BIC, Sakhir: Formula 1’s star drivers are upbeat ahead of this weekend’s Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.
All the racing action kicks off on Friday but drivers are already eager to get back into the cockpit and resume the battle for the drivers’ and constructors’ world titles.
Red Bull Racing tandem Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are just two of those looking forward to getting out on track for some racing action.
Ricciardo has particularly enjoyed the event since it started to be held under the floodlights. He commented: “Since Bahrain became a night race I think the event has really come to life. It’s like Shanghai, in that it was never my favourite circuit, but I seem to have good results there and both races have become ones that I really enjoy.”
Teammate Max Verstappen concurs. “The Bahrain track is actually very interesting,” explains Verstappen, who has been racing in Bahrain since 2013 when he was still in karting.
“I like it but it’s very hard on the tyres. It turns into a night race which means the conditions change a lot and the track can become very slippery with all the sand which brings new challenge.”
Three-time Bahrain Grand Prix winner Fernando is another driver eager to do well. “I’m looking forward to going back to Bahrain, especially as I missed last year’s race,” Alonso says. “I have good memories from my three victories there, and racing in twilight is always a fun experience.”
“I have lots of good memories from the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in 2016,” says Alonso’s McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, who is driving in his first full year in the top flight. “We’re a year on now, I’m a full-time McLaren-Honda driver, and I’ve already gained a lot more experience in the past 12 months, so of course my aim is to work hard and improve every time I arrive at a grand prix. This year will be difficult for us, but we’ll be racing hard as always.”
Force India’s talented French rookie Esteban Ocon describes BIC as “a fantastic track”. He adds: “I’m really looking forward to the first night race of the season. It’s a track I enjoy and I have a good history there – I was on pole position in GP3 in 2015 so I hope to have another strong performance.”
Romain Grosjean of Haas and Marcus Ericsson of Sauber share similar opinions.
Grosjean says: “I love the track in Bahrain. On paper, it doesn’t look like the most exciting one, but driving it is pretty good fun.”
Ericsson adds: “Thinking about Bahrain, I am eager for the first night race of the season. The track, as well as the surroundings, have a special vibe under the floodlights. It is a spectacular race weekend that I enjoy a lot. Overall the circuit is technical and driving-wise not an easy one, but I always looking forward to racing there.”
Meanwhile, set up work continued across BIC, both in the Paddock and along the circuit’s Formula 1 Village vending area, which is almost completely ready to welcome fans for the first time.
Work is also being done throughout the day at all corners of BIC and things are about to pick up even more over the next few days with Formula 1 personnel, and a wide host of other staff all setting their stations up at the circuit.
Tickets to this year’s Grand Prix spectacle continue to be available. All tickets are for all three days of the Formula 1 weekend, allowing holders to enjoy the maximum experience. They can be purchased at the BIC stands in Bahrain City Centre and Seef Mall, online at www.bahraingp.com or by calling the BIC Hotline on +973-17-450000.
For further information on the 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, visit bahraingp.com or call the BIC Hotline on +973-17-450000. Also, find BIC on Facebook (facebook.com/OfficialBahrainInternationalCircuit), follow BIC on Twitter (@BAH_Int_Circuit) and Instagram (instagram.com/bah_int_circuit), and subscribe to BIC’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/Bah_Int_Circuit) for regular updates on the world-class Sakhir circuit.