The Sauber F1 Team secured their second two-car points finish in China last weekend, and head into the Bahrain Grand Prix with confidence. Felipe Nasr took a strong eighth in Shanghai with Marcus Ericsson tenth, and both drivers are hopeful of another strong performance this weekend at Sakhir.
Nasr will be participating in his first night race in Formula 1, but has previous experience of racing in the dark during his time in the GP2 Series in Abu Dhabi. He is hopeful of keeping the momentum from his strong weekend in China, although the warmer weather and more extreme tyre degradation will play a key part all weekend.
“For the Bahrain Grand Prix we expect much warmer weather conditions than in China,” said Nasr. “It is a track which I am familiar with, as I have raced there often. It can be positive for us that the circuit has a few straights due to our high top speed.
“In Bahrain there are three facts which are important for a good lap time: Braking stability, traction, as well as a good balance for the car in the high-speed corners in sector two. I also expect we need to work on good tyre management, because that can be very tricky in those warm conditions.
“Although it is a race that starts in the evening, the surface stays quite warm. It is not my first night race, as I did one in Abu Dhabi during my GP2 Series season. I am looking forward to it, and I hope we can keep the momentum from China.”
Team-mate Ericsson finished tenth last weekend for his second points score of the season, and is eager to get back to racing this weekend in Bahrain. He feels the Sauber C34-Ferrari package is competitive at present, and sees no reason why he cannot have another good weekend in Sakhir.
“I am looking forward to the first night race of the season,” insisted Ericsson. “It is always spectacular and good fun. Bahrain is a track I know very well from previous racing series, and I have been there quite often.
“The track has some long straights, slow-speed corners with hard braking zones, as well as high-speed corners with fast changes of direction. Overall the circuit is technical and driving-wise not an easy one.
“Another aspect which comes into play is the sand blowing onto the track. We need to keep an eye on that, as the circuit is usually quite dusty for the first sessions and then picks up more grip during the weekend.
“Especially with the strong package and after the good result in China, we need to build on that and continue to fight for points. I feel confident we will also be able to be competitive there. I am looking forward to another good race weekend.”