F1 teams confirm drivers for pre-season testing
By Mat Coch
Thursday 23rd February, 2023 - 4:40am
Ahead of F1 pre-season testing beginning in Bahrain on Thursday, teams have confirmed how their drivers will line up over the coming days.
A total of three days of running awaits, divided into six sessions of track action at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Teams will field one car apiece, forcing them to split the running between their two race drivers (aside from Aston Martin where reserve driver Felipe Drugovich will step in).
There are two different approaches being employed, with some opting to use both drivers on all days, and others dedicating an entire day of running to a single driver.
Red Bull fits into the latter group, with Max Verstappen to take the wheel of the RB19 on Thursday, and team-mate Sergio Perez on Saturday. The duo will have a session each on Friday to balance out the running.
It’s the same for Williams, though it will sport both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant on Thursday before dedicating Friday to its American rookie and Saturday to Albon.
Conversely, Alpine is splitting its days with Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon both in action on all three days.
Mercedes, McLaren, Haas, and Scuderia AlphaTauri are following suit while Ferrari, Alfa Romeo Sauber, and Aston Martin are yet to confirm their plans beyond Thursday.
Fundamentally both approaches are the same in terms of track time available and offer the drivers much the same opportunities.
There are, of course, variables outside of the control of teams, and the weather is key among these.
Bahrain has been deliberately chosen for pre-season testing because of its stable climate, so while weather should not be a factor it only needs a blustery day to interfere with plans.
Another consideration relates to the time of day, with running beginning slightly later and continuing into the night – which brings with it much lower temperatures and therefore different track characteristics.
There’s also the impact of reliability to contend with, and the prospect of a crash – always a possibility during pre-season testing as drivers get their eye in with all-new F1 machinery.
The two different approaches to how pre-season running is carved up by each team reflect their own take on the variables, and the specific run plans each has in mind.
Running in Bahrain begins at 10:00 local time on Thursday, with a 60-minute lunch break at 14:15. Cars return to the track from 15:15 before the day concludes at 19:30.
Timings remain the same for both Friday and Saturday.
F1 pre-season testing drivers
|Team||Thursday AM||Thursday PM||Friday AM||Friday PM||Saturday AM||Saturday PM|
|Red Bull||Max Verstappen||Max Verstappen||Sergio Perez||Max Verstappen||Sergio Perez||Sergio Perez|
|Ferrari||Carlos Sainz||Charles Leclerc|
|Mercedes||George Russell||Lewis Hamilton||Lewis Hamilton||George Russell||George Russell||Lewis Hamilton|
|Alpine||Pierre Gasly||Esteban Ocon||Esteban Ocon||Pierre Gasly||Pierre Gasly||Esteban Ocon|
|McLaren||Oscar Piastri||Lando Norris||Lando Norris||Oscar Piastri||Oscar Piastri||Lando Norris|
|Alfa Romeo Sauber||Guanyu Zhou||Valtteri Bottas|
|Aston Martin||Felipe Drugovich||Fernando Alonso|
|Haas||Nico Hulkenberg||Kevin Magnussen||Kevin Magnussen||Nico Hulkenberg||Nico Hulkenberg||Kevin Magnussen|
|Scuderia AlphaTauri||Yuki Tsunoda||Nyck de Vries||Yuki Tsunoda||Nyck de Vries||Nyck de Vries||Yuki Tsunoda|
|Williams||Alex Albon||Logan Sargeant||Logan Sargeant||Logan Sargeant||Alex Albon||Alex Albon|
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