The pre-season test in Bahrain is now looming on the horizon for the F1 field of 2023 as the festive season celebrations fade from memory. The engineers are working flat out to finish the car designs and manufacture the components required to assemble the new cars. Aston Martin claim their car is 95% “all new” an so may have the toughest job to be ready for the 3 days of testing 23-25th in the middle eastern desert.
The FIA over the years has endeavoured to cut costs from Formula One and long before the cost cap testing was targeted as a luxury the bigger teams could afford more easily than the rest.
In season F1 testing banned 2009
In season testing was banned in 2009 yet prior to that during most mid-weeks of the F1 season, the English based teams would be seen at Silverstone running hundreds of miles as they tested new developments on the cars.
Pre-season testing was next on the FIA’s agenda. Mid February, the F1 grid would decamp to Jerez on the Iberian peninsula for what they would call a 4 day “shakedown”. Once the circuit fell from the F1 calendar it wasn’t deemed not representative for testing the aero requirements and so became merely an opportunity for the teams to check out the mechanical reliability and performance of the cars before heading to Barcelona the following week for another 8 days of testing.
Jerez F1 testing abandoned
The Jerez “shakedown” was dropped for the 2016 season and just 8 days of testing were allowed. This has been reduced again and again and now in 2023 there will be fewer pre-season test days than ever before. They will also take place at the venue of the first racer a week later with further saves costs for the teams.
So with just 3 pre-season test days, Ferrari have decided they wan’t to give their drivers a fitness shakedown before they head off to Bahrain in just 4 weeks time.
The FIA regulations bar teams from running their F1 cars unless they are at least one complete season ‘out of date’. Of course the F1 teams run a number of historic programmes for the fans with Red Bull Racing delivering one of the busiest annual schedules.
Ferrari test and reserve drivers F1 test
So Ferrari have selected their 2021 car and sent their test and reserve drivers together with Carlos Sainz and Charles LeClerc to their Fiorano circuit for a three day run out.
Anthonio Giovinazzi and Robert Swartzman got things underway on Tuesday with Sainz getting a full day on Wednesday. The Spaniard completed 26 laps before lunch in damp conditions and as the weather improved he delivered a further 93 in the afternoon.
LeClerc will take over on Thursday. Meanwhile in Imola Alpha Tauri were completing some pre-season…. Pre-season testing of their own.
AlphaTauri F1 rookie de Vries at Imola
Yuki Tsunoda, now starting his third season in Formula 1, took to the cockpit on Tuesday. Presumably this was to ensure when newbie Nyck de Vries did his testing on Wednesday there were some benchmarking comparisons with his team mate for the F1 rookie to take away.
The Italian teams have some advantage over their English based counterparts at this time of year because the weather in Northern Europe has been unfit for most normal driving conditions never mind high speed track testing.
Despite the cars being ‘old machinery’ with just 3 days of pre-season testing of the new F1 cars, the drivers will have benefited from their own personal shakedown and there may be others who get the opportunity before Bahrain.
READ MORE: FIA president hints Andretti could be signed up by next week
Rolling out for the last time this week 🤩
Let’s go, @Charles_Leclerc 🚀 pic.twitter.com/jxRRsizG1e
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) January 26, 2023