The circuit located in the capital of Azerbaijan is currently the most recently arrived venue on the Formula One calendar, and as a result the Baku street circuit is the one that the teams have the least information about, having only driven there once for the inaugural race last season. However, since then there have been several major changes regarding the technical regulations and tyre characteristics so it’s once again a blank sheet of paper for everyone, as Formula One heads to Azerbaijan for the eighth round of the championship. The tyres nominated for the longest and fastest street circuit of the year are P Zero White medium, P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft: a combination last seen in Bahrain this year (and also used in Baku last year).
Pirelli racing manager, Mario Isola, previews the next race from the tyre management point of view, which could once again be a key factor in deciding the winner on Sunday: “Following Monaco and Montreal, Baku is the third non-permanent, low-grip venue in succession, but it has a very different character. The lap is a lot faster, with more energy going through the tyres, and track temperatures could be very high, like last year. For these reasons, we’ve chosen a range of tyres in the middle of the spectrum, which worked well in 2016. Maybe a surprise back then was that there were no safety cars, despite predictions to the contrary, so this could be a factor to consider when formulating race strategy. With a combination of low-speed corners and long straights, it is quite hard to find the right balance, especially in terms of downforce.” – Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing Mario Isola said, as reported on Thursday by Italian national sports newspaper Tuttosport.
– the Baku street circuit is largely unchanged in layout from the inaugural race last year, with safety barriers having been altered in five or six corners, especially Turn 15.
– it’s much more than possible that the lap record will be broken this year. Currently the fastest lap ever of Baku is 1m42.758s in qualifying and 1m46.485s in the race.
Baku minimum starting pressures (slicks): 22 psi (front) – 21 psi (rear)