Round 2 of the 2018 Formula 1 season is upon us as the team head to the desert in Sakhir.
Hear from Fernando, Stoff and Eric Boullier ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Bahrain is the first of our back-to-back races. Temperatures are looking typical for this desert location, but don’t be surprised if a light sprinkling of rain appears, it has during previous years.
It's also the first night race of the year, so be sure to look out for spotlit palm trees and stunning post-race fireworks displays.
|Where||Bahrain International Circuit|
|When||06 - 08 April 2018|
|Start time||18:10 hrs local, 16:10 hrs BST, 17:10 CET|
|How many laps||57|
|Tyre choice||White Medium, Yellow Soft, Red Supersoft|
|Tea or coffee||Tea - it may be a night race but it's an afternoon viewing for European fans!|
Fernando Alonso, McLaren Driver
“After a positive start to the season I’m already really excited to head to Bahrain and get back in the car. Australia gave us a positive feeling and I hope we can continue that momentum as we head into these back-to-back races.
“I know the team are working hard back at the factory to push through the upgrades that are in the pipeline, as these, along with the development work we’re doing on the chassis and with the power unit, are what will be key to unlocking further performance from our car.
“We mustn’t get complacent – these two races in Bahrain and Shanghai are tough on the cars and it’s important that we maintain good reliability if we are to maximise our potential. The competition is very strong and we need to keep pushing forward for more points.”
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren Driver
“I’m very happy to be heading to Bahrain on the back of a positive weekend for us in Australia. There’s a good feeling in the team and we’re all working hard to keep that going. We know there’s a lot to do and every race brings a new set of challenges.
“Bahrain is a great venue – it’s where I started my F1 career when I filled in for Fernando as reserve driver in 2016, and it’s an important race for us thanks to our shareholders. The weather is good and the later-than-usual programme for the weekend sets it apart from a lot of other tracks we visit.
“Racing from day to night always feels special and makes this grand prix so unique – it means it’s very different from Australia in terms of set-up so I’m keen to maximise track time to work on preparation with the engineers. Last year I had a lot of bad luck there reliability-wise so I’m hoping we can have better fortunes there this time around.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director
“Bahrain is an exciting event for the whole team and a special venue for McLaren. It’s our second home due to the team’s ownership and we always receive a fantastic welcome from our Bahraini hosts. The facilities are world-class and it’s a very enjoyable venue at which to host a grand prix.
“The back-to-back races of Bahrain and China pose very different challenges, and, given that most of our personnel don’t travel back to the UK between them, both logistics and car development are two tricky issues that everyone needs to get on top of.
“Speaking of car development, we’re working hard to bring updates to the next two grands prix, which we hope will help our boys continue to put up a good fight. As we saw in Melbourne, our competition is tough. We can’t take anything for granted and we know that despite a stronger performance than we’ve seen in recent months, we also benefitted from circumstances around us. Our principal targets are further up the grid ahead of us, so we know there’s work to do and our focus is on the development race as well as the race on track.
“The result at Albert Park was a boost that we all needed, but now we must move on, look firmly ahead and keep pushing forward.”