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Formula 1 is back!

Aston Martin AMR23 in the Shakedown (Planet F1, 2023)

Every season, Formula 1 testing is a much-awaited occasion. After waiting for the entirety of the end-of-year break, millions of fans from all over the world finally see the new cars with their brand-new liveries on track. It is truly commendable to see the great engineering work that is done by these teams during this time. 


Whilst most of the results from testing don’t offer any accurate indication of how the pecking order will look come the first race of the season in Bahrain (from the 3rd to the 5th of March), it has given a fair share of storylines on which to reflect as we wait over the next few days. 


The most eye-catching team in testing has been Aston Martin, who have caught the eyes of most of the paddock, with many believing that Aston Martin may be ahead of their competition in this tight midfield. After beginning the first day of testing with challenges relating to Lance Stroll’s wrist injuries, stand-in Felipe Drugovich had some struggles of his own as he suffered reliability issues early on in the first session of running. From there though, they greatly turned it around with the team looking the most impressive and controlled. It is, however, to be seen whether they are able to maintain this advantage over the rest of the midfield come qualifying in Bahrain. 


Aston Martin also has one more question to address: Who replaces Lance Stroll? With the Canadian driver having a wrist injury that may rule him out of the first two races of the season, Aston Martin must decide whether to delegate responsibilities to Felipe Drugovich (who participated in testing over the morning on Day 1 and half of Day 2), the Formula E defending champion, Stoffel Vandoorne, or recently-retired 4-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel. Whilst Aston Martin has this dilemma to figure out, one thing is for sure, this pre-season testing will give them a lot of confidence and hope to head into the new season. 


Other than Aston Martin, one more team that will leave testing very pleased is the defending champions, