F1 2022 Testing, Oscar Biastri, McLaren, debut, Daniel Ricciardo, Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina, Jacques Doohan, Alpine

The 2022 Formula 1 season is over. The 2023 season is about to begin.

With the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix all 10 teams taking to the Yas Marina circuit again for a one-day test they all hope will give them a chance to prepare until 2023.

And while there will be three starters on track with the goal of maximizing their seat time, none will shine the spotlight on them like Australian Oscar Piastri.

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This is Bastry’s first official week as a full-time racing driver at McLaren, and from today until next season he will be the most watched driver in Formula 1.

You couldn’t come up with a better way for the driver to get into the sport.

Piastri is a rare talent, as evidenced by his impressive rookie championships in Formula Renault Eurocup, Formula 3 and Formula 2.

His year on the sidelines as part of the Alpine driver’s predicament was a bump in the road, but as part of that program he completed more than 3,000 km of testing in previous cars in preparation for his debut.

But his high-profile rift with management has heightened interest in his important story as one of the key players in the 2023 driver market. His relegation to McLaren, prompting the team to sack Daniel Ricciardo, has intensified the spotlight.

But after the turmoil of the past four months and the frustration of not racing in nearly a year, he’s finally officially a full-time Formula 1 driver, the 18-year-old from Australia.

As of yesterday, he has been welcomed back into the paddock and has been free to don his first real set of papaya overalls as a Formula 1 driver.

His seat is out of the way, and today he will be covering his first official kilometers in pursuit of a fast start in 2023.

What are the risks in the test?

The biggest hurdle facing young drivers like Piastri in making their Formula 1 debut is not the number of races, the physicality of the cars or the non-racing demands of their time.

It’s the miles.

Over the past decade or so, Formula 1 has been gradually reducing testing time to the point where it is now prohibited in all but the previous few circumstances. Outside of pre-season testing and one-day post-season testing, there is no way for young drivers to get representative bench time.

This means that every minute in the seat is very precious – especially given the regulations have changed dramatically this year, making the special tests in last year’s machinery of limited use beyond physical training.

“Kilometers in Formula 1 cars for racing drivers are very limited nowadays,” said Andreas Seidl, director of McLaren. “So it’s obviously a very important test for us to get an initial read on Oscar’s part and also on our car and give him an initial feel, which is simply the starting point to make sure we’re ready for the Bahrain game next year.

“We have a good program in place. I think we also have a lot of experience preparing young drivers for their first race in Formula 1. That’s obviously the goal.

“We want to try as hard as we can with Oscar [so] The first race in Bahrain next year actually doesn’t seem like the first race for him in Formula 1.”

It’s also a crucial opportunity for Bystri to embed himself among the team and especially his garage crew, who have been working with Ricciardo this season. The relationship between the driver, the mechanics and the engineers, and in particular the race engineer, is critical to achieving their full potential.

Finally, Piastri could use the day to show the team how he likes to drive his cars. While it’s too late for him to get any meaningful input on the 2023 car’s philosophy, he’ll still be able to work around the edges to push the car closer to where he likes it.

This could be particularly important given the well-known characteristics of the McLaren car that eventually forced Ricciardo out of the sport after two uncontested seasons.

What else happens in the test?

With in-season testing effectively banned in F1 for cost-saving reasons, the nine-hour session is the last chance teams have to troubleshoot outstanding issues with the 2022 machines with a view to not repeating the same mistakes in 2023.

The next chance they will have to make any serious runs will be pre-season testing in Bahrain next year just a week before the first Grand Prix.

It’s also the first time teams tend to have access to drivers who switch from a competing constructor. Fernando Alonso will make his debut in Aston Martin gear, with Pierre Gasly also free to take the former Spaniard’s seat at the Alps from this week.

But arguably the most important component of the test is that Pirelli will give teams full access to next year’s framesets. A deep understanding of Pirelli rubber is critical to success, and with very little track time allowed outside of weekends, those nine hours will influence who gets the best start into 2023.

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Next year’s tires differ subtly from those used this season, with the biggest difference being in their construction. Pirelli is reinforcing the structures of its tires to try to improve front-end grip and overcome the skew inherent in this new generation of cars. The lack of front end response was a major concern for Max Verstappen early in the year and is linked to Ricciardo’s struggles this season.

The new chassis will also allow teams to run with lower tire pressures.

Furthermore, Pirelli introduces a new C1 rigid compound that is slightly lighter than the one it used this season to open up potential new strategies on some tracks. The current hard drive will be renamed C0 and used in the strictest circles only.

the rules

Each team will present two cars. They must be set up to a specification used during the race this season, so teams cannot bring in 2023-spec machines and cannot use 2023-spec parts unless they have already used them in a Grand Prix.

One of the cars must be driven by a rookie with two or less racing experience. This is a huge advantage for F1 newcomers, who get a car to themselves all day.

Other than Piastri, fellow rookies Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant will also get their first big cracks in modern F1 machines but will debut with extraordinary amounts of testing experience already under their belts.

De Vries has run in four training sessions for three different teams this year too, and also made a surprise debut for Williams at the Italian Grand Prix in place of Alex Albon’s injury, sensationally scoring his first points.

Sargent is also new to a full F2 season and four consecutive practice sessions for the Williams team.

UPS line test

Every team except Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Haas will feature in their driver lineups for 2023, with Esteban Ocon, Zhou Guanyu and Kevin Magnussen absent from testing.

Jack Doohan has his third representative outing in the 2022 Alpine car, after spending two hours of free practice in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi in the past two months.

He also got 100km in the car earlier in the year on a photo shoot, although these are done with specific test tires and must be done for “purely marketing or promotional purposes” per the rules.

Doohan finished sixth in the F2 standings after one of his front wheels came loose late in the feature race. He had led the race earlier on an alternate strategy.

Is this Daniel Ricciardo’s last race in Formula One? | 03:28

Mercedes junior Frederik Veste will also get a ride after his disappointing Formula 2 debut. The Dane is moving to the highly rated Prema team for next year’s season.

Formula 2 champion Filipe Drugovic and runner-up Theo Borchier will be on track with Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo respectively. Pourchaire has a chance to replace Zhou in 2024 if he wins the F2 Championship in what would be his third attempt.

Pietro Fittipaldi will enter Haas testing, but is likely to explore his options to race in the US next year after he was tipped off to Nico Hulkenberg to drive for 2023.

Red Bull Racing: Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Liam Lawson

Ferrari: Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, and Robert Schwartzman

Mercedes: George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Frederick Veste

Alps: Pierre Gasly and Jacques Doohan

McLarenLando Norris and Oscar Piastri

Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas and Theo Pourchaire

Aston Martin: Lance Stroll, Fernando Alonso, and Philip Drugovich

AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda and Nick de Vries

Haas: Nico Hulkenberg and Pietro Fittipaldi

williams: Alex Albon and Logan Sargent

Testing starts at 4 PM (EST) and runs until 1 AM.

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