F1 Extra Session – Episode 6: Baku

F1 Extra Session is your favorite Formula One podcast. Daphne Seberich, Sebastian Becerra, and Zoé Guimard bring you post-race analysis and discuss other major stories surrounding the sport. We are Formula One fans just like you. As F1 journalists we also provide a unique perspective to what’s happening in the world of F1.

Sergio “Checo” Perez was the surprise winner at Baku after Max Verstappen had tire failure and Lewis Hamilton locked his tires after being too aggresive on the ensuing standstill restart. Perez gets his second win of his career that sees Red Bull open a 26 point gap on Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly rounded out the podium with near-perfect races. Disastrous day for Mercedes as Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton finish P12 and P15. In Off-track chit chat Red Bull is clashing with Mercedes about their wing flexion which Horner and company believe breaks FIA rules. Definitely something to keep an eye on as the circus travels to France in two weeks time.

Don’t miss F1 Extra Session every Monday after the race!

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F1 Extra Session – Episode 4: Barcelona

F1 Extra Session is your favorite Formula One podcast. Daphne Seberich, Sebastian Becerra, and Zoé Guimard bring you post-race analysis and discuss other major stories surrounding the sport. We are Formula One fans just like you. As F1 journalists we also provide a unique perspective to what’s happening in the world of F1.

This week’s episode is a full-depth analysis about what went down during the exciting race on the Circuit the Catalunya in Barcelona (Montmeló). Lewis Hamilton won his 98th career race after passing Max Verstappen late. The battle of the midfield is going to be exciting this year with only 5 points separating McLaren and Ferrari. We’ll cover some on the grid mishaps, some chaos in the cockpit and we’ll finish it off with some off-track chit-chat about Romain Grosjean’s comeback during the French GP with Mercedes and the possibility of not seeing the Spanish GP in the next years in Barcelona.

Don’t miss F1 Extra Session every Monday after the race!

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Three big reasons why you should keep up with Formula One now more than ever

The 2021 Formula One season in a nutshell

Photo credits: ESPN & Solo Auto

By Daphne Seberich

It has been seven years of Mercedes dominance in the world of F1. Lewis Hamilton has matched Michael Schumacher for the most Driver’s Championships in F1’s history. The Silver Arrows have annihilated their competition for seven years in a row. Fans want to see a change. The 2021 season might just offer that. 

Red Bull and Max Verstappen are for the first time in title contention. Never since the V6-turbo-hybrid era there had been such a tight race for any championship between two different teams. Mercedes had an internal fight in 2016 when teammates and old best friends Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have fiercely battled for the title. The German came out on top in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi but decided swiftly after his incredible achievement to end his career on a high. Besides that, the fans were lacking the outstanding fights they were used to see in the 2000s.

Photo credits: Automoto.it

There are many reasons to watch Formula One: 

  • The avant-garde engineering developed and introduced for future consumer cars,
  • The exciting race weekends where 20 drivers risk their lives every time they climb into their cockpits and 
  • The beyond belief show F1 provides at different tracks around the world. 

I reckon this season might become the most exciting one to watch of the last decade. Why? There are three main reasons why you should keep up with Formula One now more than ever.  

  1. The rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen 
Photo credits: Ricardo Costa via Bēhance

No one ever thought someone could match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven driver’s championships. Lewis Hamilton managed to do just that. Not only has he outclassed many of the records set by the German (most pole positions, most GP wins, etc.), he has also got a strong chance to become the most successful driver in Formula One history.

There is only one driver capable of ruining Hamilton’s celebrations. His name is Max Verstappen. The Flying Dutchman is one of, if not the most talented driver on the grid. Red Bull has finally caught up with Mercedes, which have lost the advantage they gained during the 2020 season thanks to their Dual-Axis-System (DAS). It was banned from 2021 onwards. The Red Bull-Max Verstappen pairing this season could bring the Mercedes domination era to an end.

Photo credits: s c m h via Bēhance

During the Bahrain pre-season testing, Mercedes was in no man’s land. Their cars looked tricky to handle and the rear-end seemed to be very nervous. Meanwhile, Red Bull was crushing it on track, setting fastest laps and conquering all of the sessions ahead of the race. Track limits at the first race of the season punished Verstappen, who had to hand over the win to Hamilton, but it was clear that the seven-time world champion would not have it as easy as in the past four years to clinch his eighth title.

