F1 2023 Pre-season Day 1: Who’s fast, who’s not?
Red Bull and Max Verstappen impressed on day one of 2023 F1 pre-season testing, while other teams faced challenges. Red Bull’s long run pace was superior to that of its closest competitors, with Ferrari and possibly Aston Martin having better single-lap performance than Mercedes.
The headline times from the first day of 2023 Formula 1 pre-season testing are subject to uncertainties that can affect their interpretation.
These include variables such as differences in fuel loads and the specific objectives of each team’s program. In addition, the impact of the fluctuating track temperatures on lap times is an unknown factor that further complicates the analysis.
Regardless of the factors that may affect the analysis, it is evident that Red Bull is performing exceptionally well in the 2023 Formula 1 pre-season testing.
The team’s car, driven by Max Verstappen, consistently demonstrated impressive speed, completing the most laps of any team and setting the fastest headline time. Furthermore, Red Bull’s long run pace was superior to that of the other teams, indicating that they are in excellent shape heading into the upcoming season.
During the pre-season testing, Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin car nearly matched Verstappen’s headline time.
However, it is important to note that Alonso set his lap time during the cooler dusk period, while Verstappen’s lap was completed in warmer conditions.
It is difficult to determine the exact impact of the fluctuating track temperatures on lap times, which represents an unknown variable in the analysis.
Therefore, it is uncertain how much time difference can be attributed solely to the difference in temperature at the time the laps were set.
Based on the longer runs during pre-season testing, the Red Bull car appeared to have a three to four-tenths-of-a-second advantage over its closest competitors:
Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Mercedes. However, the Mercedes car seemed to lack the same level of single-lap performance as the Ferrari and possibly the Aston Martin.
These observations suggest that Red Bull is in a strong position heading into the new season, with its car demonstrating both excellent speed and consistency over longer runs. Nonetheless, it is worth keeping in mind that pre-season testing results may not always be indicative of actual performance in the upcoming races, as the teams may still have further developments to make on their cars.
Some of the other teams faced challenges during pre-season testing. The Ferrari car experienced low-frequency bouncing, while the Mercedes car appeared to be unsettled when driving over kerbs.
Among the other teams, the Alfa Romeo, Williams, and possibly Haas seemed to have solid midfield cars, although Alex Albon’s fast lap time for Williams was achieved on softer tires than most others were using. Lando Norris set a quick time for McLaren, but it was a one-off and achieved late in the day.
The AlphaTauri car seemed hesitant to rotate on slower corners, and the Alpine car felt difficult to handle due to its stiffness. These observations highlight the varying levels of performance and challenges faced by different teams during pre-season testing.
F1 2023 Pre-season Day 1 F1 2023 Pre-season Day 1 F1 2023 Pre-season Day 1
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