F1 testing 2023: Driver line-ups

F1 testing in Bahrain is the only chance teams have to see their cars on track before the start of the 2023 season

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Formula 1 pre-season testing 2023 begins in Bahrain on Thursday, where teams will have a total of 25.5 hours to prepare their cars for the start of the 2023 F1 season, with teams announcing their driver line-ups for testing.

There’s three days of testing with two four-hour sessions each day, only one driver per team can be on track in each session, and the evening sessions also have over an hour after the sun sets simulating the conditions of the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix a week after testing finishes.

In previous years some teams have given time to reserve drivers – such as Pietro Fittipaldi for Haas in 2022 or Roy Nissany for Williams in 2021 – but this season the only stand-in is Aston Martin‘s Felipe Drugovich for the injured Lance Stroll.

McLaren’s Lando Norris during 2022 testing | REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Testing Day 1 – Thursday

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen kicks things off for Red Bull, he’s been the fastest driver in testing since 2021.

The 2022 Formula 2 champion Drugovich gets four hours in an F1 car, after also driving for Aston Martin in FP1 of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the post-season test.

He’s standing in for Stroll, who’s out due to injuries suffered in a ‘minor cycling accident’.

Nico Hulkenberg‘s also competing in the morning session, the first time he’s featured pre-season since 2019.

In the afternoon, Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant make their first appearances as full-time drivers.

Both have had extensive F1 experience but they’re in a new position now as insiders and will be keen to make a good first impression to their teams.

TeamDriver (AM)Driver (PM)
Red BullMax VerstappenMax Verstappen
FerrariCarlos SainzCharles Leclerc
MercedesGeorge RussellLewis Hamilton
AlpinePierre GaslyEsteban Ocon
McLarenOscar PiastriLando Norris
Alfa RomeoZhou GuanyuValtteri Bottas
Aston MartinFelipe DrugovichFernando Alonso
HaasNico HulkenbergKevin Magnussen
AlphaTauriYuki TsunodaNyck de Vries
WilliamsAlex AlbonLogan Sargeant

Testing Day 2 – Friday

Verstappen‘s testing commitments finish at lunchtime, as Perez will take the car for the afternoon and the whole of the final day.

At Williams, Sargeant gets a full day in the car, and AlphaTauri continue with their setup from the first day. Kevin Magnussen is driving on all three days and he’ll be hoping to wrack up more than the 77 laps he got in 2022 – his only preparation for the season after Nikita Mazepin was ditched late on.

TeamDriver (AM)Driver (PM)
Red BullMax VerstappenSergio Perez
FerrariCarlos SainzCharles Leclerc
MercedesLewis HamiltonGeorge Russell
AlpineEsteban OconPierre Gasly
McLarenLando NorrisOscar Piastri
Alfa RomeoZhou GuanyuZhou Guanyu
Aston MartinFernando AlonsoFernando Alonso
HaasKevin MagnussenNico Hulkenberg
AlphaTauriYuki TsunodaNyck de Vries
WilliamsLogan SargeantLogan Sargeant

Testing Day 3 – Saturday

The day that really matters. Typically the last day of testing is where teams go all-out looking for the fastest time of the event, which makes it interesting that Red Bull have opted for Sergio Perez over Verstappen.

For the evening session, Bottas, Magnussen, Tsunoda and Albon all get their shot at putting the fastest time of the day down, with each team preferring their most experienced driver.

TeamDriver (AM)Driver (PM)
Red BullSergio PerezSergio Perez
FerrariCharles LeclercCarlos Sainz
MercedesGeorge RussellLewis Hamilton
AlpinePierre GaslyEsteban Ocon
McLarenOscar PiastriLando Norris
Alfa RomeoValtteri BottasValtteri Bottas
Aston MartinFelipe DrugovichFernando Alonso
HaasNico HulkenbergKevin Magnussen
AlphaTauriNyck de VriesYuki Tsunoda
WilliamsAlex AlbonAlex Albon

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