In order to gather the most data out of a three-day Bahrain pre-season test, the teams will need to move quickly in preparation for the 2023 season.
Teams had the luxury of two preseason tests last year, testing the 2022 rivals in an unofficial preseason test in Barcelona and the official test in Bahrain.
Ground-effect challenges returned to Formula 1 during that season, ushering in a new era for the sport following changes to the Technical Rules. The teams will now take their 2023 cars which have already been revealed to Bahrain for the preseason test, which will be the only one scheduled for 2023.
The Bahrain International Circuit, which also hosts the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and the test, will host the event from February 23 to 25.
The teams and drivers can quickly become familiar with their new creations in three days. Mercedes has already raised fears that the constrained timetable would make it impossible to find every potential problem prior to the season kickoff on March 5.
“With only three days of testing this year, that has two big impacts,” Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott said. “The first is in reliability… If we are not reliable in the test, then we will have very limited mileage to learn.”
“We also won’t be able to measure the car’s absolute reliability too much, because over three days you are not going to get huge amounts of running.”
“These cars are now so reliable that you need more mileage than three days to really start seeing some of the issues.”
“The second big impact is that we’ve got to use our limited time as efficiently as possible… We’ve got to learn as much as we can, to work out how to get the most performance out of the car and what we can learn to feed into the next developments.”
Yet all teams must contend with that because it is just the way the game is. The same is true for the drivers, who will only have a day and a half to spend each in the driver’s seat of their rivals before practice begins prior to the first round.
The first team to announce their plans was Haas, who stated that their highly experienced new driver Nico Hulkenberg will start the test on February 23 in the morning before passing it off to Kevin Magnussen, who won the Sao Paulo GP pole position last season, for the afternoon session.
Haas will then swap this timetable for the following day before going back to the original schedule on the third and final action day on February 25.