Williams denies Bahrain advantage

Williams denies Bahrain advantage

Williams test driver Marc Gené was the first, and so far only, man to drive a Formula One car around the Bahrain circuit but Williams denies it will give the team an advantage at the next Grand Prix. Boss Frank Williams said in Malaysia that...

Williams test driver Marc Gen? was the first, and so far only, man to drive a Formula One car around the Bahrain circuit but Williams denies it will give the team an advantage at the next Grand Prix. Boss Frank Williams said in Malaysia that Bernie Ecclestone's idea was to offer each team a chance to drive a new circuit as they were added to the calendar.

Jean Alesi with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
Photo by DaimlerChrysler.

McLaren's Ron Dennis admitted his team had been offered the chance to drive the Bahrain track with its F1 car but had decided against it due to other commitments. However, former F1 driver Jean Alesi, who now drives for Mercedes in the German Touring Car series, took the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren for a spin in Bahrain.

Ferrari team principal Jean Todt declined to discuss the situation but thinks the Scuderia would have been criticized if they had been offered the chance to pre-drive a new circuit: "Imagine what our competitors would have said if we'd done the same," he pointed out.

Williams technical director Patrick Head refutes that a couple of dozen previous laps of Bahrain will make any significant difference during the race weekend. "Our test driver Marc Gen? drove the car and even though there was a lot of grit blowing around, the grip levels on the track were not too bad," he told The Guardian.

"We did just 25 laps, which will probably help us for the first half an hour of the first practice session in Bahrain, but the other teams will soon catch up once they start running."

One unpredictable aspect of Bahrain is the possibility of sand blowing onto the circuit and making life difficult. Race organizers are hoping to avoid the situation by spraying a powerful adhesive around the side of the track to try and keep the sand at bay. "It should be fine as long as there is not a sand storm, in which case conditions could be very difficult," Head commented.

Gen? drove the Williams FW25 at Bahrain's opening ceremony last week and praised the Herman Tilke designed circuit. "It's a world-class track, I really enjoyed driving on it," he said. "It's going to be a challenging Grand Prix here and we just might see one of the best Formula One races ever."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jean Alesi , Patrick Head , Frank Williams , Hermann Tilke , Jean Todt , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams