F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 - Preview, Key Details & More

Author: Jomathews


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The upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix is happening on Sunday, June 12th. The time for the race is 7 am (Eastern Time). Taking place on the Baku City Circuit, it is the fourth track to be added to Formula One's street circuits after Melbourne, Monaco, and Singapore. Following the European Grand Prix here in 2016, the debut of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix took place in 2017.

The Baku circuit is a street circuit with a character all of its own. Some straights are rapid, but there are also some tight curves and challenging corners, especially around Turn 9 in the old town. As a result, unlike the high downforce setup for Monaco, the teams tend to go for a low to medium downforce setup in Baku: finding the right balance for grip on the fast straights. The unofficial F1 record was set by Valtteri Bottas in Baku on Pirelli tires back in 2016 - driving for Williams at the time. After an exhausting weekend full of red flags, delays, and erratic weather in Monaco, we arrive at the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 feeling refreshed. Over the weekend, the drivers scored solid points, but they could have scored more, and they will have to maximize every opportunity they have in order to remain competitive.                

The slow-speed corners in Monaco presented a challenge to the W13 but also provided invaluable learning opportunities. We've been working hard trying to identify the areas we can innovate to make this season even better after another street circuit in Baku is up next. In addition to producing some exciting track action, the track layout makes for some excellent racing opportunities at Baku. We'll find out if it's as great as it's supposed to be this weekend. 

In terms of the track, it could be characterized as a blend of Monaco and Monza, partly due to the race track in the old town’s narrow maze of streets is reminiscent of the Principality, while the long straights and heavy braking zones remind one of the Temple of Speed in Monza’s Royal Park. The Formula One drivers change gear 66 times over the course of a lap based on the current schedule - twice as many as they do on the Bahrain International Circuit.

During each of the five races held in Baku so far, a safety car has been deployed. This equates to a probability rating of 58% since these three Grands Prix have seen seven SC periods. It is not difficult to understand why. In the event of a safety car deployment, one of the toughest restarts of the season will inevitably take place on the start/finish straight, potentially resulting in a second safety car deployment. The overtaking lane comes quite late, making it impossible to overtake from the control line.

What do the Teams and Drivers say?

Frederic Vasseur, Alfa Romeo, said, “We have done really well so far, and we can be satisfied with the results we achieved, but we know we will need to keep working hard in every round to get the most out of each weekend. We are heading to F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 with the aim to continue our team’s progression this season. We saw in Monaco how the margins are really small: you can go from P6 to P16 in a blink of an eye. This is why we need to be really sharp and make the most of every session, of every lap. I do expect our car to suit this track but, then again, our C42 has been performing well in all kinds of circuits so far. The objectives remain similar to previous rounds – progress as much as possible with both cars in qualifying and aim to have both in the points come Sunday.”

Valtteri Bottas added, “Baku is a place with both good and bad memories for me, so I definitely hope to add some more of the pleasant kind this weekend. It’s crucial we can have a trouble-free weekend: we have been having some good results despite some Friday issues so far, and if we were to fix these, we could really see the full potential of our package. We know we can fight towards the front when we do it, and it has to be the aim here as well. This is a track that can produce some chaotic races, so we will need to be ready to make the most of any opportunity. It could be a lot of fun on Sunday.”

Zhou Guanyu, F1 Driver, said, “I’m really looking forward to this weekend. Baku is an enjoyable track that offers a lot of opportunities, and I’m aiming for a clean, good weekend in which we can really show what we can do as a team. The potential we have is obvious, and I can see I’m progressing more and more each weekend: now it’s a matter of putting everything together and getting the result we deserve. If we have a clean Friday and a good qualifying, we will be in the position to bring home a good result in the race.”

How do the teams fare?

It is not surprising that Red Bull is among the favorites for the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 GP after winning the previous four races. So far this season, Red Bull has proven itself to be a notch above the rest of the grid, which should significantly benefit them on the circuit's long straights. It is only the drivers that remain unclear. The title fight now features Sergio Perez, who is in great form.

Mercedes will probably struggle despite their drivers' instructions not to expect any big surprises this weekend. Cornering speed has been the weak spot of the Mercedes outfit up to this point, and the porpoise scandal has likely been a thorn in the neck for the drivers and backbones that would likely be reduced to dust by now.

With anything possible on a track like this, could Ferrari make a run for the title? The F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 has become one of the most anticipated races on the Formula One calendar. This race is characterized by a combination of Monza-esque top speeds, and tight, twisty Monaco turns that can keep both fans and drivers engaged for 50 laps. Five red flags were displayed throughout last year alone, tire failures occurred, and restart lockups were experienced. It was what every Sunday afternoon should be like.

What did Ferrari say about the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022?

“Baku is a street circuit but unlike any other. It is definitely atypical because, in addition to the expected 90-degree corners, it also has a very low-speed section, as well as particularly long straights. In fact, this track has one of the longest straights of the season. It is demanding for the drivers, but Carlos, and Charles in particular, both like racing here.”

“Because the nature of the circuit means the power unit has to be versatile. The driver wants it to be nicely driveable in the tight and slow sections without wasting energy, as it’s essential to be able to deploy it down the long straights. Outright power is also essential, especially when it comes to acceleration out of the many low-speed corners when going for a quick lap in qualifying as well as during the race.”

Conclusion:

In advance of any Formula One race weekend, the weather is, of course, of paramount importance. From the Formula 1 teams’ perspective, adverse climate conditions may require a shift in racing plans, thus ensuring that Formula 1 teams pay attention to weather conditions, including rain or changes in temperature. They have to make an informed decision on their tire selection, including choosing the right tire for wet surfaces and accounting for crosswinds that could cause traction issues at high speeds.

In light of this, it is imperative to pay attention to the weather when it comes to any Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, seeing as the weather can sometimes throw a wrench in the works. The Baku Grand Prix weekend does not seem complicated, however. Everything seems to be in order for the upcoming F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2022 weekend. Warm, sunny, and comfortable conditions should prevail throughout the race weekend, while the warm weather combined with Pirelli tires will prove to be among the biggest problems for the Formula 1 team during this round of the 2022 championship at the Baku City Circuit. The conditions for the event in Baku are expected to be pleasant and sunny on Sunday, while Friday's practice was mostly cloudy with strong winds, but the weather will be drier for Sunday's practice and the event.


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