The final test of the year may be the final appearance for the 2022 cars, but it will be useful preparation for 2023 as a number of drivers, including Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri, prepare to debut with their new teams.
The test is an important opportunity for newcomers to get a first feel for their new teams, complete initial seat adjustments and learn how the systems all work. Teams can also get feedback from the new driver on possible changes for next year on small but important details such as steering wheel buttons or pedal position.
What makes the test even more significant is the fact that there will be just three days of pre-season testing in 2023, taking place in Bahrain from February 23 to 25. As the drivers each get a day and a half, this extra day will be valuable extra time on the track.
“It will always be important, more in terms of comfort with the steering wheel, grip, buttons, pedals, you know, all that stuff,” said Fernando Alonso, who will make his first appearance for Aston Martin on Tuesday. his departure from Alpine.
“Next year we only have a day and a half in Bahrain, and then you start a championship. So a day like Tuesday is gold for this kind of thing.”
The main focus for teams changing their driver line-ups for 2023 in the test will be to help their newcomers get up to speed and get an early start in their new environment.
Most drivers have contracts that run until the end of the year, meaning they had to get permission to get the green light for the test and be loaned out for a day before they could officially join at the start of the new year.
Felipe Drugovich, Aston Martin AMR22
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar/Motorsport Images
That much goes for Alonso, who will take part in the test for Aston Martin in all-black overalls. He told UKTN in Austin that he always held his destiny in his hands to be able to take the test early, although he won’t become an official Aston Martin driver until January 1.
Lance Stroll will run some more at the end of the day, while Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich will be in the young driver’s car.
Pierre Gasly and Nyck de Vries also change garages and make their first appearance with their new teams during the test. Gasly will complete the full day for Alpine, while De Vries has been cleared by Mercedes to test for AlphaTauri ahead of his rookie F1 season next year.
Piastri will make his first appearance as a McLaren driver in the test, three months after the F1 contract saga that dominated the headlines. Piastri’s extensive Alpine F1 testing program was halted when the saga broke, meaning it’s been a few months since he last raced. Haas will also give Nico Hulkenberg his first F1 test outing since 2019 following his confirmation for next year last Thursday.
Williams is giving Logan Sargeant a full day after earning his FIA super license and a race seat for 2023 this weekend. The test will be followed by private Alpine runs throughout the winter, pending an agreement between the two teams.
Other young drivers confirmed for the test include Mercedes junior Frederik Vesti, who has not driven an F1 car before; F2 race winner Jack Doohan at Alpine; Alfa Romeo youngster Theo Pourchaire; and Haas reserve Pietro Fittipaldi.
Testing in Abu Dhabi will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time at the Yas Marina circuit, with each team running two cars: one for Pirelli tire testing, driven by individuals with a valid superlicence; and a second for young drivers with two or fewer Grand Prix starts.
F1 Abu Dhabi post-season test – driver line-up
Red Bull: TBC and Liam Lawson
Ferrari: Charles Leclerc/Carlos Sainz and Robert Shwartzman
Mercedes: TBC and Frederik Vesti
Alps: Pierre Gasley and Jack Doohan
McLaren: Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri
Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas and Theo Pourchaire
Aston Martin: Fernando Alonso/Lance Stroll and Felipe Drugovich
Hare: Nico Hulkenberg and Pietro Fittipaldi
AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries
williams: Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant