2024 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix Preview: Exciting Start to New Season

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By Car Brand Experts

After the long winter break, the Formula 1 World Championship returns this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The 2024 season doesn’t bring much in the way of new car designs or new drivers, but there’s a record 24 races to look forward to. Three of those races will be held in the U.S. alone, just like last year.

The Bahrain International Circuit is a permanent fixture on the F1 calendar and for the past three seasons has hosted the opening round. It is located on a former camel farm in the desert area of Sakhir, and to minimize sand blowing onto the track the surrounding desert area is sprayed with a sticky adhesive substance.

The 3.36-mile track is one of the most abrasive on the calendar. It consists of 15 corners delivering a mix of low, medium, and high speeds, plus three long straights, two of them designated as DRS zones. Turn 1 is usually the best overtaking opportunity, where the cars brake hard from over 186 mph before diving into a tight right hand turn, then switching to the left hand side of the track for a section of corners. Turn 4 is another passing point, before the tighter second and third sectors, with the next DRS straight leading into Turn 11.

Bahrain International Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix
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Bahrain International Circuit, home of the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix

Engine performance, traction out of the corners, and stability under braking make up the technical challenge here. In addition, due to the abrasiveness of the track, tire degradation also plays a crucial role. Pirelli has nominated its hardest tire compounds for the race: C1 as the white hard, C2 as the yellow medium, and C3 as the red soft.

Weather conditions appear to be mild, with the peak temperature expected to hover around 72 degrees F for the race which will take place on Saturday instead of the usual Sunday. This is to maintain a one week gap before the next race on the calendar, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which is also being run on a Saturday in order to avoid a clash with the start of Ramadan.

Following three days of testing last week, which also took place at the Bahrain International Circuit, the consensus is that reigning champions Red Bull Racing is still very much the team to beat. Mercedes-Benz AMG has also shown impressive pace and will likely be the team that offers the greatest competition for Red Bull.

All eyes will be on Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who won in Bahrain last year and is chasing his fourth-straight title. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton also returns for an attempt at a record eighth title, and his last season at Mercedes. He’s already confirmed a switch to Ferrari in 2025.

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