Lewis Hamilton has never had a real challenger at the top since 2016. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas lacks the consistency to give a real fight for the title. Even though the Silver Arrows driver have had the most dominant car in the past four years, at no time we have seen a fight for the championship between the two.

The two title contenders for 2021, on the other hand, have spiced up the competition and dramatically changed the outlook of how the season would turn out for fans at home. People truly believe there can be a change at the top. This idea has rekindled the passion and interest for Formula One, and it is one of the main reasons why people should tune in on race weekends. Beating the reigning world champion is never an easy task, but if anyone could do it, it’s Max Verstappen. History can be made in 2021.

Photo credits: DAZN
  1. The season before the revolution

The 2021 season should have seen the FIA introducing completely renewed regulations to tackle some of the many issues of F1 racing in current times. Unfortunately, the current state the world is in has pushed back the implementation of these new rules to 2022, making the current season a transitioning one. 

Some teams have completely stopped the development of the current generation of cars (ex. Haas F1 team). Others will stop further along the season to concentrate time and resources on perfecting the new principles of racing. 

After many years of not seeing any major changes to the regulations, the playing field has leveled itself, creating more exciting and unpredictable racing. The new regulations were consolidated to bring exactly that: fairer and more thrilling competition. Could there be, although, a chance of restarting the vicious cycle of dominance F1 has been known for when the new 2022 regulations will be introduced?

Photo credits: F1

Mercedes have had the upper hand since 2014 due to the introduction of the new hybrid V6 engine technology that is still currently used in F1 cars today. The Silver Arrows engineers have created a masterpiece power-unit, which was miles ahead of the competition. Its power and speed was beyond anyone else’s. 

Ferrari even ‘bent’ the regulations to try to regain their competitiveness in the sport. They were involved in the Fuel-Flow Gate before the start of the 2020 season, with the FIA and the Scuderia signing a secret agreement to keep accusations of cheating the previous year at bay. The prancing horse was strongly penalized by this accordance and suffered from their worst season in Ferrari’s history since 1980, closing off the constructors’ championship in sixth. 

Photo credits: Charles Coates for Getty Images

This season, Mercedes seems not to be the fastest car on track, as Red Bull and other manufacturers have caught up on the technological advances found on the Silver Arrows’ car. All teams have had enough time to perfect their challengers while still conforming to the regulations, managing to level the playing field and creating more competitiveness in the sport. What could happen with the introduction of the 2022 regulations?

The possibility of another dominance era after 2021 is very likely, although it is not sure it will be Mercedes again at the top. In F1’s history we have seen many times a dominating car at the top after a regulation change (ex. Mercedes in 2014, Ferrari in 2000). As the new generation of cars will be in front of us sooner than we think, do we want to see another seven years of nine constructors playing catch-up with one team at the top? Let’s enjoy the fierce battles Verstappen and Hamilton are offering us while we can. 

  1. This current generation of F1 cars will stay the fastest we will see for some years
Photo credits: Autobild

With the introduction of the 2022 regulations, F1 will switch from an intricate aerodynamic approach of bargeboards and complicated front wings to a more accessible and simple ground-effect principle for future cars. 

F1 has struggled with the concept of ‘dirty air’ for many years now, claiming it to be the cause for the lack of close and exciting racing in the past couple of years. Therefore, the introduction of ground-effect powered challengers should reduce turbulences present due to the current aerodynamic approach to only ten percent. 

While this seems like good news, the ‘simplified’ Formula One car will be heavier, less aerodynamically advanced and therefore slower. Engineers will have to figure out the grey areas of the regulations to try to gain a significant boost of performance, but that takes time. That is why we won’t see drivers breaking the fastest lap records for some years. 

Photo credits: F1

2021 will make it into the history books as one of the most exciting title race seasons in the last decade. The fastest cars in the world will battle it out until the last race, with either the current Mercedes era becoming the most successful one in F1’s history or the seven-year domination coming to an end. One thing is for sure: this season is the one you do not want to miss. 

