The team will be looking to push on after a mixed first day of Free Practice running.
Nicholas Latifi and Alex Albon both completed their individual programmes, but, as Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson stated after FP2: “We have struggled a bit for pace today.
“From testing for an entire day with only 10 cars on the track to two one-hour sessions with the entire field on track is a big change and so we used today to check the two cars and to get both drivers accustomed to this wind direction.
“We did get through our programme, with only a minor radio issue for Alex losing us time.
“The conditions this evening were close to what we are expecting for Qualifying and so it was a good opportunity to get the tyres into a good window.
“We didn’t quite get it right today, so there is more to come tomorrow.”
Nicky completed 43 laps across the two sessions but remained optimistic that there are quick adjustments that could be made to improve, saying: “We’re where we expected to be after the test last week, but our learning from today is that there are some easy areas we can find some time and try to improve the performance.
“It’s clear we’re not where we want to be and we know the limitations that are holding us back.
“We’re still building confidence with each lap, each session and each new set of tyres and working to understand exactly how the car needs to be set up to be driven fastest.”
Across the other side of the garage, Alex is busy preparing for his first race weekend with the team, but knows there is plenty still to be squeezed out of his FW44.
“It’s been good to get back out on track today and do some running in conditions that are more representative of those we’ll be racing in,” stated the Thai driver, adding: “I think we’re all aware that the car felt better in Barcelona.
“Historically Bahrain is a track that we struggle with and the wind, sand and heat doesn’t help, but we’re understanding the limitations and adapting our driving style to cope with the challenges.
“The team have a strong direction that we’re pushing for and we’re all very motivated, so I think we’re making progress.
Elsewhere, Formula 2 and Formula 3 also began their seasons today, with strong qualifying performances for our Driver Academy members.
In F2, Logan Sargeant qualified P4 for Sunday’s feature race, with Roy Nissany lining up P11 whilst in F3, Zak O’Sullivan put his Carlin P12, meaning he’ll start in pole position for Saturday’s Sprint Race.
NL6 - 1:35.644 (13th)
AA23 - 1:35.923 (15th)
NL6 - 1:34.486 (19th)
AA23 - 1:34.735 (20th)