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Preview 10: Bahrain GP

Wednesday 2nd April 2014

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Preview 10: Bahrain GP

Preview 10: Bahrain GP

Things to watch out for in Bahrain include Jenson Button's 250th GP (he's bound to get a cake) plus darkness...

It's a brand new night race
Bahrain has installed lights and on Sunday we'll get our second full night race in F1. Which means both Qualifying and the race will start at 4pm in the UK. This will be a different night sensation to Singapore where the heat stays pretty consistent through the race despite the onset of darkness. In Bahrain the track temperature fall is something like 15C.

Lap times will be interesting
As the new era of technology had its painful initiation in Bahrain a month ago, it will be very interesting to see how far the cars have come in that short space of time. It will also be interesting to see if Force-India and Williams can repeat the pace we saw them achieve in the final four days. Sergio Perez certainly likes the track as he won there in GP2.

McLaren are looking fearful
Eric Boullier says the reasons that McLaren were slow in Malaysia might carry through to Bahrain. That's not good news for Jenson Button who starts his 250th grand prix. At the start of the season Jenson was 9-1 with the bookies. He's now down to 40-1.

Pirelli will be taking soft and mediums
With so much testing over winter at Bahrain, Pirelli have no qualms about the tyres to bring. It will be slightly hotter during the day, but in the race, the track temperature will drop considerably.

Robin Frijns will run in FP1
The much-fancied Robin Frijns will have a go for Caterham in FP1 in Bahrain and we'll see Giedo van der Garde try out the Sauber, too. After the Bahrain GP we get our first dose of in-season testing and Sauber will be sticking Sergei Sirotkin in the car.

Bahrain will see the return of Rob Smedley to the pitwall
... not as Felipe Massa's race engineer, but he will be running the Williams pitwall.

Kimi upbeat, Fernando gloomy
Ahead of the race the opinions of the two Ferrari drivers were at polar opposites. Kimi Raikkonen was looking forward to improvement from updates while Fernando Alonso thought there would be nothing they could do in the short space of time. "We will have to save fuel more than in Malaysia," said Alonso.

No noise change possible
Bernie was present for the race in Malaysia and said that engineers were investigating whether the new V6 turbos could be made any louder. Now Renault chief Remi Taffin has come out and said no they can't. Unless you increase the revs... which defeats the whole point of engine efficiency. Expect more rumblings this weekend.

We can expect the first rain free qualifying of 2014
It won't be wet in Bahrain, so Red Bull and others are predicting it will be an all-silver front row. And they think this is where we really will see the size of the Mercedes advantage.

Adrian takes the stand
The drivers in in the Thursday press conference have two JBs - Button and Bianchi, JEV, Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Erisson. On Friday it's the more intriguing Bob Fernley (Force India), Paddy Lowe (Mercedes), Adrian Newey (Red Bull Racing), Pat Symonds (Williams), Remi Taffin (Renault F1).

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