F1 Pre-Season Testing, Defined – SBNation.com

System 1 returns this week.


Whereas racing will not begin till subsequent week, with the Bahrain Grand Prix kicking off the 2023 F1 season, all ten groups will quickly be in Bahrain for 3 days of pre-season testing. After spending months growing automobiles for the 2023 season, groups have restricted monitor time to check their automobiles earlier than the lights exit for the primary race of the season.

With per week of testing behind us, we thought it might be a superb time to stipulate precisely what pre-season testing is all about.

What are pre-season assessments?

This yr’s pre-season testing is a three-day occasion on the Bahrain Worldwide Circuit, website of the season-opening Grand Prix per week later. For 3 days this week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), groups can put their automobiles on monitor with minimal restrictions to get an thought of ​​how their set-up and aerodynamics will look within the coming season.

Every day is cut up into two classes, a morning session that begins at 10:00 native time and lasts 4 hours, and a day session that begins at 15:00 native time and lasts 4 and a half hours. The significance of this afternoon session is that it’s going to final after sundown, permitting the groups to get a really feel for the way the automobiles will behave in night time situations.

It will come in useful subsequent week because the Bahrain Grand Prix is ​​at night time.

Groups can method these classes in many various methods, however the primary aim is to handle any main points, fine-tune settings, and make any obligatory changes. Groups may decide which areas of the automotive want enchancment forward of the season, which begins simply over per week later.

Why is it held in Bahrain?

Two causes really. The primary motive is logistical. Because the season begins on the similar monitor the next week, this reduces journey time for every crew.

The second is the Bahrain Worldwide Circuit monitor structure, which will be seen right here within the diagram F1.com:

The design of the Bahrain Worldwide Circuit permits groups to check their automobiles in a number of totally different situations. There are some lengthy straights – together with a really lengthy straight from Sector 3, by way of the beginning/end line to Sector 1 – and a few tight corners, particularly in Sector 2. Groups will have the ability to check how their automobiles carry out each lengthy straights and tight turns.

How are the tires handled?

Pirelli, the kind provider for F1, ensures that each one groups have an equal quantity of every tire compound. This enables groups to run any variety of laps on any tire compound. This enables groups to get an thought of ​​their pit cease technique at first of the season.

What can and can’t their groups do throughout testing?

Testing doesn’t happen in Grand Prix situations and whereas regular security necessities have to be adopted, groups might develop their very own testing programmes. This contains the choice of drivers that may participate, together with reserve and/or check drivers who is not going to be competing within the upcoming season.

What is that this fluorescent paint I see on automobiles?

Formula 1 pre-season testing - day one - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA Photographs through Getty Photographs

Do not forget that aerodynamics are basic in F1. So determining how the air flows over the automobiles is a big a part of the method, together with throughout testing.

To get a clearer image of how air flows by way of totally different elements of the automotive, groups will use what is named “flow-vis” paint. It’s a paint consisting of a fluorescent powder blended with a light-weight oil, utilized to the entrance of the automotive earlier than heading to the monitor. Because the automotive strikes across the monitor, the paint flows over the automotive, following the air.

The above picture, taken throughout pre-season testing final yr, exhibits the flow-vis paint on the Williams Racing automotive pushed by Nicholas Latifi.

Do not be stunned if groups attempt to disguise their run outcomes with flow-vis paint whereas watching pre-season testing. Usually, when automobiles return to the workshop after working over with liquid paint, groups cowl the automotive in order that their opponents cannot determine what works… and what does not.

Are these the final automobiles the groups will use this season?

Adapt or die is a part of life in F1. Groups are always attempting to enhance their automobiles, eager to squeeze each little bit of energy out of them and shorten each attainable millisecond.

To that finish, whereas the automobiles we see this week are near the ultimate product, check outcomes typically name for some enhancements.

How a lot ought to we learn in lap instances this week?

In truth? Few. With the variety of variables at work – groups check out totally different programmes, with totally different tire compounds and totally different quantities of gasoline – it is often onerous to get a transparent thought of ​​how the grid is stacking up earlier than the season begins. Notice that whereas all tire compounds can be found throughout testing, as soon as the season has began Pirelli has allotted solely three of the 5 totally different dry climate compounds to every Grand Prix. So we are able to see how the crew achieved a quick lap time this week on a tire compound that won’t be used subsequent week on the Bahrain Grand Prix.

As well as, groups attempt to disguise their power throughout testing, sustaining full efficiency through the first qualifying session of the season. This can be a tactic often called “sandbags”.

Nonetheless, in current historical past, we have now seen groups which have been robust in testing and have taken pole positions on the similar circuit through the season. In 2021, Purple Bull’s Max Verstappen set the quickest lap time in testing and secured pole place on the Bahrain Grand Prix later within the season. In 2020, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas set the quickest lap time in testing, whereas teammate Lewis Hamilton certified on pole on the Spanish Grand Prix later that yr.

Final season Verstappen was once more quickest in pre-season testing, however Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc certified on pole.

However we all know how Ferrari’s season went.

What drivers check and when?

Groups are beginning to announce which drivers are taking part through which classes. So when you have a favourite driver, be happy to test again as it will likely be up to date.

Thursday morning: Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg, Yuki Tsunoda

Thursday afternoon: Verstappen, Kevin Magnussen, Nyck de Vries

Friday morning: Sergio Perez, Magnussen, Tsunoda

Friday afternoon: Verstappen, Hulkenberg, de Vries

Saturday morning: Perez, Hulkenberg, deVries

Saturday afternoon: Perez, Magnussen, Tsunoda

Can I watch pre-season assessments?

That is determined by the place you are studying it from, expensive reader.

For these becoming a member of us from the UK and Eire, Sky Sports activities F1 will probably be broadcasting everything of F1 testing.

Individuals outdoors the UK and Eire will have the ability to view the assessments through F1TVF1 streaming service.

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