Bahrain GP Preview 2024
Published:
February 29, 2024

All eyes are on the site of last week's three-day test, the Bahrain International Circuit, for Saturday's 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix. Ramadan has advanced the first two rounds' race day from Sunday to Saturday, but that just means the season is even closer than usual!

What to Watch Out for in the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix

There are no driver switches or teams to keep an eye on, but all 10 constructors will hope their new car for the season continues the trend of closing the gap between the top and bottom. Last year saw all 20 cars setting laps within a second of each other in some Q1 sessions and the tighest grid in the sport's history.

Nonetheless, Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing were the class of the field. Fresh off a commanding performance in pre-season testing, they look poised to continue their dominance atop the sport. Their single-lap pace was notably faster on the first day, and speculation from GPS data suggests the Milton Keynes squad weren't even running at full force.

The battle behind him is where the intrigue intensifies as Ferrari, Mercedes, and McLaren have all shown somewhat promising pace. As ever, the competitive order remains a veiled mystery, though. The Bahrain GP serves as the litmus test, with qualifying offering the first clear indicator of where each driver stands.

Although there are no new teams, especially with F1's rejection of Andretti Autosport's bid to enter the sport, some new names and colours will appear on the grid. Alfa Romeo's naming rights for Sauber are over, and the Swiss team will be racing in green and black under the "Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber" moniker. AlphaTauri is now the Visa Cash App RB Formula 1 Team and returns to their blue, red, and white Toro Rosso colour roots.

Bahrain GP Preview 2024

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix Pirelli Tyre Choices

Pirelli also returns as the sport's sole tyre supplier, an honour they've had since 2011, and will bring the C1, C2, and C3 compounds for the season opener. This selection spans the harder end of Pirelli's tyre range to counter Bahrain's track surface and the higher degradation rates under the desert sky.

Although the Italian tyre manufacturer has the same chemical compounds for 2024, aside from the lesser-used C0 compound, the teams still need to familiarise themselves with the rubber with their new cars. Three days of testing at the same circuit will have helped, but the combination of familiar tyres and a new machine is something all 10 constructors will hope to understand as early in the season as possible.

Who Could Win the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix?

While Verstappen is the clear frontrunner, having demonstrated formidable speed and consistency in testing, the Dutchman only has one Bahrain GP victory: last year's success. 2025 Ferrari teammates Hamilton and Charles Leclerc are the previous winners in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and each will hope to be closer to Verstappen than they were in 2023.

The pecking order will only reveal itself as the weekend progresses, particularly during the all-important Q3 part of Qualifying. Perhaps Sergio Perez can be closer to his triple-champion teammate than usual, or we might see another Aston Martin-like surprise advance from the midfield. It's mostly guesswork right now, but that's always the beauty of F1's opening round.

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Bahrain GP Preview 2024

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix U.K. Start Time

The Bahrain Grand Prix will have a Saturday slot for the first time in its history, and the season will get underway in the early afternoon for U.K. audiences, with a 3 PM race.

2024 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix Sky Sports Live Coverage

Qualifying – On air: 3 PM, Session start: 4 PM Saturday 1st March

Race – On air: 1:30 PM, Session start: 3 PM Sunday 2nd March

2024 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix Channel 4 Coverage

Qualifying – Highlights: 7:30 PM Saturday 1st March

Race – Highlights: 7:50 PM Sunday 2nd March

2024 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix Weather Forecast

Qualifying/Race – Expect a cooler weekend than 2023, but still with Middle Eastern warmth. Highs of 23°C during the day will drop to around 20°C for the session start times, and there's virtually no threat of rain, typical for Bahrain this time of year.

Bahrain GP Preview 2024
Bahrain GP Preview 2024