F1 Extra Session – Episode 3: Portimão

F1 Extra Session is your favorite Formula One podcast. Daphne Seberich, Sebastian Becerra, and Zoé Guimard bring you post-race analysis and discuss other major stories surrounding the sport. We are Formula One fans just like you. As F1 journalists we also provide a unique perspective to what’s happening in the world of F1.

This week’s episode is a full-depth analysis about what went down during the exciting race on the rollercoaster track of Portimão. Lewis Hamilton won his 97th Grand Prix in commanding fashion, whereas his teammate Bottas had to be content with the fastest lap point that is one of the controversial topics we’ll cover in this episode. Alpine was the surprise of the day with Ocon and Alonso both in the points. We’ll cover some on the grid mishaps, some chaos in the cockpit and we’ll finish it off with some off-track chit-chat about the newest introduction to the F1 calendar and race system: The Sprint Races on Saturday!

Don’t miss F1 Extra Session every Monday after the race!

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F1 Extra Session – Episode 2: Imola

F1 Extra Session is your favorite Formula One podcast. Daphne Seberich, Sebastian Becerra, and Zoé Guimard bring you post-race analysis and discuss other major stories surrounding the sport. We are Formula One fans just like you. As F1 journalists we also provide a unique perspective to what’s happening in the world of F1. 

This week’s episode is a full-depth analysis about what went down during the exciting wet race at Imola. Verstappen, Hamilton, and Norris all had good days on the podium. There was drama with the crash between Russell and Bottas. We’ll cover some on the grid mishaps, some chaos in the cockpit and we’ll finish it off with some off-track chit-chat about what the drivers post on social media during their off-weeks.

Don’t miss F1 Extra Session every Monday after the race!

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Ein Red Bull-Rückblick aus dem Nahen Osten

Die neue Formel 1 Saison ist heiß unterwegs. Doch wie gut schlugen sich Max Verstappen und Red Bull im Vergleich zu den Titanen Mercedes und Lewis Hamilton bei den Veranstaltungen im Nahen Osten? Der Kampf um den Weltmeister-Titel in der Mercedes-Ära scheint knapper als je zuvor zu sein.

Fotorechte: F1-Insider.com und Giuseppe Cacace für AP

Von Daphne Seberich

Das Talent von Formel 1-Superstar Max Verstappen ist allen bekannt. Der Red Bull Fahrer, der im sehr jungen Alter schon zum siebten Mal bei der bekanntesten Motorsport-Weltmeisterschaft teilnimmt, scheint jedoch vor der 2021 F1 Saison in seiner bester Form zu sein.  

Videorechte: Formula One und Liberty Media – Editing: Daphne Seberich

Spektakulärer Vorsaison-Start für Max Verstappen’s siebten Formel 1-Karrierebeginn

Noch nie zuvor gelang es dem junge Formel 1-Star Verstappen die Vorsaison-Testtage zu meistern. Ihm gehört die diesjährige Bestzeit. Dank der Bahrain-Tests, die dieses Jahr im Nahen Osten anstatt des üblichen Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spanien stattfanden, konnte man feststellen, dass Red Bull als Favorit für den 2021 Konstrukteuren-Titelsieg gelten würde.

In der Pressekonferenz am 14. März, genaue zwei Wochen vor dem Saisonstart, äußerte sich Max Verstappen über sein Feeling mit seinem Formel-1-Wagen: „Ich hatte ein positives Gefühl im Auto, aber wir werden am ersten Rennwochenende im Q3 herausfinden, wo wir stehen. Dort können wir unsere Leistung beurteilen.“  

Zur Leistung des Teams ergänzte der 23-jährige Holländer, dass man trotz guter Ergebnisse die Weiterentwicklung des Rennautos nicht vorzeitig beenden kann. „Es waren bisher ein paar gute Tage, aber das heißt nicht, dass wir zufrieden sind. Wir wollen uns immer verbessern und versuchen, unsere Leistung zu steigern“, meinte Verstappen.  

Fotorechte: Getty Images

Keine Chance für Hamilton 

Der erste Einblick auf die Lage des Österreichischen Teams bei dem ersten Rennen in  Bahrain war letztendlich sehr positiv. Max Verstappen war bei den drei freien Trainings am Freitag und Samstag nicht zu toppen. Lewis Hamilton konnte sich kaum den Bestzeiten des Red Bull Fahrers annähern. Über 0.7 Sekunden fuhr der junge Formel 1 Veteran schneller als der derzeitige Weltmeister am Samstag vor dem Qualifying. 

