2010 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix Preview
Well, here we are the start of another season and it will be the 4th full season covered on this blog. Amazing. The start of a new season is always very exciting with fans, drivers and teams alike all feeling like children on the night before chirstmas, the excitement and anticiapation hard to cope with. Few aerodynamic regulation changes, and just a handful of rule changes mean that there is a slight sense of continuity into this season, just to remind you the poitns now score down to 10th and first place scores 25. Also to remind you that in-race refuelling is banned.
Thankfully, the rules have stayed fairly similar as the main talking points of this off-season have been the drivers and these pesky new teams. Michael Schumacher is the headline grabber, coming back to race but this time with Mercedes. Fernando Alonso jumped ship to Ferrari (at last!), Jenson Button is over at McLaren for the titanic battle of Britain against Lewis Hamilton and the Senna name returns as the late great Ayrton’s nephew, Bruno, joins the sport.
The new teams are almost all here, with the exception of USF1 – who failed quite spectacularly it has to be said – and Hispania who only launched the car last week. Stefan GP, the Serbian team will not be racing as they weretold to pack up and go home by the FIA.
Right, now to the race preview.
We’re starting the season in Bahrain, the Arabian circuit hosted the first race once before in 2006 while Melbourne hosted the 2006 Commonwealth Games and couldn’t cope with the Grand Prix at the same time. The track has had a couple of changes, which haven’t been well recieved (see Mark Webber’s comments below).
Pre-Race Driver Comments
Bruno Senna (Bra)- HRT: “I am enjoying it already! I have had a pretty tough year so far, starting from the end of 2008 all the way to this year, where things have got there only to be taken away. I was very low on expectation that the team was going to happen because we had spent so much time trying to be sold, trying to be bailed and this and that.”
Nico Rosberg (Deu) – Mercedes: “I’m going into the season very optimistically. I feel very, very comfortable in the car, very confident. But at the same time I know it’s going to be as difficult as ever, because obviously I have a rather strong team-mate. So we’ll have to wait and see.”
Karun Chandhok (Ind) – HRT: “It is going to be extremely tough. We haven’t even done a shakedown – so it’s no secret it is going to be a bloody tough weekend. I think if you look on the plus side, at least Dallara are a respected [racing] car manufacturer and they have built cars before, so we should be in a slightly better position than if it was with someone else doing it independently.”
Felipe Massa (Bra) – Ferrari: “I am very happy and very motivated that we can start the championship in a better way not just than last year, which was not a very good year, but also than the other championships. My expectation [for this weekend] is definitely to score many points. Even if maybe we don’t know if it will be possible to win, it will be important to start the championship in the right direction. That’s our expectation and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Mark Webber (Aus) – Red Bull: [Speaking about the circuit changes] “Nothing but tight corners. Accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake …”
Timo Glock (Deu) – Virgin: “Here we are, heading into our first race, and I’m very excited. We’re as ready as we can be; we’re a small team but we have the resources and people to keep building something special together and that is what we must all keep in mind as we progress. Our objective remains to be the best of the new teams and that particular race starts this weekend.”
Jenson Button (Gbr) – McLaren: “I’m actually really looking forward to the start of the season. It will be a thrill and an honour to sit on the grid with the number 1 on my car – it’ll actually be the first time in my car racing career that that’s ever happened – but I won’t be spending too much time thinking about the drivers who want to take it away from me.”