The Kingdom of Bahrain is all set to host the 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix from April 14-16
Bahrain is all set to host the round three of the 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix with much pomp and grandeur. However, one name missing from the grid will be 2016 champion, Mercedes racer Nico Rosberg. This dramatic change at Mercedes – where Rosberg’s place alongside three-time champion Lewis Hamilton has been taken by Finn Valtteri Bottas – is not the only thing different in Grand Prix racing this year.
This year, new car regulations have been introduced to make the cars look aesthetically pleasing. The most notable difference is the wider Pirelli tyres that will make cornering speeds significantly faster, and in theory, more spectacular to watch. It is said that they will also be much more physically demanding to drive, with drivers having to deal with higher forces. Most observers believe that, despite the new regulations, Hamilton and Mercedes will be the ones to beat. It will be fascinating to see how the highly rated Bottas will compare, and if he can push one of F1’s very best in the same machinery.
Mercedes has dominated Formula 1 in the past three seasons since the new hybrid power unit rules were enforced, with Hamilton taking the crown in 2014 and 2015. Rosberg clinched his first and the only world title at the final round of 2016 at Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, despite his Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, winning all four of the final races in a nail-biting finish. Rosberg was crowned the champion. It was his retirement news that broke out after two days of his win that shook many. With Rosberg (9) and Hamilton (10) winning 19 of the races, the closest challengers were the Red Bull Racing cars of Daniel Ricciardo and teen sensation Max Verstappen. The duo took one victory each, with Verstappen becoming the youngest winner in Formula 1 history.
Amazingly, as the cars line up, Verstappen won’t be the youngest driver in the field. That accolade goes to Canadian newcomer and reigning European Formula 3 champion, Lance Stroll. Stroll will team up with Felipe Massa at Williams, who himself was originally retiring after a 14-year F1 career in 2016. However, with Rosberg’s shocking retirement, Massa was tempted back to the British team, to maintain some continuity as Stroll finds his F1 feet. Massa is two time winner of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
What of Ferrari, one of the most famous and emotive names in racing? Despite having two world champions in Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, going into the new 2017 season, the red cars have not won since September 2015. Management and personnel changes should see more competitive showings from the fan favourites. Watch out for the 2017 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, with the wonderful new look and speed, which takes place on Sunday April 16.
By: Andy Hallbery