Formula One arrives in Baku this weekend for the 8th round of the 2016 Formula One World Championship. The Grand Prix of Europe, takes the form of a high speed street circuit in which cars are expected to exceed 340 KMPH. The circuit at just over 6km is the second longest on the F1 calender. The race will take place over 51 laps.
The track surface is made up of a variation of new and temporary tarmac (covering cobbles for in the old town section of the circuit for the race weekend only) tyre degradation is expected to be minimal. Despite this expectation, since the circuit is new Pirelli have opted to supply teams with the medium compound range of tyres. It can be expected future events will use softer compounds. Team tyre compound selection has focused on the softest compounds available.
With excessive straights followed by a series of tight low speed corners car set-up is likely to be somewhat of a compromise. Teams will be looking to run minimal downforce to ensure maximum speed on the straights whilst ensuring the car is controllable in the low speed sections, as a friend pointed out earlier today, these elements of the circuit are not dissimilar to the old Hockenheimring.
Teams with advanced simulators are likely to arrive at the circuit with a strong baseline set up, others may require much of Friday running to find the optimal approach to the circuit.