The FIA Formula 2 Championship will start its 2021 season at the desert venue of Sakhir, Bahrain this weekend. Trident Motorsport will be represented by Japanese Marino Sato and Dutchman Bent Viscaal. The goal for the Italian team will be to begin the championship with a convincing performance.
The FIA Formula 2 Championship is set to get the engines roaring once again this weekend for the opening round of a highly anticipated, challenging and exciting new season. The 2021 championship will start at the Bahrain International Circuit, one of the most popular venues for the F2 competition. The series held two rounds at the desert circuit at the end of 2020, between late November and early December, and pre-season testing also went underway in Bahrain from March 8th to the 10th, 2021. Trident Motorsport will line-up at the track near the Capital city of Manama with a new driver combination compared to four months ago. The Italian team maintained 21-year-old Japanese driver Marino Sato, who made a consistent progression throughout 2020. He will be partnered by Dutchman Bent Viscaal, moving up from the FIA Formula 3 Championship after taking one win and two podiums last year. Just as the teammate Sato did, Viscaal left a strong impression in the pre-season tests, scoring the second fastest lap overall. Now that there will be points up for grabs, the competition is expected to become even more fierce.
Trident Motorsport and its drivers will have to quickly adapt to the new event format of the series, with two Sprint Races and one Feature Race, expected to result in a new and tighter pace throughout the weekend. Another variable will come from the new tyre compounds (hard and soft) brought by Pirelli. As a result, it will be extremely important to define the strategy and maximize the overall results at the end of the three races. Every car will have six sets of slick tyres available, one more compared to last season.
In its Grand Prix layout, the Sakhir venue measures 5.412 kilometres. The circuit runs clockwise, and the right-side tyres are subject to more stress due to the conformation of the track. In terms of the race distance, the Feature Race will be 32-laps long, while the Sprint Races will be held over a 23-lap duration.
The challenging variables of Sakhir are well-known by the F2 competitors, including the temperature variations, amplified by the fact that racing will go underway both during the day and at sunset. In addition, the strong winds and the sand that often settles on the racing line will be a complicated factor to take into consideration. Last but not least, the abrasive track surface will increase the thermal degradation of the tyres.
Giacomo Ricci, Team Manager:
“The 2021 FIA Formula 2 Championship is finally starting! The schedule for this year includes eight rounds, featuring three races each. We will need to understand the new format, and set-up a strategy to maximize the results over the three races. Our drivers and technical staff are thoroughly prepared for the upcoming season. We aim to start the championship with a convincing performance, and I think we have the potential to perform well!".
The FIA Formula 2 Championship cars will fire-up for the first time on Friday at 13:05 for practice. Qualifying will follow later the same day at 16:30. The Sprint Races will take place on Saturday at 13:25 and 19:40 respectively, while the feature race is scheduled for Sunday at 13:50. The whole track activity will be covered live by the Sky Sports network. Times are local, two hours in advance of the Central European Time (CET).