Some of the biggest stars in all of motorsport have begun arriving in the kingdom for this weekend’s Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2019.
Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) hosts the racing and entertainment spectacle from tomorrow to Sunday in Sakhir.
It will mark the second round of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship and race No. 999 in the history of the top flight. It is also the 15th edition of the event and the sixth time it is taking place under BIC’s state-of-the-art floodlights as a night race.
Amongst the Formula 1 stars who have already touched down are McLaren’s British rookie Lando Norris, who has had some success at BIC in the past while competing in Formula 2, and Formula 1 returnee Robert Kubica of Poland, who had captured pole position in the 2008 edition of the Bahrain race.
Scores of officials from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Formula 1, Formula 2 and other participating entities have also begun arriving in Bahrain.
They were all received at Bahrain International Airport by BIC’s Meet and Greet staff, who assisted the country’s guests in their arrival formalities, including arranging their transportation to their respective residences while on the island.
More drivers plus championship and team personnel are scheduled to continue arriving today.
Meanwhile, set-up work across the desert circuit continues to pick up. They are set to be completed before tomorrow when BIC opens its doors and begins welcoming fans to the event.
Excitement has reached fever pitch for the start of racing at the Grand Prix weekend.
View this post on Instagram
Norris is one of those greatly looking forward to the action, as he hopes to repeat his success in Bahrain from past years.
“Bahrain is a track with good memories for me after my pole and win there in Formula 2 last year, and I’m excited to race under the lights for the first time!” said 19-year-old Norris.
The 34-year-old Kubica, who is a veteran of four Bahrain Grands Prix, commented: “I have good memories of Bahrain as I got my first and only pole position there in 2008 so I am looking forward to it. It can get very hot, so tyres will be an important topic to understand and how to best cope with them so let’s see how we go.”
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, a fan favourite in Bahrain, is also all set to get racing, especially as he hopes to bounce back from his disappointing DNF in Australia nearly a fortnight ago in the season-opener.
“I’ve had a bit of rest and recovery between these two race weekends, so I head to Bahrain feeling recharged,” said Ricciardo. “It’s a circuit I’ve always enjoyed racing at. There are some decent overtaking spots on a lap, and it will be interesting to see if there’s any difference in cars following each other there especially down the main straight.
“Hopefully we can be in amongst it this weekend, but first we need to ensure we’re quick in qualifying and be at the top end of the midfield.”
Also looking to improve on their results in Melboune are Ferrari, and Team Principal Mattia Binotto is confident they can do so. He commented: “In Bahrain, as a team, we will have to ensure that we have understood and rectified the areas where we were weak in Australia, which therefore meant we were unable to fully exploit our car’s potential. In Bahrain, we expect to see the effect of the corrections we have made, although we are well aware that our competitors will once again be very strong.”