1 Staff
March 5, 2010 « Director of business leaves Force India | »
Pedro de la Rosa is expecting an exciting opening round of the season © Sutton Images

Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa thinks the changes to the Bahrain International Circuit will create an all new challenge for drivers and an exciting race for fans.

The opening round of the 2010 season is taking place on an extended version of the Bahrain circuit, which incorporates another eight turns on top of the layout used in previous years. De la Rosa believes it will require a completely different approach for the teams and is confident it won't ruin the circuit's overtaking chances.

"I think the new section which is added to the infield will make it an all new track, because it means we have to adapt the downforce level," he said. "The best aspect of the circuit is that you can overtake. There are three long straights with each followed by a corner where you have to brake really hard. We will have good racing there."

Sauber's technical director Willy Rampf explained the dilemma the new layout presents to the engineers.

"The circuit lay-out in Bahrain has changed significantly as it is now dominated by a narrow section in the infield with eight additional corners," he said. "The downforce level will be a compromise. On the one hand the many low-speed corners require high downforce, but on the other, the extraordinary width of the track encourages overtaking and this means you can't disregard the need for [a low downforce set-up and a high] top-speed."

Despite the changes, de la Rosa is confident that the Sauber will be competitive after it regularly topped the timesheets in pre-season testing.

"After we have had four good tests on three different circuits I feel very confident for the season's start," he said. "I covered a lot of mileage with the team and we learnt a lot. Bahrain will mark my return to racing and I can't wait."