Points in the first race of the season and a front row start in the Sprint meant it was a promising opening to the 2024 campaign for Nikola Tsolov and ART Grand Prix.

The combination was in contention for a race victory though a point-scoring follow up didn’t quite arrive in the Feature Race.

Still, Tsolov is looking at the positives as he recaps his Bahrain weekend.


“Practice was quite tricky as we only wanted to use one set of tyres. So, we only managed to do one push, which was at the end of Free Practice and that was all the preparation we could do before Quali. Still with that being a time good enough for top four, I was quite surprised to be that far up because it was not such a great lap, but it was good as we wanted to be at the top.”


“Heading into Qualifying, our expectation was that we’d be able to maintain being inside the top five or six. But in the end, we just couldn't adapt that well to the condition changes after F1 Practice, as the track changed a lot compared to Free Practice and in the pre-season test. That was the biggest thing I think that prevented us from being top three or top five in the session.”

Tsolov and ART had hoped that fresh tyres in the Sprint would lead to a race victory
Tsolov and ART had hoped that fresh tyres in the Sprint would lead to a race victory


“Going into the Sprint Race, we decided to use a brand-new set of tyres for the race when most of the people around us were going to use them on Sunday. The idea was we would try and win a Sprint Race because winning the Sprint gives out the same number of points as finishing P5 in the Feature. But our chances of winning the Sprint was much higher than starting in 11th and finishing fifth in the Feature, so we use the new tyres.

“The race had been good, but it was tough to keep hold of the lead with three or four laps to go. Unfortunately, I dropped down to fourth and ended up finishing the race there.”

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“So, we were an old tyres. Of course, me, Laurens and Christian were pretty quick. A really strong first lap at the start and we went up to P7 but then just didn't have the pace to keep it to be honest. I stayed there for a bit but then dropped off quite a lot in the end and finished where I started in 11th which was definitely quite disappointing.

“We thought there would be a difference between old and fresh tyres in the race, but we didn't think it would be that much, so we were quite disappointed. After the first lap, we thought we would at least keep up but mainly we’d be able to get further up the order. But anyway, the season is long, it was good points for me in the Sprint and I think if we’re there consistently every race without any issues, we can go up in the Championship standings.”

ART are hoping to replicate their Melbourne form from 2023 next time out in Round 2
ART are hoping to replicate their Melbourne form from 2023 next time out in Round 2


“It's such an amazing place and such an amazing track, really exciting, so I'm looking forward to it. Last year I was pretty quick there in Free Practice but I had a few mistakes later on in the weekend, but it's a track I would say I’m pretty excited for.

“It's good that we know the car and team were strong there last year and we know we have a good baseline setup to start from. So that's quite important. The only difference is that we will have the medium tyres whereas last year we had the hards there. So we’ll be looking into the tyre deg ahead of the race but it means we will have to save the tyres more, and maybe have fewer push laps.”