Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will all have an early run this year but it’s not to gain an advantage, it’s to test Pirelli’s tyres.
Aston Martin, Mercedes and AlphaTauri have all signed up for the opening tyre test of this year and will take to the Jerez circuit in early February.
Mercedes will be in action on the first two days of the Paul Ricard test, running slick tyres, before handing over to AlphaTauri for two days of wet tyre testing.
Aston Martin will conduct further tyre testing on the 7th and 8th.
Pirelli’s chief F1 engineer Simone Berra said while all the teams had been invited to Pirelli’s off-season outings, only “some” took up the offer with a handful of tests with Alfa Romeo and Ferrari on duty in December.
“There will be some tests, not with all the teams,” said Berra. “We asked the availability to them, and some of them replied.
“We will work mainly on the intermediate and wets, because for us it’s the best period of the year to test in cold temperatures and in representative conditions.
“And then we will have even a couple of tests for the slicks for the new specification for 2024.”
Motorsport.com has revealed that Aston Martin will have Alonso behind the wheel for the two-day outing, the team set to give the Spaniard more laps in the AMR22 as he prepares for his first season in green.
Alonso announced last August that he’d be swapping Alpine for Aston Martin, the latter offering him a multi-year deal.
He spent his first day with the team out on track at the post-season Abu Dhabi test and told PlanetF1 after his first run: “I’m much more optimistic now.
“When I signed for Aston Martin [in July], I was 90% happy. When they started improving and finishing the season on a high, I was 100 percent.
“This morning, I was 100 percent, now I’m 100+!”
As for Mercedes, both Hamilton and Russell have told the team they’re in even though the test will be carried out with last year’s “diva” W13.
AlphaTauri will likely put Nyck de Vries in the car on one of their two days in order to give their rookie track time.
The teams may not use the running to develop their 2023 cars with Pirelli’s Mario Isola revealing the FIA will be on hand to ensure that everything is above board.
“They cannot use the tests in February to develop the 2023 car,” he said, “the FIA is sending an observer to each test to check parts and that the configuration of the car has been used at any of the 2022 races so they cannot develop new parts, wings, floors, or something like that.”