F1 races 2022: Take a virtual lap ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix
Following their delighted at finishing third and fourth in last weekend’s season opener in Bahrain, Mercedes are preparing to make changes to their car in an attempt to close the gap in pace to Ferrari and Red Bull. Team principal Toto Wolff has said his engineers will “take a chainsaw” to the rear wings on the cars of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell as they aim to be more competitive for the race victory in Jeddah on Sunday.
Red Bull meanwhile will are scratching their heads after suffering a double retirement in Bahrain. Max Verstappen was left unimpressed by the mysterious issue which denied him a podium finish, and later team boss Christian Horner suggested what the issue might be, saying: “It looks suspiciously like the failures are related to each other and it may be an issue with the fuel system.”
Follow all the latest news and reaction from the Bahrain Grand Prix below, as the F1 world looks ahead to the next race in Saudi Arabia.
Mercedes could be closer to front runners in Saudi Arabia, says Davidson
The fast-flowing nature of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix circuit means Mercedes could be much closer to Ferrari and Red Bull at the front of the Formula 1 pack this weekend, says Sky F1 pundit Anthony Davidson.
Lewis Hamilton won the inaugural race at the Jeddah track last December, but the Mercedes W13 car which is contesting the 2022 campaign was significantly off the pace of their rivals in Bahrain last weekend. Davidson, though, believes that the track configuration could suit the Silver Arrows.
“Jeddah is a fast, flowing track, very smooth and I do expect there to be a shake up in the order, naturally,” he said. “Perhaps Mercedes will be a bit closer to the front of the competition, for example; they may be able to run their car lower to the ground, which is a bit of an Achilles’ heel for them. Maybe Red Bull will be the best car in Jeddah and Ferrari will be lagging just that bit behind.”
Dan Austin24 March 2022 17:44
Verstappen may have to re-think Leclerc battles, Davidson says
Sky F1 pundit Anthony Davidson says that Max Verstappen may have to alter his approach to battling Charles Leclerc if the pair end up contesting the world drivers’ championship.
The Red Bull driver squabbled for the lead with the Ferrari man at Sakhir last Sunday in a thrilling tussle after the first round of pitstops, successfully making the overtake twice into Turn 1 before being re-passed on entry to Turn 4.
Now, former BAR Honda driver Davidson says that the Dutchman may need an alternative approach.
“Max is going to have to rethink how he races him, I think, going forward from here – it is going to be interesting,” Davidson said. “I think Charles, every time he is with Max now, treats him differently -than when they first battled for race wins in 2019], and that’s what I immediately saw come into play in Bahrain.”
Dan Austin24 March 2022 17:29
Red Bull has fuel system issue fix in place for Saudi Arabia
Red Bull says it has a fix in place for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which resolves the fuel system problem which caused Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to retire late on in Bahrain on Sunday.
Both men’s RB18 cars lost power at the Sakhir circuit in the very final stages of the race, meaning the team goes into the second round at Jeddah bottom of the constructors’ championship.
Now, Autosport reports that the Milton Keynes-based squad are satisfied that the system will not cause them any further issues.
Dan Austin24 March 2022 17:14
Magnussen reference will help Schumacher, Steiner says
Having the performances of the experienced Kevin Magnussen as a yardstick will help Mick Schumacher improve as a Formula 1 driver, says Haas team principal Gunther Steiner.
The young German is being partnered by the returning Dane after Nikita Mazepin’s contract with the team was terminated over his close familial links to Russian president Vladimir Putin, and Magnussen scored the team’s best result since 2018 by finishing fifth at the season opener in Bahrain last Sunday.
A reference is very helpful,” Steiner said, per Motorsport-Total. “If someone does a lap two, three tenths faster and you look at that data, you might find one or two tenths in there, the braking points, the line and so on. So that will help him a lot.”
Dan Austin24 March 2022 16:59
The F1 photographer who captured Max Verstappen’s dramatic world title win
“With 15 minutes to go I was in the garage thinking ‘we’re not going to win this’,” he remembers. “You’re almost in neutral, you’re thinking this is an early night, that’s the way it goes. Then, bang! All of a sudden we were winning and everything went mental. It went absolutely crazy.”
Thompson is no stranger to the chaos of F1 having photographed every grand prix for 24 years (“which is either really cool or really sad,” he says, “whichever way you look at it”) before Covid ended his streak.
You can read the full behind-the-scenes interview with Mark here:
Luke Baker24 March 2022 16:44
Ferrari has the ‘best engine’ says Haas boss Gunter Steiner
Haas team principal Gunther Steiner says that Ferrari has the ‘best engine’ of all four power suppliers in Formula 1 this season.
The Scuderia managed 1-2 victory in Bahrain last weekend, while previous backmarkers Haas and Alfa Romeo, who both run Ferrari engines, scored strong points.
“I think the Ferrari is now the best engine,” Steiner told the press after Haas’ best result since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.
“That gives a lot of credit to them, because they had to take a lot of sh*t from people about [their lack of performance], and they just did their homework and came back with something very good.”
Dan Austin24 March 2022 16:29
Albon says safety cars changes must be reviewed
Alex Albon says that F1’s new safety car rules must be reviewed after they were tested for the first time in Bahrain last weekend.
As part of the FIA’s investigation into the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, cars now only have one tour of the circuit to un-lap themselves behind the safety car, and Albon does not believe that is adequate time.
“They have made a rule which I guess is part of the Abu Dhabi thing, there will only be one lap pretty much to catch up which isn’t enough,” Albon said. “Firstly, in terms of a safety point I guess it was fine, but we were driving flat out and with the safety car on track. I’m not sure that is how we want it to be but of course we are going to drive as hard as we can to catch up the leading lap.”
Dan Austin24 March 2022 16:14
Las Vegas and Africa on the cards for Formula 1 races
Rumours have been swirling for weeks that Formula 1 is on the verge of announcing a new Las Vegas Grand Prix for 2023, which would be the third US event on the calendar.
Africa, meanwhile, is the only major continent Formula 1 does not currently visit during its season, and Stefano Domenicali said both regions are an expansion priority.
“We need to be balanced, we need to see what are the other opportunities,’ the Italian said. “And very soon we are going to tell everyone what is our strategy to develop that [American] market.
“On top of America, on top of China, I think there is a potential also to be in Africa soon,” Domenicali said. “There is a lot of interest there. For sure that’s another area that so far is missing in the geography of our calendar.”
Luke Baker24 March 2022 15:59
F1 calendar could reach 30 races per season
The new season sees F1 undertake its biggest campaign yet, with 23 races scheduled for 2022, including the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in May.
But in a few years’ time the calendar could reach a staggering 30 races, according to CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“I think there is potential to go to 24,” Domenicali told Sky Sports. “I would say there is potential to go to 30! In terms of the interest we see all around the world. It is up to us to try to find the right balance considering what are the venues which would like to be in F1, what are the historical values we need to see on the calendar.”
Dan Austin24 March 2022 15:44
Adding new teams not necessarily best way forward, Domenicali says
Despite the requests for an increase in the number of teams racing in F1 from interested parties, CEO Stefano Domenicali says the series is in a good place right now and making additions isn’t necessarily the best way forward.
The last new team to enter Formula 1 was Haas in 2016, and the response from team principals towards Michael Andretti’s proposal has been lukewarm.
“I have to be very honest, today F1 with 10 teams, with the competition on the track, is very, very solid,” he told Sky Sports. “There’s complexities that need to be considered if other teams can be added. Therefore I don’t think it’s the most important element to grow F1, to be honest.”
Luke Baker24 March 2022 15:33