It’s felt like an eternity but Formula 1 is now back on our minds and will very soon be back on our screens as the pre-season testing will take place this weekend in Bahrain.
Last year saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen win his second world championship title in as many years and there is no doubt that he will be gunning for a third this year, despite Red Bull’s cost cap penalty. Ferrari had been Red Bull’s main competitors throughout the season but bizarre strategic decisions along with detrimental crashes meant Christian Horner’s side were able to steam ahead in both the battle for the driver’s championship and the constructor’s championship.
This year, the Italian horses will welcome a new team principal as former Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur leads the team. But Vasseur will not be the only one in new colours as Pierre Gasly moved to Alpine; Fernando Alonso moved to Aston Martin and the paddock will welcome Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri to the mix (for Williams, McLaren and AlphaTauri respectively) as well as welcoming back Nico Hulkenberg at Haas.
Here is all you need to know ahead of F1 pre-season testing...
What is pre-season testing?
The pre-season testing allows for teams to run their cars on track ahead of the first race of the year. Testing used to be mostly a private affair with teams able to do it as much testing as they wanted but it is now a highly-regulated event which ensures equal time and conditions for all 10 teams and 20 drivers.
The main difference between this year’s cars and last year’s are that the car floors have been raised by 15mm on safety grounds in order to combat the porpoising issue which dominated the 2022 season, for Mercedes especially.
Other rules around the new regulations have been tightened up and there will likely be particular focus on what Red Bull have managed following their $7million fine and 10% cut in aerodynamic testing time after the cost cap breach.
When is Formula 1’s testing?
The Bahrain pre-season testing will take place between Thursday 23 February and Saturday 25 February 2023. Here is the full schedule:
- Day 1: Thursay 23 February, 7am-4.30pm GMT
- Day 2: Friday 24 February, 7am-4.30pm GMT
- Day 3: Saturday 25 February, 7am -4.30pm GMT
Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit will host the action and this will also be the location of the first Grand Prix in a few weeks time.
How to watch pre-season testing
All of the sessions will be available to be watched on Sky Sports on their dedicated Formula 1 channel. Coverage will begin at 6.50am each day ahead of the 7am start times and fans can stream the action through SkyGo on mobile and laptop devices.
Fans can sign up to Sky Sports for £46/month and NowTV also offer daily passes for Sky Sports channels for £11.98/day.
When is the first F1 race of 2023?
The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on Sunday 5 March 2023 with a race start time of 3pm GMT scheduled. This will be the start of the 74th year of the Formula 1 World Championship and the 2022 race was won by Charles Leclerc.