Als es soweit kam, die Startpositionen für den Sonntag zu entscheiden, ließ sich das perfekte Duo Verstappen-Red Bull nicht einschüchtern. Es war offenbar, dass das Österreichische Team die beste Chance hatte, die erste Pole Position des Jahres zu ergattern.

Im Q3 hielt jeder Zuschauer den Atem an. Der Kampf um die erste Pole-Position der Saison zwischen Hamilton und dem Red Bull-Fahrer begeisterte die Fans rund um die Welt. Endlich gab es wieder einen harten Konkurrenzkampf, der sich nicht nur zwischen den zwei Mercedes-Fahrern abspielte. Mit einer Bestzeit von 1:28.997 erzielte Max Verstappen die ideale Startpostition für das Rennen.

„Es ist immer schwierig, sich etwas zu erwarten. Das ganze Wochenende lief es wirklich gut. Das Auto was sehr gut balanciert. Ich bin natürlich sehr froh, die erste Pole-Position des Jahres erworben zu haben“, teilte Verstappen nach dem Qualifying dem F1 Journalisten Lawrence Barretto mit.  

Fotorechte: Screen Lately

Lewis Hamilton und Mercedes zu besiegen ist kein Spaziergang

Als es soweit war, sich in Bahrain als Sieger durchzusetzen, hatten es Red Bull und Max Verstappen doch schwerer als erwartet. In der vierzehnten Runde der geplanten 56 vollbrachten Mercedes und Lewis Hamilton den entscheidenden Pit-Stop. Der frühe Reifenwechsel war Teil der “Undercut-Strategie”, die besonders in Bahrain sehr viel Einfluss auf das Endergebnis des Rennens hat. Somit übernahm Lewis Hamilton die Führung. Das Rennen war aber noch lange nicht vorüber. Verstappen bestand darauf, sich die Leaderposition wieder zu erkämpfen.

Max Verstappen sah in der einundfünfzigsten Runde seine Überholmöglichkeit. Als Lewis Hamilton vor Kurve 10 seine Reifen blockierte und somit nicht die perfekte Rennlinie fahren konnte, näherte sich Max Verstappen drohend dem Briten.

In der dreiundfünfzigsten Runde war es endlich soweit: Verstappen gelang es, Hamilton über der aüßeren Rennlinie zu überholen. Doch die von dem Holländer überschrittenen Renngrenzen erlaubten dem Fahrer nicht, die Führung bis zum Ende des Großen Preises zu bewahren. Somit ergatterte Hamilton den 96. Karrieresieg.  

Fotorechte: Diario AS

Diese unklaren Regeln sorgten jedoch für Aufruhr im Paddock. Vor dem Rennen war es nicht allen Teilnehmenden bewusst, ob bei Kurve vier tatsächlich dieselben Regeln als im Qualifying gelten würden. Sergio Perez wurde nämlich im Q2 die Zeit gestrichen, da er eine zu weite Rennlinie über den Randstein der Serpentine nahm. Selbst Lewis Hamilton hielt mehrmals die Grenzen nicht ein, doch bestraft wurde er von der Rennverwaltung FIA nie.  

„Natürlich bin ich enttäuscht, aber letztes Jahr wären wir mit einem Rennen wie diesem super glücklich gewesen“, richtete der Zweitplatzierte des 2021 Großen Preis von Bahrain an F1TV aus. „Es zeigt auch, wie sehr wir uns entwickelt haben und ich denke, dass es trotzdem ein positiver Saisonstart war.“ 

Seit sieben Jahren gelingt es Red Bull nicht, die deutschen Rivalen um die Konstrukteursweltmeisterschaft zu schlagen. Doch dieses Jahr steht zum ersten Mal nach 2014 die Chance, Lewis Hamilton und Mercedes zu übertrumpfen. Kann Max Verstappen das Taboo brechen?

Bahrain GP – Ein dreiminütiger Rückblick

Man sah Max Verstappen als Favorit für den Sieg. Doch selten läuft es wie geplant. Was geschah während des ersten Rennens in Bahrain?

