Formula 1 drivers preparing to compete in the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 6 participated in a press conference sponsored by the FIA on Thursday, April 3 at Sakhir's Bahrain International Circuit. According to Formula 1, Jenson Button will be racing his 250th Grand Prix on Sunday and was asked his thoughts about reaching this milestone. Formula 1 also reports quotes from other drivers looking forward to the third contest in the 2014 season. The TV schedule for Americans wishing to watch the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix appears below the quotes.
McLaren driver Jenson Button is now racing in his 15th year in the sport. When asked about his 250th Grand Prix coming up and lessons he's learned, he commented:
"I’ve learned a lot along the way, as you can imagine, racing for 14 years in Formula One. The thing that surprises me is how quickly it goes by. Fifty races ago I was in Hungary, celebrating my 200th Grand Prix, which I won by the way! So, it’s amazing how time flies. You really do have to enjoy every moment of it as much as you can. For me, being 14 years in the sport, I still feel like I have more to learn. I’m definitely not the perfect driver yet, and I never will be, but there is always still more to learn. That’s something, for me, that’s exciting about the sport. New regulations obviously are changing the sport quite a lot, especially with these new regulations, and again, you always have more to learn. For me that’s what keeps the sport exciting and that’s what has kept me on my toes for the last 14 years and hopefully for many more."
Later in the year, according to Formula 1, Button, who is the 2009 F1 world champion, will become the third most experienced Grand Prix driver of all time. Brazilian Rubens Barrichello holds the record for the most starts; Germany's Michael Schumacher the second.
"I'm a Duracell Bunny," Button joked, according to the Telegraph.
Career milestones duly noted, attention turned to the current season. Button's team-mate, rookie Kevin Magnussen, has been impressing observers and fans so far this season, not least of which by placing on the podium in the Australian Grand Prix, his first Formula 1 race. About Bahrain, he mentioned that it will be his first experience returning to a track where he has driven a F1 car before, even though it was just in testing:
"It’ll be a good experience to go racing at a circuit on which I’ve already driven a Formula One car - a first for me in fact because I already have four days’ running under my belt from the recent winter tests. While that doesn’t really make a massive difference, because you can learn a circuit relatively quickly, assisted by simulator experience, it does mean you can go straight into Friday’s practice sessions on the front foot. You don’t need to familiarise yourself with the track first."
Season leader so far in the drivers' championship, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg had this to say about his prospects coming up in Bahrain:
"The first two races have been a great start to my season and I’m already looking forward to being back in the car and carrying on that momentum in Bahrain. It’s a great track and I really enjoy driving it. I’ve never had much luck on race weekends here, but it’s definitely the one I’m best prepared for this year."
Lewis Hamilton, Rosberg's team-mate at Mercedes -- the team is the current constructors' championship leader -- won the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend and is also looking forward to keeping his team's momentum up in Bahrain:
"It was great to kick-start my season with a win in Malaysia. Taking a one-two was also a fantastic result for the team and I can’t wait to see what we can do in Bahrain. I’ve finished on the podium here a couple of times here but, for one reason or another, I’ve never managed to get the win. Until last week it was the same story for me with Malaysia, so fingers crossed this can be the year of breaking those cycles!"
Hamilton continued, elaborating a bit on Mercedes's plans going forward. Mercedes has been the early leader in the constructors' championship points, an important distinction especially considering the massive regulation changes for the 2014 season:
"Malaysia was a really busy event for the team and we have a test coming up straight after this weekend’s race, so it would be great to give the crew another good result to head home with after a long road trip. We know it’s going to be tough to maintain our current form, particularly at a circuit where every team has had so much running time over the winter, but I’ll be pushing hard to keep those results coming."
NBC released the TV schedule for the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix. Coverage over the weekend will be broadcast across two of its properties -- NBCSN and CNBC, according to the schedule below. Live broadcasts are marked with an *:
Friday, April 4:
*11:00 a.m. Eastern -- Practice 2, NBCSN -- LIVE.
*12:30 p.m. Eastern -- F1 Extra, NBCSN -- LIVE.
5:00 p.m. Eastern -- F1 Extra, NBCSN -- Rebroadcast.
Saturday, April 5:
*11:00 a.m. Eastern -- Qualifying, CNBC -- LIVE.
12:30 p.m. Eastern -- Qualifying, NBCSN -- Re-broadcast.
Sunday, April 6:
*10:30 a.m. Eastern -- Bahrain Grand Prix, NBCSN -- LIVE RACE
The Bahrain Grand Prix is the third race in the 2014 season. Leading the drivers' championship so far is Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg with 43 points; second is his team-mate Lewis Hamilton with 25 points; third is Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari with 24 points.
In the constructors' championship, Mercedes is leading so far with 68 points; McLaren is second with 43; and Ferrari is third at 30 points.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1. She is working on a book about racers and racing. See her blog, Motor Sport Muse.