Formula 1 is finally back this weekend, as the 2022 season kicks-off at the Bahrain International Circuit for the Bahrain Grand Prix, where Alex Albon will be making his highly anticipated return to the championship.
After a year out of the sport, the Thai driver is back in the paddock but this time behind the wheel of Williams Racing’s FW44, for what will be his third season in Formula 1. Williams represents a fresh challenge for Albon, who will be keen for a good start to the season under the lights, perhaps even hoping to put pressure on Sergio Pérez’s seat at Oracle Red Bull Racing.
Incredibly with his drive for the season coming in the form of Williams, Albon will have started all three of his seasons in the sport, with a different team! Albon, who remains heavily connected to Red Bull, is very excited for the season to start after all the hours of work put in over the winter.
“I’m obviously very excited for the first race of the year and to be back racing. It will be the result of all the hard work over winter and everything we’ve learnt from six days of testing, so I’m looking forward to seeing that come together and pushing as much as we can. The track is tricky because, as we saw in testing, it’s very windy, sandy and hot which are tough conditions to contend with. It’s a good track for racing though, so it should be an exciting weekend for Formula One.”
“It’s been a long pre-season with a lot of effort” – Nicholas Latifi
Like his new team-mate, Nicholas Latifi is entering his third season in Formula 1, all of which have come at Williams. 2022 is a big season for the Canadian to take the lead at Williams, after being somewhat in George Russell’s shadow for the last two years, Albon however has just as much capability of becoming the lead driver at the team.
It’s important for Latifi to start the year well, however it’s fair to say that what will go down at the first round of the season is incredibly unpredictable, due to the new generation of F1 cars to hit the track this season. Just like Albon, Latifi is incredibly excited for the season to begin, and that the first round being a night race adds a special element to it.
“It goes without saying that I’m super excited for the first race of the year. It’s been a long pre-season with a lot of effort from everybody both trackside and in the factory at Grove to build us a car to go racing with, so I’m excited to see how we’ll do come lights-out on Sunday. We’ll be pushing for the best result possible.
“Bahrain International Circuit is an interesting circuit, and the fact that it’s a night race adds another unusual element to contend with. It’s tough from a tyre management perspective as the temperatures are high and track is very rough; we also have the added challenge of understanding how the 18-inch Pirellis cope with those conditions. It should make for a really exciting season opener!”