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.
Circuit: Bahrain International Circuit
Number of Laps: 57
Race Distance: 308.238 KM
|Date/Session||UK Time (BST)|
|Friday 6th April|
|Saturday 7th April|
|Sunday 8th April|
Force India seek to hit ground running
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
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.