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2023 F1 Bahrain test preview: Who is driving and when

The 2023 Formula 1 season kicks off in Bahrain on Thursday with three crucial days of testing ahead of next weekend's curtain-raiser at the same venue.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari F1-75

Due to relatively stable technical regulations, F1 winter testing has reverted to just a single three-day test at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Testing starts on Thursday 23 February at 07:00 GMT (10:00 local time) and runs until Saturday. All three days follow the same schedule, with the running taking place from 10:00 until 14:15 and from 15:15 until 19:30, pausing for a lunch break. It will be broadcast by F1 TV and most local rights holders.

Changes for 2023 include a raised floor in an effort to combat the dreaded porpoising effect that plagued several teams throughout last year, the first season of all-new technical regulations.

But with testing limited to just three days, teams will face an uphill battle to work through their run plans and get on top of how their new machinery behaves on track. Any reliability issues will be very costly, and therefore most teams have already used up one or more filming days to shake down their cars and get early gremlins out of the way.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W14

Photo by: Mercedes AMG

That means drivers will only receive one-day-and-a-half to adjust to their new cars, with the likes of George Russell and Fernando Alonso urging F1 to increase testing again for next year.

All eyes will be on top teams Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, with the latter playing down its chances to match its rivals early on despite making vast progress towards the end of a troubled 2022 season.

Lance Stroll is the notable absentee this week after the Canadian got injured during a bike accident in training. Aston Martin will replace him with reserve driver and reigning Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich alongside Fernando Alonso, while it is not yet known if Stroll will recover in time to take part in next week's Bahrain Grand Prix.

McLaren's Oscar Piastri, Williams driver Logan Sargeant and AlphaTauri's Nyck de Vries are the three full-time rookies in 2023, who will be looking to hit the ground running in Sakhir.

F1 Bahrain pre-season test driver line-up

Team 

Day 1 AM Day 1 PM Day 2 AM Day 2 PM Day 3 AM Day 3 PM

Red Bull 

Max Verstappen Max Verstappen Sergio Perez Max Verstappen Sergio Perez Sergio Perez

Ferrari 

Carlos Sainz Charles Leclerc Carlos Sainz Charles Leclerc Charles Leclerc Carlos Sainz

Mercedes 

George Russell Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton George Russell George Russell Lewis Hamilton

Alpine 

Pierre Gasly Esteban Ocon Esteban Ocon Pierre Gasly Pierre Gasly Esteban Ocon

McLaren 

Oscar Piastri Lando Norris Lando Norris Oscar Piastri Oscar Piastri Lando Norris

Alfa Romeo 

Zhou Guanyu Valtteri Bottas Zhou Guanyu Zhou Guanyu Valtteri Bottas Valtteri Bottas

Aston Martin 

Fernando Alonso Felipe Drugovich Fernando Alonso Fernando Alonso Felipe Drugovich Fernando Alonso

Haas 

Nico Hulkenberg Kevin Magnussen Kevin Magnussen Nico Hulkenberg Nico Hulkenberg Kevin Magnussen

AlphaTauri 

Yuki Tsunoda Nyck de Vries Yuki Tsunoda Nyck de Vries Nyck de Vries Yuki Tsunoda

Williams 

Alex Albon Logan Sargeant Logan Sargeant Logan Sargeant Alex Albon Alex Albon

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