#26 - F1 2018 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
A very warm welcome to a new blog post! Warm it is, as the temperatures in Bahrain are soaring past the 30°c, but this won't matter as this race is now run during the night. Therefore, don't bother watching FP1 or FP3 as none of them will be representative. The only session worth watching will be, FP2 as it is the only session run at night. Which makes it very tricky for the drivers to find the car's sweet spot in 1h30 rather than the usual 4h total sessions throughout a normal weekend.
But before we dive into this weekend's race. We need to adress a hot topic that is happening as we speak outside the race track and behind closed doors. The current F1 owner's Liberty Media will be announcing this weekend plans for what F1 will look like post 2020.
Reliable sources have cited that F1 will be capping team's budget in the range of $150 million a year. You might think that's is a lot, well guess again as Lewis's new contract will be worth $60 million a year, starting in 2019, so imagine the drastic salary cut some drivers will have to make in order to comply with new financial regulations in 2021.
Aside from the salary of the drivers, this will mean numerous reshuffling of team organisation. Probably lay-off will be inevitable to reduce cost. Hospitality will be handled by FOM or proposed in a franchise way. We could brainstorm it however we want, what is crucial to retain is that F1 is changing and its happening in the not too distant future.
So why are they proposing this Budget cap? Well, the primary reason is to make F1 attractive. Making F1 relatively more affordable, will enable manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Lamborghini and others to enter the sport. Another aspect of this budget cap, would be to increase the racing show with less money invested in R&D and certain FIA tweeks will allow for better racing. All of this in theory.
I am not giving my opinion yet, as all of this is still a fait accompli and will be precised over the coming months. I remain very receptive on new ideas and directions as long as the DNA of the sport is respected and that fan's get value for their money.
Eitherway, we need to have closer racing, especially after last weekend. Thank god for the safety car and Mercedes IT system glitch to animate a bit the race or else it was straight forward from lap 1 until the chequered flag. It's pointless to go over the first grand prix of the season again, as the track is not representative of anything, it is this weekend that we will know who has a good 2018 car or not.
Just a quick question that I want to ask you guys; what are your opinions about the Halo on TV, your thoughts on the opening season and who do you think will win this year? Thank to the growing number of readers for interacting with me through the various social media platform and this website's chat.
So you are up to date with what is happening in the F1 world. Now let's dive into the juicy bit of the weekend.
The Grand Prix Weekend
The first night race of the year, I know I say this every year, but love this circuit. It is one of my favourite one all year long. Take out your video game and drive on this circuit and you will understand why I love it. The desert scenery is breath-taking, the wind and dust create instability for the cars and that long straight will allow numerous overtaking opportunities. What more do you want? So make sure Sunday you are wide awake and ready to enjoy a new Grand Prix.
The big questions of the weekend: Are Ferrari the fastest team? We will have a better idea this weekend, as this is a much more representative circuit.
A second question that I am asking myself and can't wait to get an answer is where is Red Bull in all of this? Last time out, Dani Ric timed the fastest lap of the race and kept up with the pace of Kimi Raikkonen with the Ferrari having just that extra km/h to mantain its position. So could they potentially challenge not only for a podium but also for a win?
Last but not least question is regarding Haas. Will they confirm their 4th place dominance and have they fixed their pit stop issues? I am also curious to see if Force India are the real fourth strongest team or not, as in Australia they didn't seem like by a galaxy away. Bob Fernley (Force India boss) stated that historically they always performed poorly in Australia and end up showing their true force come Bahrain time. We shall see.
Weather forecast is good, warm weather and certainly no rain is forecasted for the race on Sunday. Although Sky Weather was announcing some rain on Friday night!
In Australia statistically was on point once again and I trust the stats once again for this weekend. The 13 winners of the past Bahraini GP have gone to win the drivers' championship!
Furthermore, being on pole does not guarrantee winning the race. Only one of the last five races has the pole-sitter stormed to victory. Perhaps this could change this weekend.
Starting from 2nd place is often a handicap, as you are on the dirty side of the track and you get much less traction then your neighbour in the 1st and 3rd place. So watch out for some good start action this Sunday.
Prophecy for the Bahrain Grand Prix
1. Ferrari, with a Kimi victory.
2. Battle between Mercedes, Vettel and Red Bull for the remaining spot on the podium.
3. Haas outscoring McLaren as best of the rest.
That is your lot from me, enjoy the #BahrainGP and don't forget that you can chat with me all weekend long via the website, twitter and instagram.