The 2023 season of Formula One has kicked off with the much-anticipated testing session in Barhain. Teams have been hard at work preparing their cars for the upcoming season, and the first day of testing has given us a glimpse of what to expect. With the new heigh regulation to help minimize porpoising, in order to keep the same stability in the corners, you have to stiffen the suspension otherwise you have a car tat handles like a big sedan in the corners. I feared that the new ride height regulation would take away one of my favorite thing about Formula 1 and, that is the sparks generated from the under plate. I was right, it still exists to a level as I’ve witness so far in testing but not nearly as much. I think the drivers will like that very much when their cars don’t feel like its scrapping on snow like Boston after a snow storm.
With higher ride heigh, you minimize bounce but you have to stiffen the suspension, the feels less bumps but the ones they do feel, is more pronounced. An extreme example of how bad the effect of porpoising can be on the drivers. Last year at Baku, 7 times world champion Lewis Hamilton could barely get out of his car after the race from excruciating pain from the feedback from his car bouncing on the track the whole race.
AMG Petronas Mercedes, the reigning constructors’ champions, have started the testing session on a strong note. The team’s new car, the W14, has impressed many with its pace and stability on the track. The team’s star driver, Lewis Hamilton, was also in fine form, setting the fast time and looks very pleased with his new car. Lewis said in multiple interviews that the last year W13 was the worst car he has drivers in decade. Mercedes says that where they are now as compared to season testing 2022, they could not be more different.
Red Bull Racing, have also looked competitive on the first day of testing. The team’s new car, the RB19, has shown good pace and consistency, with both drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, setting fast times. Verstappen drove over 150 laps of the track on day 1. That is over 530 miles in a car on day one after months having been out of the car, and although it is season testing, its rigorous driving, putting the car through stress test to work out every detail and expose every weaknesses. One can say he is eager to defend his world title for a second time.
Ferrari had a fast car in 2022 but unfortunately plagued by reliability issues. Charles Leclerc said that the results that the team got on day one of testing matched the numbers and information they data they had back at the factory so that means the car is performing exactly like they hoped it would. When asked about any cars that he has seen that looks good or potential competitor for this season, he responded ” It’s way to early to tell, we are testing our cars and we are not really showing everything and you don’t know which team is doing that as well so you cant look at the timesheet at this point. It’s still too early to tell, so we are just focusing on our development.
Fernando Alonzo looks good, seen dancing in the pit lane. He is seating in his new car with his new surrounding at Aston Martin after the retirement of Sebastian Vettel. Filipe Drugovich, seating in for Lance Stroll after his cycling accident just a days prior to season testing. He was hoping to get as much time in the car as possible while Lance is out but unfortunately, he left the garage, merged on the track and few hundred feet later, pulled off and stopped the car. Alpine is a team that a lot of people are saying is looking really good and their car looks really good and they are very happy with their car this year.
Williams have also shown promising signs on the first day of testing, Their new driver straight out of F2 after only one season, the American Logan Sargeant, is getting acquainted with the car quiet well. Alex Albon Said it’s been very smooth, we’ve had no setbacks, we are as prepared as we can be but in term of preparation, as a group, we are very happy. He continues, “If everything can be a bit more connected we should have better season. being fast on the straight and slow on the corner heats up the tires and after 70 laps it ads up”. Last year it seem like Williams didn’t have a very consistent set up, they had to go with whatever would go around the track the fastest and that involves often having to compromise one thing or another.
Overall, the first day of testing has provided us with an exciting glimpse of what to expect from the 2023 season of Formula One. Mercedes and Red Bull Racing seem to be the early favorites, but Ferrari, McLaren, and the other teams will be looking to challenge them throughout the season. In the sports there are many things that adds up to victory: I think personally that “Good drivers win with fast cars on the straights, skilled drivers win with reliable cars makes up the difference in the corners and their lack of mistakes”. With two more days of testing to go, there’s still plenty of time for teams to fine-tune their cars before the season opener in exactly where they are in Barhain.