Across four days, every moment is accounted for and designed to maximise every single element that feeds into a Grand Prix – from the AMR21 and the drivers through to the hundreds of men and women supporting the race team from the garage, pitwall and back at base.
Bahrain is always a challenge. A highly abrasive track, it tests a team’s strategic nous and the drivers’ ability to perfectly balance raw pace with tyre management.
While there’s no cars on track on Thursday, it’s a hugely important day in pursuit of our goals. The track walk in night-time conditions helps drivers refamiliarise themselves with a circuit, note any changes, such as bumps or track wear, and hone the mind for the challenge ahead.
#IAMSTORIES: Bahrain Grand Prix
Go behind the scenes of Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team's opening race of the 2021 Formula One season.
It’s not just the drivers trying to find the sweet spot. The pitcrew are practicing pitstops time and time again. The race in the pitlane to ‘win’ the pitstop battle is intense and it’s a battle for milliseconds to gain an edge on track on Sunday.
In around two seconds, our team will raise the car on jacks, take four wheels off, add four new ones, potentially make quick changes such as a front wing tweak, and then send the driver straight back out.
Teams will practice this process more than 1,000 times a season, and Thursday’s a great time to practice in the pitlane before the track running begins on Friday, with the drivers also undergoing media commitments.
Sebastian versus Lance
Find out who comes out on top in the first episode of our new 'Lance vs Seb' series, exclusive to the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team channels...
Bahrain is a unique race on the calendar in the sense that two of the three hours of practice are unrepresentative as they take place in hot and daylight conditions, meaning the priority is maximising FP2 to find the right set-up and to understand the AMR21 over a longer stint.
FP1 and FP3 are no wastes of time though, offering the opportunity to prepare and learn more about the AMR21 for future Grands Prix, as well as taking in all the more data on the car.
As we demonstrated in the first of #IAMSTORIES series, last time out in Bahrain, all Formula One teams ran under a veil of secrecy, keeping their cards close to their chest. Come Saturday, it was time for everyone to show their hand for the first time in qualifying.
Emotions run high in the garage as the team watches the coverage and timing screens, while the highs and lows of qualifying play out – with Lance earning a round of applause for his last run in Q2 that earned him a place in Q3.
But there’s no time to dwell in Formula One and attention turns to race day. From the moment the covers are removed from the AMR21 in the morning, the anticipation builds.
And the eagle-eyed among you will notice a new touch on Sebastian’s AMR21: Honey Ryder. Inspired by the James Bond film ‘Dr. No’, and the character played by Ursula Andress in the 1962 film, Sebastian chose Honey Ryder as the name for his chassis.
As darkness falls on the Sunday, Formula One returns. An exciting race up and down the field, Lance played his part in a long-running duel with Fernando Alonso, overcoming Alpine’s undercut along the way, with our pitcrew and pitwall quickly reacting for Lance’s pitstop to give him the best chance of getting back in front of the Spaniard.
While the second stint on the hard tyre for both Lance and Sebastian was more challenging, Lance ensured the team scored Aston Martin’s first Formula One World Championship point.
In the blink of an eye, the Bahrain Grand Prix came to a close. We wanted more, but we’re already hard at work preparing for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, raring to come back stronger.
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