Thursday already and the F1 teams are set up in Bahrain getting ready for this weekend’s race in the desert night.
57 Laps of the 5.412Km circuit, with a race distance of 308.238Km will be using Pirelli, White Medium tyres, Yellow Soft tyres or Red Super Soft tyres. Run during the night this is the first of the three night F1 races this year. Ferrari will be fast this weekend, they will hope to take the win this weekend, but with Hamilton on form it will be hard fought race. No rain this weekend, just hot action on track.
While of track there has been a lot of action during the three days, since we left China and Shanghai behind for another year, lots of news this week.
Pascal Wehrlein has been confirmed fit and will race this weekend for Sauber, this leaves Antonio Giovinazzi sitting on the reserve bench again, but after last weekend’s double crashes in the Sauber, he will have time to reflect and will come back either later in the season or next year in a race seat.
The Malaysian government has confirmed that after 19 years the Sepang International Circuit is holding its last race. F1 owners Liberty Media are not concerned by this move as they have both Germany and France returning in 2018 for the F1 season and on Tuesday, Chase Carey the CEO of Liberty Media, met Turkish President Erdogan and have agreed in principle that the Turkish Grand Prix will return in 2018. More details of next year’s calendar will be confirmed later in the season, but currently that will be 22 race calendar.
Ferrari have been critical of Kimi Raikkonen and his lack of performance in China, with rumours of this being his last season and also a possible replacement for him during the year if he does not perform. This is a Ferrari management style of the 1960’s and one which Raikkonen has currently made no comment. Hopefully the Finn leaves his talking to the circuit and we see his true pace this weekend.
Honda has announced that it will be testing a new engine after the Bahrain GP, during the F1 test which is due next week. This engine has a new combustion chamber which apparently is the cause of Honda’s lack of power. McLaren are quite on this news, making no comment either way could be taken as “too little, too late from Honda”.
However, the real reason for McLaren silence became apparent this morning.
Zak Brown and Alonso made a joint announcement, McLaren Honda Andretti will be racing in the INDY 500 on the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix. So Alonso will be in the US of A leaving McLaren-Honda with no one to drive in Monaco?
Or do they? Jenson Button is on a year out contract, with a race drive call up option, so will see Jenson Button sub for Alonso?
Question after question, just come from this amazing news today. Another one is Alonso saying he is after the Motorsports Triple Crown.
Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 & Le Man’s, having one the Monaco GP twice, Alonso is looking to be only the second person to win the Triple Crown. The only winner of the Triple Crown is the late legendary Graham Hill, having won in Monaco 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968 & 1969, Indy 500 in 1966 and Le Mans in 1972.
The only other racing driver currently able to win the Triple Crown is Juan Pablo Montoya who has won Monaco in 2003 and Indy 500 in 2000 and 2015. Currently Montoya is not driving in any Le Mans category car, but maybe the thought of Alonso going for this Triple Crown could spur him on and who knows what 2018 will bring.
Of course this news of combining the race winning Indy Car of Andretti powered by Honda to Alonso can only be seen as a way to keep him firmly in contract with McLaren for the rest of the year and probably next year to.
This news also can be taken as a warning to the WEC teams that McLaren are about to enter the formula of endurance racing in a full blown factory backed Le Mans attempt, not seen since the late ‘90’s.
So only good news from F1, this week and we have Bahrain to look forward to this weekend.
Colin Logan for In2Motorsports.com