Videorechte: Formula One und Liberty Media

F1 Extra Session – Episode 1: Bahrain

F1 Extra Session is your favorite Formula One podcast. Daphne Seberich, Sebastian Becerra, and Zoé Guimard bring you post-race analysis and discuss other major stories surrounding the sport. We are Formula One fans just like you. As F1 journalists we also provide a unique perspective to what’s happening in the world of F1. 

This week’s episode is a full-depth analysis about what went down in the season-opening race in Bahrain. We’ll cover some on the grid mishaps, some chaos in the cockpit and we’ll finish it off with some off-track chit-chat discussing David Coulthard’s 50th birthday and what Romain Grosjean is doing after last years’ Bahrain incident!

Don’t miss F1 Extra Session every Monday after the race!

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In the Spotlight: Max Verstappen

A series of F1 drivers’ profiles

By Daphne Seberich

They call him “mad” and he goes to the “max”: Max Verstappen is one of the drivers of the future generation of champions. 

Photo credits: Pinterest

Notorious for being the youngest driver to compete, score points and win in Formula One, “Mad Max” quickly moved up the ranks of the team backing him up since 2014, Red Bull Racing

Racing runs in his blood. His father, Jos Verstappen, is a former F1 driver, known for the incident in the pit lane where he took on fire when refueling was still allowed in the circus. His mother, Sophie Kumpen, was a successful karting racer.

Being the son of a famous racing driver subsequently put him under pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps. Nevertheless, the superb Dutch driver, endowed with such rare and raw talent, climbed the latter of karting competitions, where every F1 racer starts off their careers.

Photo credits: AS.com

The success he had in the younger categories opened the doors to international competitions in 2010, his most notorious win being scored in France at the 2013 World KZ championships at the age of 15. 

One year after, Verstappen joined the Red Bull Junior Program, which supported him throughout his path to F1. A short-lived progression to the younger Formula categories, the Dutch made it from F3 to F1 at only 17 years old. 

Photo credits: Essentially Sports

Arriving as Formula 1’s youngest ever competitor at 17, Verstappen pushed his car, his rivals and the sport’s record books to the limit. The Dutchman with the heart of a lion took the Toro Rosso – and then the Red Bull – by the horns with his instinctive racing style. 

F1’s youngest points scorer soon became its youngest race winner. At the age of 18 years and 228 days, with an opportunistic but controlled drive on debut for Red Bull in Barcelona 2016, Verstappen made it into the history of the sport. He is a true wheel-to-wheel racer and known for racing to the limit of his car and abilities. 

Video rights: F1 & Liberty Media

Verstappen’s attitude and hard defending have sometimes stirred controversies with his colleagues and superiors. But the mistakes that initially disfigured his potential have given way to maturity, while the boldness and energy that make him a one-of-a-kind talent have remained. The victories have kept on coming.

At the age of 23, “Mad Max” has already ten victories under his belt, his most recent being the final race of the 2020 season in Abu Dhabi under the lights. He has stood 42 times on the podium since replacing mid-season the “Torpedo” Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull in 2016. An impressive number, considering that his percentage of podiums and race starts is 35.29%, meaning that approximately in one out of three races he competes in, he scores a top-three result.

Max Verstappen’s prospects are bright. The youngster, who’s only missing a Driver’s Championship in his array of achievements, has still a long career ahead of him in the sport. After the pre-season testing sessions in Bahrain, he also seems a favorite with Lewis Hamilton to win the 2021 Formula One title. He has got the right car and one of the top teams backing him. Can he make it into F1’s history as a champion?

Photo credits: Pinterest

The anticipation before “lights out”

Pre-season testing came to an end on Sunday and the teams had the chance to see where they stand in terms of performance ahead of the first race of the 2021 F1 campaign in Bahrain. 

Photo credits: Getty Images / Video credits: F1 & Liberty Media

By Daphne Seberich

Only two weeks separate us from the first race of the year. As the pre-season testing in Bahrain wrapped up on Sunday, teams have a much clearer picture of where they stand in terms of pace. What exactly can we expect on the first day back racing? Pre-season testing doesn’t tell the whole story, but it seems like the battle to the top won’t be as predictable as it was the last seven years. 

