Verstappen Dominates Day 1 of Pre-Season Testing Despite Red Flags and Rookies

Some highlights from Day 1 of testing

  • Day 1 of pre-season testing took place at the Bahrain International Circuit.
  • Max Verstappen topped the opening day for Red Bull.
  • Lance Stroll was missing the test due to injury and was replaced by Felipe Drugovich.
  • The only red flags were caused by Drugovich stopping out on track in the Aston Martin.
  • Some teams give a driver the whole day, while most split it with one driver getting the morning session and one the afternoon.
  • Sidepods will once again be a key talking point around the paddock this season.
  • The rules for this year are more of an evolution than a complete change.
  • The floors could be a major talking point this season, albeit one that can never be fully discussed given it can’t be fully seen.
  • Ferrari and Leclerc in particular did own up to making some mistakes last year, which were often unfairly contrasted with Red Bull who seemed to be serene by comparison.
  • Verstappen is on top of the timing sheets, although in testing the times always carry a few question marks with fuel loads for starters an unknown.
  • Flow-vis is a useful way of gathering data on air flow, and is something that is often seen in practice as well.

The start of the 2023 Formula 1 season is just around the corner, but first, teams are taking part in pre-season testing in Bahrain.

Day 1 saw some interesting developments, including Max Verstappen topping the leaderboard for Red Bull and Lance Stroll being replaced by Felipe Drugovich due to injury.

Unfortunately, Drugovich stopped out on track, causing red flags, and Aston Martin lost valuable running time while diagnosing the issue.

Pre-season testing is crucial for teams to gather data and information on their new race cars before the season-opening race. This year, there are three rookies on the grid and a returning favorite making a full-time comeback, so there is plenty of excitement and anticipation around what could happen in 2023.

As expected, technical developments are already being closely watched, with sidepods being a key talking point, especially after Red Bull’s success in 2022. Red Bull has already made slight changes to their sidepods and floor, but we will need to wait for expert opinions on the implications of these changes.

Ferrari is one team to watch this season, with a settled driver pairing in Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc and a new boss in Fred Vasseur. After a disappointing title challenge fizzled out last year, Ferrari will be looking to bounce back and put pressure on Red Bull.

As for Mercedes, the big question is whether they can jump back into the fight up front after a tough 2022 season. With plenty of driver changes, technical developments, and new team bosses, there is a lot to keep an eye on this season, making pre-season testing more important than ever.

Overall, day 1 of pre-season testing has already provided some interesting insights, and fans and experts alike will be watching closely over the next few days to see what else develops. With the first race of the season just around the corner, the countdown is on for what could be an exciting 2023 Formula 1 season.


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