For the third season in a row Formula, One is racing on the streets of Jeddah as the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix kicks off this weekend.
Red Bull are once again favourites after a 1-2 finish last time out, and many other teams need to get their season on track after a disappointing showing in Bahrain two weeks ago.
Here’s what you need to know for this week’s race.
The main event is on this Sunday at 5.0pm Irish time
The race is live on Sky Sports with build-up beginning two hours before lights out. There will be free-to-air highlights shown on Channel 4 at 10.15pm Sunday night.
In the lead-up to the race, Sky Sports are also broadcasting three practice sessions, two on Friday (1.30pm and 5.0pm) and one on Saturday (1.30pm). They are also broadcasting qualifying live at 5.0pm Saturday, with Channel 4 showing qualifying highlights at 8.50pm that evening.
One of the big talking points coming into the weekend was how healthy reigning World Champion Max Verstappen was feeling, as he opted not to fly out with the team due to a stomach bug he was battling this week.
However, the Dutchman said he was “feeling fine again, after not being fit for a few days because of a stomach bug, and despite only arriving at the track on Friday, he was best in practice on that day.
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has already been hit with a grid penalty, compounding the pain felt after he had to retire his car during the Bahrain GP.
And his Ferrari team has revealed prior to Sunday’s round in Jeddah that they will have to fit a new electronics control unit – the Monegasque’s third already this season – resulting in a 10-place grid drop. Leclerc could also incur further grid penalties if more replacement engine parts are required.
Elsewhere, Mercedes arrive in Saudi Arabia in crisis mode following a turbulent opening race.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in Bahrain – more than 50 seconds behind winner Verstappen – and then accused Mercedes of ignoring him on the development of this season’s machine.
“It’s really about accountability,” said the British driver a fortnight ago. “It’s about owning up and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you’.”
Addressing his comments in Jeddah, Hamilton said: “In hindsight, it wasn’t the best choice of words, but there are times when you are not in agreement with certain team members.”
Hamilton is in the final year of his €45 million-a-season deal at Mercedes and the Silver Arrows’ form leaves question marks over his future. The team and Hamilton are, for the first time in recent years, feeling the tension that goes with not being top dogs, and the threat of Aston Martin is building up the heat.
Last time out, Fernando Alonso came third with Aston Martin, with team-mate Lance Stroll coming an impressive sixth - one better than Mercedes’ George Russell - despite the Canadian battling with wrist and foot injuries sustained in a cycling accident. Stroll was labelled a “hero” by his Spanish team-mate, and if Aston Martin can out-perform Ferrari and Mercedes again, the team will really open up this championship.