F1 2023 Bahrain pre-season test: Haas first to confirm driver schedule

Jamie Woodhouse
The view from Turn 1 in Bahrain. March 2022.

A view from Turn 1 at the Bahrain International Circuit. March 2022.

Time is of the essence in 2023 as the teams look to extract every bit of data possible from a three-day Bahrain pre-season test.

Last season teams had the luxury of two pre-season tests, with an unofficial shakedown in Barcelona followed by the official pre-season outing in Bahrain as they put the 2022 challengers through their paces.

That season marked a new era in Formula 1 after an overhaul of the Technical Regulations saw ground-effect challengers return to Formula 1.

But with the reveal of all 10 successors to those cars now complete, the next step for the teams is to take them to Bahrain for what will be the only pre-season test of 2023.

The test will run from February 23-25 at the Bahrain International Circuit, also host of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix which then takes place on the following weekend.

Three days is not long at all for the teams and drivers to get to grips with their new creations. Mercedes have already expressing concerns that the restricted schedule may not allow for all potential issues to be detected before lights-out on March 5.

“With only three days of testing this year, that has two big impacts,” said Mercedes technical director Mike Elliott.

“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.”

But that is simply the nature of the beast and something that all teams must deal with. The same true for the drivers, who will only get a day-and-a-half each behind the wheel of their challengers before practice arrives ahead of the opening round.

And we have our first driver schedule reveal ahead of the test…


The first team to reveal their plans were Haas, who confirmed that their highly-experienced new recruit Nico Hulkenberg will get the test underway on the morning of February 23, before handing over to last season’s Sao Paulo GP polesitter Kevin Magnussen for the afternoon session.

Haas will then alternate this schedule for the second day, and return to the day-one plan for the third and final day of action on February 25.

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