This weekend, after almost a full month of break, Formula 1 will head to Baku for Azerbaijan GP. The European Grand Prix was held at the circuit in 2016 but since 2017 the event is known as’Azerbaijan Grand Prix ‘. The event was first held in 2017 and won by Daniel Ricciardo. Four more drivers have since won the event. You may have guessed that this means no driver has ever won the event more than once.
Currently, the track is configured to allow 51 laps, with a track distance of 6.003km, for a race distance total of 306.049km. Baku City Circuit is the fourth longest track in the world. The track surface was rough, and caused many issues for drivers in 2022. Baku drivers were not happy with the return of ground-effect technology and its porpoising, bouncing and porpoising effects.
In 2023, it will be interesting to see what happens in Baku with the new floor rules. The fact that the floor surface appears to have been resurfaced is a positive sign in this respect. Baku’s bouncing was a major reason for the creation of TD39 – the technical directive that aimed to reduce’vertical oscillations.’ Later, this led to changes in regulations in the “floors” department. There was less bouncing and porpoising, but more dirt air because of ‘outwash elements’ placed on the floor.
Coming into Baku, the main storyline is whether any of the last four winners on the grid will be able to repeat their feat. Max Vertappen and Sergio Perez are the two most likely to succeed. Red Bull has been dominant in this season. The RB-19 looked untouchable and the British team won the first three races. In the first two races, Verstappen won one race and Perez another.
This season, the Red Bull pair’s strained relationship has been widely discussed. It seems, at least from the outside looking in, that Perez and Verstappen’s relationship has soured since the Sao Paulo Grand Prix of last season. This may have been a result of an apparent deliberate crash by the Mexican. The Dutchman again defied orders from his team in Jeddah. He took the fastest lap, and kept the lead of championship.
Perez’s desire to win the championship may cause tensions to rise this season. Baku could be the location. Verstappen and Ricciardo crashed in Baku together in 2018. Red Bull will aim to avoid a repeat collision. Read on for more information about the weekend including the weather.
F1 Azerbaijan GP Weather Forecast 2023
Baku City Circuit is expected to be dry during the F1 Azerbaijan GP 2023
The weather will be clear in Baku over the weekend. The weather will be dry but cloudy, particularly in the mornings, and evenings. The temperatures will reach a high of 20 degrees Celsius. Below is a more detailed forecast as per Accuweather:
On Friday, temperatures are forecast to remain in a pleasant range with a high of 23degC (73.44degF) during the day. Expect sunny skies. Temperatures will drop to 15degC at night. Overall, there is no chance of rain. The winds blow from the south during the day at 24 km/h with gusts up to 44 km/h. The wind blows from the south during the night at 9 km/h, with gusts of 33 km/h.
It will be dry and pleasant for the rest of Saturday. There will be some clouds, especially during the night, but also in the morning, afternoon, and early evening. The chances of rain are 0%. The maximum temperature should be 25degC, and the minimum will remain at 15degC. The wind will blow SSE during the daytime at 13 km/h (wind gusts of 28 km/h) and SSW at seven km/h (wind gusts of 20 km/h) at night.
It will be a little warmer on race day. The sky will be cloudy in the morning but will clear up by noon. In the late afternoon it will be cloudy, but there will also be some hazy sunlight. Probabilities of precipitation are negligible. The temperature will be around 26degC (70.8degF) with a minimum of 16degC (60.8degF).
During the day, winds will blow 15 km/h from the south with gusts of 30 km/h. The winds blowing from the north will become stronger at night and reach 26 km/h. The wind gusts can reach 61km/hr, maintaining Baku’s reputation as “City of Winds”.
F1 Azerbaijan GP 2023 Expected Strategy
Hannah Schmitz, Red Bull’s very first strategy engineer, will be faced with a massive task this weekend during the F1 Azerbaijan GP 2023
Baku City Circuit is notorious for its rough surface. This may not be as important now that the track surface has been repaved. It is not necessary to have a very high setup for downforce because the track has many straights. The Pirelli C3 will be the hard tire, followed by the Pirelli C4 and C5 for the mediums.
The format has also changed, with the introduction of the “Sprint Shootout” on Saturday. There will be a practice session on Friday followed by the qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Sprint Shootout takes place on Saturday. The format will be the same as the normal qualifying session, but the sessions will be shorter. Q1 will last 12 minutes, Q2 10 minutes, and Q3 8 minutes.
Drivers will have to use medium tires in the first two sessions. Soft tires will be used for Q3. This will play a major role in the strategy for this weekend as teams won’t be able spend as much time collecting data. The sprint will follow the shootout and the Sunday feature race. The weekend is certainly going to be chaotic.
Tire stress and asphalt grip will be moderate. The track will evolve and traction levels will be high all weekend. In 2022, a large majority of drivers had a single-stop strategy. The majority of drivers started with medium tires and then switched to hard ones.
F1 Azerbaijan GP 2023 DRS Zones
The Baku City Circuit’s main straight DRS zone has been shortened in preparation for the F1 Azerbaijan GP 2023
The Baku City Circuit has many straights, which means that drivers can get a lot of DRS in a single lap. This is provided that they are within one second of the car ahead. Currently, there are two DRS zones. The main straight has one, and the straight after the turn 2 has the other. The first DRS zone has been shortened for this year’s race.
The reason for this was that it was thought to be too simple to overtake using DRS. This was especially true when combined with the cleaner air from the cars with ground effects. This effect was amplified by the fact that there is a very long straight. The amount of dirt in the air this year has certainly increased, but it is not at a level where overtaking would be deemed ‘hard.’ Accordingly, the “main” DRS zone was shortened by 100 metres.
The detection point for this DRS zone is still located after the apex of turn 20. The DRS activation has changed from 347 to 447 meters. It could affect Red Bull’s dominance in this season. This will not affect Baku as much. It’s unlikely that rivals will be able to catch them.