A new season of Formula 1 begins this weekend, March 5th in Bahrain. 2023 has the lowest amount of scheduled testing time and the teams have new regulations to manage. At only three days and 25.5 hours, it’s not a lot to go on before the racing begins. That said, here are five takeaways from those 3,992 laps:
Sergio Perez was the fastest driver on the track.
A full 1.3 seconds quicker than Verstappen.
The next fastest times were:
- Lewis Hamilton
- Valtteri Bottas
- Charles Leclerc
Mercedes is still struggling with the balance of the car.
Safety regulations lowered the cars overall by 15mm to reduce the porpoising of the cars on the track. “We’ve not had a strong second day; stopping on track with a reliability issue wasn’t great and we have struggled to get the car balanced well across the changing conditions,” said Shovlin after the second day of testing.
There are 3 new rookies this season.
Three rookies hit the track this year. AlphaTauri brought on Nyck de Vries who is the most experienced of the pack, “according to his former team boss Ian James, De Vries is uniquely capable of providing great feedback without sacrificing atmosphere”.
Over at McClaren, Oscar Piastri joins the team. He is only 21 and even though he seems well suited to drive second to Lando Norris, it remains to be seen how he’ll handle the pressure of Team McClaren.
The third and final rookie, Logan Sargeant is at Williams. Williams is hoping the American will move them out of 2022’s last place finish.
Red Bull looks dominant.
Of course it's difficult to draw real conclusions about the season just based off testing, but Red Bull was 0.28s ahead of Mercedes and 0.16s overall. Last year Max Verstappen won 17 of 22 races, and it’s too easy to predict another winning season, but Red Bull seems cautiously poised for another dominant season.
Ferrari and Mercedes might be fighting for second place.
Ferrari looks like the strongest contender against Red Bull, especially with the way Mercedes struggled and Lewis’s comments that they “are not quite where we want to be” and have “a mountain to climb”.
Alpine leads a hefty midfield this year
A wide open midfield makes for exciting racing. Some highlights from the midfield:
- AlphaTauri put in the most laps, a total of 456.
- De Vries was second for miles as he preps for his rookie season.
- McClaren had the least amount of laps, struggling with the aerodynamics of the car.
May 5th Formula 1 will be in the states for the Miami GP. If you're heading out there, make sure you bring EARPEACE Moto to hear comfortably all day without going home with ringing ears.