F1 Teams Gear Up for Bahrain Test

williams car abu dhabi 2023

Before the F1 season roars into action, eight of the ten teams are fine-tuning their cars through shakedown tests. These crucial runs serve as a prelude to the official pre-season testing at Bahrain International Circuit, where teams will push their new cars to the limits, ironing out any kinks before the competitive racing begins.

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Between the lines

  • Shakedown tests are critical for teams to check the basic functions of their new cars before the official pre-season testing in Bahrain.
  • Regulations allow for limited on-track testing, making these preliminary runs vital for teams to get a head start on the season.
  • McLaren has used older cars for junior driver training under the Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) provision, while Pirelli conducts in-season tire testing with teams.
  • Changes to the regulations now permit 200km of track time during promotional events, doubling the previous limit.
  • Teams like Mercedes, Aston Martin, McLaren, and Red Bull have already completed shakedown runs at Silverstone, despite challenging weather conditions.

When can you watch F1 2024 Pre-season Testing?

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday ahead of next week’s season-opening race; watch the track action live each morning from 10am with the Testing Wrap

Go deeper

Formula One’s pre-season is a jigsaw puzzle of regulations, testing opportunities, and strategic decisions. With the FIA’s tight grip on testing schedules, teams must be judicious in how they allocate their limited on-track time. The shakedown runs, often cloaked as ‘filming days’, are a team’s first real-world glimpse at their new cars’ performance, reliability, and potential issues that could plague the season ahead.

In the past, teams like McLaren have cleverly used the TPC provision to evaluate talent like IndyCar drivers Colton Herta and Pato O’Ward, providing valuable experience in a Formula One car without breaching testing restrictions. Pirelli’s in-season tire tests also offer teams a chance to contribute to tire development for future seasons, albeit under strict conditions that ensure fairness across the grid.

This year’s tweak to the promotional event regulations is a game-changer, allowing teams to conduct more extensive testing of their cars’ capabilities. The doubling of the permissible distance to 200km means teams can push their cars further, testing the integration of complex systems like electronics and power units, which could prove pivotal in the early races.

The British weather at Silverstone posed a challenge for teams like Mercedes and Red Bull, but it didn’t deter them from putting their cars through their paces. Meanwhile, the Sauber-run Stake F1 Team and Italy’s pride, Ferrari, sought more favorable conditions in Barcelona and Maranello, respectively, to optimize their shakedown sessions.

As the teams converge on Bahrain for the official pre-season testing, all eyes will be on their performance, reliability, and the pecking order that may start to emerge. With Williams opting out of pre-testing runs, it’s a calculated risk that could either pay off with additional development time or leave them playing catch-up once the lights go out on race day.