2015 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix Preview
Sahara Force India prepares for this weekend’s race at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, looks ahead to the final flyaway race of the start of 2015.
Vijay: “As we get to the end of this first part of the season, it’s a good moment to reflect on the start of our campaign and the next steps ahead. I think it is fair to say that we are not yet where we want to be, but we are conscious of the effort everyone in the team is making to push us up the order. Work continues as we keep introducing upgrades ahead of a significant package coming during the European season.
“The memories of last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix are still fresh in our minds: it was a great emotion to see our team on the podium. Both Sergio and Nico raced admirably there and hopefully this will spur them on to perform some magic once more. Traditionally, Bahrain is a circuit that suits our car, although year-to-year comparisons are not the most reliable way to predict form in Formula One.
“As we approach this last flyaway race in this first part of the season, we expect to continue closing the gap with the teams ahead of us. In terms of both single lap and race pace, we have been getting more performance into our car and we hope this trend will continue this week.”
Nico on Bahrain
Nico Hülkenberg gets ready for racing under the floodlights in Bahrain.
Nico: “Bahrain is always an enjoyable weekend: I really like the paddock and the atmosphere around the venue is great. There’s always a fairytale feel in the paddock and the facilities are fantastic, especially at night when all the lights turn on. It is also the place where I drove my first Formula One race, back in 2010, so I have some very good memories about this race – not least last year’s race, which was very enjoyable to drive.
“The track is quite tricky to master, especially as the sand blowing on the track can make it really dusty, so grip doesn’t always improve throughout the weekend. There are a few very nice corners, especially the double left-hander before the back straight: it’s difficult to get it right and it is very easy to lock the inside front wheel. It’s a very technical track with a few good overtaking opportunities, and at the same time it’s a challenge from a mechanical point-of-view as well, taking a lot from your rear tyres and from your brakes.
“After a disappointing weekend in China, we want to be in a condition to make the most of any opportunities we may get in the race. We know where we stand in terms of performance and we know the work we have to do to get closer to the teams in front of us. In the last few years there have been some very eventful races in Bahrain, so hopefully we will be able to challenge for the points and come away with some rewards to close this first part of the season.”
Sergio on Bahrain
Sergio Perez gets ready to return to the scene of last year’s podium finish
Sergio: “Returning to Bahrain brings back a lot of good memories. Last year’s race had all you can ask from it: a lot of action, a great performance and of course finishing on the podium. It’s a good track for me; I won there in GP2 and generally always had good races so I feel positive about going there.
“The track itself is a stop-and-go circuit with long straights, sharp braking zones followed by rapid acceleration: rear tyre degradation is quite high and I expect it to be one of the themes of this race. Grip is always a challenge with all the dust blowing on the track, and the surface evolves a lot during the weekend and the race itself. There are two DRS zones and a few good overtaking opportunities, especially in the first sector: this should make for some good racing.
“The last race in China was interesting for us, as we were able to be much more involved in battles against the other teams. As we keep learning about our car and its set-up, we are closing the gap to our rivals, which is really encouraging. There is still a long way to go but everyone is working hard for it and hopefully we will soon be able to mount a more consistent challenge for regular points.”