F1 on NBCSN goes ‘Off The Grid’ in Bahrain (VIDEO)

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NBCSN Formula One insider Will Buxton and partner-in-crime/producer Jason Swales are at it again.

After taking the “Road to Ferrari,” Buxton and Swales are now giving F1 fans a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s most popular motorsport in the new NBC Sports digital series, “Off The Grid.” The first episode, which you can see above, finds the duo at Bahrain International Circuit for preseason testing.

After a trip to the Bahrain podium and a chat with the track’s former CEO, Martin Whitaker, they head for the capital city of Manama and then end the night with a friendly – or maybe not so friendly – competition at the karting track.

An often amusing glance at the F1 life, this is one trip “Off The Grid” that you’ll want to take. Also, be sure to check out the “Buxton’s Racing Debut” series as well.

Formula One returns to action this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix. Coverage begins with FP2 on Friday morning at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN, continues with qualifying on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET on CNBC, and culminates Sunday with the Grand Prix at 10:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN. All NBCSN/CNBC sessions will also be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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