F1 2018: Bahrain Preview

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10. Bahrain Grand Prix, Sunday 17th April 2017. Sakhir, Bahrain.

After a tricky Australian Grand Prix in which there was next to no overtakes, F1 now heads to Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Whilst some come here confident of continuing their progress, others will be hoping to make big strides forward.

Here are some key information before we look at three things to watch out for this weekend.


Key Information

Circuit: Bahrain International Circuit

Number of Laps: 57

Race Distance: 308.238 KM


Date/Session UK Time (BST)
Friday 6th April  
FP1 12:00pm
FP2 4:00pm
Saturday 7th April  
FP3 1:00pm
Qualifying 4:00pm
Sunday 8th April  
Race 4:10pm



Force India seek to hit ground running

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Australian Grand Prix - Race Day - Melbourne, Australia
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM11. Australian Grand Prix, Sunday 25th March 2018. Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.

Force India’s strong form ended last time out with a double non points finish, their first since Monaco last year.

The team is already planning to bring upgrades to coming races and Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer is confident that there is huge development potential to get out of this year’s car

Speaking in Force India’s Bahrain preview, Szafnauer said; “There is huge development potential with this new aerodynamic platform and we have things in the pipeline, which will bring performance steps in the first quarter of the season.”

The first of those upgrades is a front wing which will debut here and Sergio Perez is already in a positive mood.

Discussing the aim for this weekend, the Mexican said: “Bahrain should be a bit easier because it’s a more traditional track. We’ve got to be targeting points this weekend.”

In regards to how Force India can try and get the edge in what looks to be a competitive development race, Perez said: ” We need to do what we have done in the last few years by making improvements to the car at each race. We’ve already made a step forward since pre-season testing so we need to keep working in the same direction.”


Renault seek to continue their positive steps forward

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Australian Grand Prix - Practice Day - Melbourne, Australia
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Renault Sport F1 Team RS18. Australian Grand Prix, Friday 23rd March 2018. Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.

Renault surprised in Australia by making a huge step forward in being able to fight around top ten for whole of the weekend.

That performance pleased Managing Director, Cyril Abiteboul who saw his team and their customers experience no problems (McLaren FP1 aside).

Speaking ahead of this weekend, Abiteboul was in a positive mood and looking at the strong points, saying; “In Australia, there were a number of strong points; reliability, performance and the final result. 

Now the pressure is on Renault to prove that Australia was the start of a move towards the front runners.

In his pre weekend quotes, Nico Hulkenberg acknowledged this, saying; “we need to reduce the gap to the front and that’s the challenge.”


Can Williams start delivering?

Australia saw Williams struggle throughout with Sergey Sirotkin retiring early in the race, whilst Sauber’s Charles Leclerc managed to finish ahead of Lance Stroll.

With quality engineers like Paddy Lowe, Rob Smedley and Dave Robson at the Grove based team, you have to wonder where Williams are going wrong.

Lowe however believes that this weekend will be the first proper representative weekend of where each team are in pecking order.

Speaking in Williams’ Bahrain preview, Lowe said; “It is the first normal race track of the 2018 season with more predictable weather, so we should get a more representative comparison of the underlying performance of each team.”

It’s hard to disagree with what he has said because the weather forecast is dry with temperatures around 30 degrees. 

That should therefore make this race a clear representation of the true pecking order for this season.

Nevertheless, Williams need to raise their game here and put their tough weekend in Melbourne behind them. 

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