The waiting is finally over and the Bahrain Grand Prix is upon us, with the F1 2023 season set to start around the Bahrain International Circuit this weekend.
All the car launches have taken place, all 10 teams have had three days of running around the same circuit already to get used to their new machinery for the new year, and come Friday practice, the time will have come to see where they really stand in the competitive pecking order.
It’s one of the most exciting times of the year in Formula 1, when we don’t quite know where everyone stands and everything starts from scratch once again. Let’s all hope for a thrilling season to come, and it starts in Bahrain this weekend.
When is the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix?
The Bahrain Grand Prix will start from Friday March 3 with free practice, with the race itself set to take place on Sunday March 5. Here is the full weekend’s schedule, in local time:
Friday March 3
Free practice 1: 2.30pm-3.30pm [11.30am-12.30pm GMT]
Free practice 2: 6pm-7pm [3pm-4pm GMT]
Saturday March 4
Free practice 3: 2.30pm-3.30pm [11.30am-12.30pm GMT]
Qualifying: 6pm-7pm [3pm-4pm GMT]
Sunday March 5
Race: 6pm [3pm GMT]
Where does the 2023 Bahrain take place?
The Bahrain International Circuit has featured on the calendar since the first Bahrain Grand Prix took place back in 2004, and the Hermann Tilke-designed circuit features 15 corners and a variety of technical challenges, as well as abrasive asphalt which is a well-known test of tyres over 57 laps of the 5.412km circuit.
Turn 1 – Hairpin right, following a heavy braking zone with drivers stopping from 200mph+ with DRS open.
Turn 2 – Bring the car right for a flicked left-hander and get on the power as soon as possible.
Turn 3 – An easy flat right-hander straight after T2, minimise the corner angle heading onto the next straight and a DRS zone.
Turn 4 – A good overtaking opportunity for those passed on the pit straight, this fourth-gear right-hander opens out on exit and has a wide entry, be careful of track limits here.
Turn 5 – A flicked left just before the tricky Turns 6 and 7.
Turns 6/7 – A high-speed right-left sweep that sees the drivers plunge downhill at the exit of T7, taken at least in fifth gear.
Turn 8 – A downhill braking zone into this right-handed hairpin, uphill on exit.
Turns 9/10 – Brake through Turn 9 and stay right for the best angle into the off-camber tight left-hander of Turn 10. It’s extremely common for drivers to lock up here, leaving drivers vulnerable in the next DRS zone on the back straight.
Turn 11 – A medium-speed left-hander at the end of the second DRS zone with a tight apex but open exit, so getting on the power early is essential to maximise lap time.
Turn 12 – A sweeping uphill right-hander, taken at full-throttle in sixth gear for the cars capable of doing so, the left-front tyre working hard here.
Turn 13 – Down a couple of gears for a downhill apex into 13, turning right onto the penultimate straight.
Turns 14/15 – A further plunge downhill into the final braking zone of the lap, hugging the apex while turning right and getting on the power as early as possible to get back onto the pit straight, with Turn 15 effectively acting as a continuation of 14.
Where can I watch the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix?
Formula 1 is available to watch on different TV broadcasters depending on which country you reside, with the Bahrain Grand Prix available to watch live on the following channels in the following countries in 2023:
Australia: Fox Sports
Austria: Sky Sport F1, ORF, Servus TV [live races split between them]
Brazil: TV Bandeirantes, BandSports
Canada: RDS, TSN
China: Great Sport (RTS), CCTV, Guangdong Sports [broadcast in Guangdong only]
France: Canal+, C8
Germany: Sky Sport F1
Italy: Sky Sport F1 [delayed coverage on TV8]
Japan: Fuji TV Next
Netherlands: Viaplay Xtra [free-to-air highlights on NOS]
Spain: DAZN F1
United Kingdom and Ireland: Sky Sports F1 [free-to-air highlights on Channel 4]
United States: ESPN, Spanish language broadcast available on ESPN Deportes
For those looking to watch live races online, F1 TV Pro is available in selected countries, which allows you to watch every session live, have access to exclusive live timing, documentaries and live shows – and is available to watch on any of your chosen devices via web, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, Roku and Chromecast.
What is the starting grid for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix?
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing
2 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing
3 Charles LECLERC Ferrari
4 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari
5 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin
6 George RUSSELL Mercedes
7 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes
8 Lance STROLL Aston Martin
9 Esteban OCON Alpine
10 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team
11 Lando NORRIS McLaren
12 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo
13 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo
14 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri
15 Alexander ALBON Williams
16 Logan SARGEANT Williams
17 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team
18 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren
19 Nyck DE VRIES AlphaTauri
20 Pierre GASLY Alpine
Which drivers have won the Bahrain Grand Prix?
Charles Leclerc took victory in last season’s opener after a thrilling duel against Max Verstappen, and Lewis Hamilton did the same in 2021 after dicing throughout the race with the Red Bull driver.
Hamilton has taken more Bahrain Grand Prix victories than anyone else, with five to his name heading into the 2023 season. The newly-retired Sebastian Vettel has four, and the only other repeat winners of the race are Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
Here’s a look at the past 10 winners of the race:
2022 – Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2021 – Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2020 – Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2019 – Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2018 – Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
2017 – Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
2016 – Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2015 – Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2014 – Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2013 – Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
What is the weather forecast for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix?
As is often the case in Bahrain’s desert climate, rain is not set to be a factor around Sakhir this weekend. But with it being a night race and qualifying and the race taking place under floodlights, expect track temperatures to dip slightly as the race progresses.
Friday March 3 – Sunny spells, high temperature 23°C, low 17°C
Saturday March 4 – Sunny spells, high temperature 25°C, low 18°C
Sunday March 5 – Sunny spells, high temperature 24°C, low °19C
[Weather forecast by Accuweather]
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What are the tyre compounds for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix?
Formula 1 tyre manufacturers Pirelli have nominated the C1, C2 and C3 tyre compounds to bring to the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.
The C1 is a new compound for this year, with the previous C1 becoming known as the C0 – the hardest dry tyre in the Pirelli range – with the new C1 introduced to bridge the gap between that and the C2.
The Bahrain Grand Prix tyres will be marked as follows:
C1: Hard (white)
C2: Medium (yellow)
C3: Soft (red)
If you need to find out more about the changes surrounding the new Pirelli tyres for 2023 or about Formula 1’s tyre rules in general, we’ve put together a handy guide which you can read by clicking here.