Red Bull’s RB16B proved to be a real contender this time. Although Max Verstappen seemed to struggle with the stability of the car on day one of testing (a known issue of the past RB challengers), he topped the standings on Sunday, setting the fastest lap of all sessions combined. This result counts as his best ever pre-season testing outcome and certainly brings a boost of confidence coming into the first race of the year.

The new addition to the team, Checo Perez stunned everybody as well. His ability to adapt so quickly to a new machine impressed everyone in Bahrain and at home. The gamble Helmut Marko took in December by signing the Mexican speedster seemed to pay off for Red Bull.  

Video rights: F1 & Liberty Media

“The vibe inside of the team is one of excitement,” says Lawrence Barretto, senior writer at Formula1.com. “Their Honda power-unit looks to be in great shape too, with promising signs of a good step in terms of performance.”

They have the right lineup and a good car. Is this the year of Red Bull bringing the Mercedes’ era to an end?

On the other hand, the Silver Arrows haven’t had the best pre-season testing sessions, as most were characterized by reliability issues. Valtteri Bottas had to sit out the Friday morning practice; his W12 suffered from gearbox difficulties. Lewis Hamilton’s challenger seemed untamable, as he spun on Saturday and Sunday’s sessions. A never-before-seen characteristic of the Mercedes car, known for its maneuverability and handling on all sections of every track they competed at.

Video rights: F1 & Liberty Media

The W12 on soft tires seemed to be 0.56s behind the fastest time set by their Austrian rivals on a flying lap. The German team has its work cut-off in the next two weeks ahead of the first race in Bahrain. Even Lewis Hamilton admitted that the Silver Arrows challenger is “just not quick enough”, anticipating a “great battle” between Verstappen and Perez in the 23-race campaign. 

Graphic credits: Formula 1

Nevertheless, Valtteri Bottas seems confident in his crew and his W12: “I absolutely believe the car and the team, it has the potential [to take the title]. I don’t think it’s yet there as a package in terms of performance, but I’ve no doubt that we will work hard to find it somehow.”

Mercedes is notorious for “sandbagging”, meaning that they like to hide their actual performance ahead of the first race of the season. Is this the case this year as well?

Photo credits: Clive Mason for Getty Images

Finishing off on a good note, the third top-team Ferrari saw some progress between the SF1000 and their new SF21. The Prancing Horse ended their 2020 F1 campaign in sixth place. Their worst result in Formula 1 since 1980.  

This season, the music — or better — the engine noise seems to be different, as the Scuderia based in Maranello debuts a completely new power-unit after their 2020 engine fiasco. Team Principal Mattia Binotto said the team’s straight-line speed is “not anymore a disadvantage,” with the data collected on the track backing up the dyno results encountered back at their facility in Italy. 

Photo credits: Motor.es

Over the winter, Ferrari admitted of having “massively improved” their power-unit, which was at the top of the pyramid of reasons why Ferrari had such a terrible season in 2020.

After the FIA decided to investigate the Prancing Horse’s 2019 challengers amid  allegations of Ferrari breaching the fuel-flow regulations, the two parties reached an agreement, which still hasn’t been made public to this day. But as testing began in Barcelona and the SF1000 lacked in pace, it was clear to everyone that the Italian team had a massive setback in terms of performance compared to the previous year. 

Photo credits: Getty Images

Everyone at Ferrari wants to put the 2020 F1 season behind their backs, especially the Monegasque star driver Charles Leclerc, whose 2020 campaign was sub-par to his 2019 breakthrough season. With Carlos Sainz now in the second seat of the SF21, the Scuderia has a much brighter future ahead. The Spaniard managed to put the red, green and burgundy car up in third in the classification on Sunday, 0.651s off the pace on Pirelli’s C4 compound (the second softest of the range).

The excitement towards the new F1 2021 season is through the roof, with the Silver Arrows set to battle it out with Red Bull for the title. Will Lewis Hamilton become the most successful F1 driver ever with eight Driver’s Championships? Does Red Bull actually have a chance to end the Mercedes domination? Ferrari is set to make a comeback, but will they be able to win some races again? All these questions will be answered in Bahrain on the weekend of March 26th-28th when we’ll finally hear the engines roar and Martin Brundle say: “Lights out and away we go!”.

Photo credits: Musco Sports Lighting