As Formula 1 prepares for the high winds for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, a number of drivers feel it could play a pivotal role in the race and provide an added challenges.

Weather forecasters are predicting a dry race but with high winds battering the Baku City Circuit, while strong gusts greeted the F1 paddock this morning, which could cause a number of issues for teams and drivers.

While less grip is naturally expected in stronger winds the cooler and windy conditions are predicted to cause the Ultrasoft tyres to suffer more graining at lower temperatures which could tempt more teams to opt for a one-stop strategy and switch to the yellow-banded soft tyres.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo feels the conditions will provide added challenges to all drivers while gusts of wind at certain corners could also be a danger.

“The wind really affects the car a lot and I think the guy who wins will be the guy who makes fewest mistakes and has the least awful race car,” Ricciardo said. “It will be very challenging and the cold conditions, why the top drivers opted for the Supersofts, was because of the graining.

“The Ultrasoft is graining and with cold conditions it’s likely to grain even more. The cold conditions will make this difficult to manage. I’m confident it’s going to be an interesting race as they’ll be a lot going on.

“It’s not tricky on the straight but you feel like you pass through a gap in the wall and the car is like this. At Turn 16, where I think Kimi had his moment, it was not easy. That’s where the wind was exposed and it was quite a strong tailwind so you certainly feel it there. Any time we get a tailwind or a crosswind it throws the car away from the apex.”

Azerbaijan GP F1 2018 Preview

Renault driver Carlos Sainz predicts “a lottery” with the inconsistent winds during the race and with F1 cars designed to be reliant on downforce the sudden change of winds will make racing tricky in Baku.

“It is a bit of a lottery when you are driving because sometimes you go into the corner there is a gust and there is no way you can turn the car in,” Saizn said. “It is something that is a lot more difficult that what people can imagine because it is inconsistent.

“It is throwing another variable into an F1 car in a street circuit which is particularly difficult. We are going to suffer as a Formula 1 cars generate hundreds more points of downforce [compared to Formula 3] and the car is more dependent on what is happening with the wind. It is really, really tricky out there.”