2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

Bahrain McLaren Honda Grand Prix 2017


“We’ll keep working hard, and we hope to improve in due course”

Bahrain International Circuit, Sunday 16 April

The Bahrain Grand Prix started in frustrating fashion for the McLaren-Honda team, when a water-pressure issue was detected in the #2 car of Stoffel Vandoorne on the way to the grid. The problem could not be fixed in time, and the team had no choice but to remove the car from the grid. Stoffel did not therefore start the race.

On the opposite side of the garage, Fernando made a good start – maintaining his starting position – and took full advantage of the Safety Car to pit on lap 13. By lap 19 he had battled his way up to 11th position. He enjoyed some exciting dices with the cars around him and was running in 12th position for the final third of the race. Two laps from the end, however, he reported that he felt something unusual from the cockpit, so the team elected to retire his car as a precaution following the reliability issues that have occurred throughout the weekend so far. The issue is now under investigation.


FERNANDO  ALONSO, McLaren-Honda Driver, MCL32-03

  Started  15th     
  Finished  DNF –  undiagnosed issue (54 laps)    
  Fastest lap  1m35.595s on lap 47 (+2.797s, 14th)    
  Pitstops Two: laps 13 (2.87s) and 36 (3.12s) [Option/Prime/Option]    

“It was a frustrating race. The deficit in power and performance we had on the straights today was amazing. Sometimes I looked in the mirrors at the beginning of the straights and saw the other cars 300, 400 metres behind, so I forgot completely about that car and started changing settings on the steering wheel and doing my own things, then the next thing I see when I come on the brakes is that car alongside me. We were running close to the points but that’s not enough. Today we never had the pace we had in Australia and China, and, in the end, we had a problem and we decided to retire the car.

“It’s frustrating. When the red lights go off you’re motivated and you start fighting, but you’re so behind on the straights that there’s no way you can defend your position. You fight in a fair way with everyone, but you don’t enjoy the battle.

“Everyone in the team has been working very hard over this weekend, day and night, and I’m sorry for Stoffel who has had so much bad luck all weekend and then didn’t even start today’s race.

“But we’ll keep working hard, and we hope to improve in due course.”


STOFFEL VANDOORNE, McLaren-Honda Driver, MCL32-01

  Started  17th     
  Finished  DNS - water pressure issue     
  Fastest lap  -    
  Pitstops -    

“It’s a real shame that we weren’t even able to start the race today. The team discovered a water-pressure issue on the way to the grid. It’s disappointing, obviously, that we come all the way here and can’t even start the race.

“We knew from the beginning of the season that the situation we were in was going to be difficult. I have an extremely good relationship with the team, I believe that we’ll get on top of these issues, and I’m confident that I can do a good job when everything comes together. We’re going through a hard time – it’s not fun for us to go through this – but this is what it is at the moment, and today shows that.

“It’s frustrating when you do all the preparation work, put in so much effort, we drivers train a lot to keep fit to be able to go racing, and then not being able to start is a shame. It’s been an extremely difficult weekend for me, having two failures on Friday in FP1 and FP2, and now in the race: it’s obviously very disappointing. But I’ll keep my head down, I’ll work hard with the team, and I’m sure there will be some improvements at some point. When they will be, it’s difficult to say, but I’m confident that they’ll come. We’ve lost quite a bit of mileage so it’s definitely not an ideal situation, and we need to make a good step forward soon. Hopefully we can show that at some point in the next few races.”



Bahrain Grand Prix track


Bahrain Grand Prix Handbook

Twilight nights

The Bahrain International Circuit is the Kingdom of Bahrain’s only racetrack. It was designed and built by Tilke GmbH in 2003 and it hosted the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix in April 2004. The race has been a regular fixture on the Formula 1 calendar since then, with the exception of 2011. 

The vibe around the Bahrain grand prix changed in 2014 when the floodlights went up and the start time moved to early evening, making the third grand prix of the 2017 calendar our first night race of the season 

The Bahrain International Circuit is surrounded by desert and frequently affected by strong winds which will hamper the balance of the car. Though an impressive track sweeper keeps the surface clear, dust in the atmosphere always concerns engineers, given its potential to increase wear on gearbox and engine internals. 

The 3.363-mile/5.412km track provides a complex technical challenge for the teams. Downforce levels in Sakhir are relatively similar to those at Albert Park, but the emphasis at the Bahrain International Circuit is very much on brakes and tyres. In terms of braking, BIC features several long straights heading into slow corners and thus will provide the season’s first real challenge for braking packages, with engineers keeping a close eye on both temperatures and wear levels. For tyres, the abrasive surface provides good grip but also high wear – a factor that has frequently influenced the outcome of the grand prix. The stop-start nature of the circuit doesn’t endear it to drivers but it’s delivered good races for spectators. 

Following Fernando Alonso’s track incident at the 2016 Australian GP, McLaren-Honda reserve driver for 2016, Stoffel Vandoorne made his Formula 1 debut at the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix. Stoff scored McLaren-Honda’s first world championship point of the 2016 season after a faultless drive to 10th place on his debut. 

Fernando is a three-time winner in Bahrain.

How McLaren defined five days in the history of the Bahrain GP

April 3 2005 

Kimi Raikkonen finishes third for McLaren, but it’s F1 returnee Pedro de la Rosa who attracts the most post-race plaudits. He’s drafted into the team at the 11th hour to replace the injured Juan Pablo Montoya and he drives a tenacious race to fifth, setting the fastest lap of the race.

March 12 2006

A mechanical problem in qualifying forces Kimi Raikkonen to start the race from last (22nd)place. Undeterred, he’s up to 13th by the end of lap one and he executes a perfect one-stop strategy to finish third. Juan Pablo Montoya ends a solid day for the team in fifth place.

April 8 2007
Another race, another podium for McLaren’s new superstar Lewis Hamilton. He starts and finishes the third race of his F1 career in second place, just behind pole sitter and race winner Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso brings the team’s second MP4-22 home in fifth place.

April 26 2009
The MP4-24 has some early-season grip issues, but that doesn’t stop Lewis. The reigning world champion uses the team’s new KERS Hybrid system to good effect, coming home in fourth place.

March 14 2010
Third place behind the Ferraris is a promising start to the year for Lewis, but he might have finished even higher had he not been held up by Nico Rosberg for the first half of the race. Jenson Button, driving his first race for McLaren, comes home seventh.




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