A Preview to Formula 1 Season Opener GP in Bahrain
Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Alexander Albon, Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris attend the Drivers Press Conference in Bahrain. February 28, 2024. Photo courtesy: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool.

This weekend, the Bahrain Grand Prix will celebrate its 20th anniversary, serving as host for the inaugural round of the 2024 Formula One season, featuring a record-breaking 24-race calendar, the longest in the series’ history.

From February 29 to March 2, the engines of the Formula One 2024 challengers will roar at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, setting off a new season at the pinnacle of motorsport, the longest in the FIA Formula One World Championship history and the first in Bahrain held on a Saturday night due to the start of Ramadan.

The track layout spans 5.412 km (3.363 miles) across 57 laps, comprising 15 turns (nine right and six left) and three DRS sectors throughout the abrasive racetrack.

High tire degradation, sand, and the traditional desert wind tend to combine, becoming an extra challenge for the contenders over the racing weekend.

In that regard, optimizing the car setup to find the right balance between the low and medium-speed corners as the high-speed sections is crucial to performance on a track that shows no mercy, defying brake stability.

Overtaking in Bahrain adds to the thrill the gran prix action delivers year after year, with drivers showcasing breathtaking maneuvers, mostly on Turns 1 and 4, but also in turn 11.

The drainage covers on Turn 11 that caused two testing sessions to be red-flagged are now filled with concrete, as in an additional area around Turn 7.

On Saturday, 20 drivers representing ten teams will line up in the grid, hoping to make the most of the start of a long season, which saw them taking the first steps last week when they completed three days of pre-season testing.

Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is the driver with the most wins at the Bahrain Grand Prix, emerging victorious on five occasions.

Speaking about the season opener, Toto Wolff, CEO Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, commented: “After pre-season testing, we can draw some initial conclusions. The drivers are much happier with the overall balance. The basic platform is working as we expected. The correlation to our simulations looks to be accurate.”

This is all encouraging. It’s a good foundation that we can build on.”

Meanwhile, the first victory in over a decade in Bahrain for Red Bull Racing came last season at the hands of defending champion Max Verstappen, who started the race from pole position.

Teammate Sergio Perez crossed the finish line second while Spaniard Fernando Alonso notched his first podium with Aston Martin, finishing P3.

Furthermore, Charles Leclerc, who wrapped up pre-season testing on top of the timesheets with the new SF-24, talked to the media in the Scuderia Ferrari hospitality on Wednesday.

The Monegasque driver outlined: “The direction we have taken in the build of the SF-24 was already established in the final part of the 2023 season, when, from Japan onwards, we managed to make a lot of progress, in terms of driveability and consistent race performance.”

That is why I expect that we will start from the same sort of order we saw then, and I can count on starting from a level that means we can fight for the win more often and make the most of any opportunity.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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