Day One of the F1 2023 Pre-Testing Season

Day One of the Pre-Testing Season is already in the books

The 23rd of February welcomed F1 fans to the 2023 edition as the much-awaited season of thrills and spills already hit the ground running with the first day of the pre-testing season in Bahrain International Circuit which is expected to be running from 23 February to the 25th. The season marks a new cast of characters for 2023, a total of 19 drivers taking it to the track, with Lance Stroll down-and-out due to health reasons and quite a number of more recent developments.

In the testing season, each team can only run one car, meaning the drivers share the cockpit. With the testing season per day categorized into two sessions, the morning session as well as the afternoon session, one driver can choose to go for the morning session whilst the other can choose the afternoon session. With teams revealing their new cars, the season promises to be a way better season than the preceding one, particularly for Lewis Hamilton, who’s being encouraged by the apparent absence of the bouncing issues that plagued their disappointing 2022 campaign. 

Max Verstappen, already highly favored to retain his title for the third time in a row, topped the timesheet on the opening day of the pre-season testing, indicating a great season to come for the Red Bull Team. Fernando Alonso, shockingly, became a runner-up after Verstappen set an eye-catching time for his new team, Ashton Martin. Charles Leclerc, who came second to Verstappen in last year’s season, settled in fourth place behind his team-mate Sainz.   Red Bull’s status as the favorites to win the new season was solidified on the pre-testing opening day.  This comes after the assertion by Max Verstappen that the car is observably doing well, and that is the most important thing in the competition.

Bahrain Test Results:

11:32.837Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
21:32.866Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
31:33.253Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
41:33.267Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
51:33.462Lando Norris (McLaren)
61:33.508Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
71:33.671Alexander Albon (Williams)

Mercedes experienced bouncing problems in the 2022 edition of the race series and this would result in a dry spell for the team as the team only won just one grand prix by George Russell. Whilst the bouncing problem seemed to be avoided, there were still signs the problem has not been entirely alleviated. Ferrari as well as Alpine experienced the same bouncing problems however the Ferrari management wasn’t worried at all claiming it is not much of a problem. Leclerc struggled with the SF-23 during his runs on occasion. 

The Red Bull driver, Max Verstappen, comfortably completed the day with 157 laps on the board. Lewis Hamilton ended the day sixth fastest with an effort that was 0.671s off the best time from Verstappen. Verstappen rounded off the day with a record 157 laps, with Hamilton sitting comfortably at 83 laps and his teammate Russell, at 69 laps. The table below shows the full-day results of the day one testing season.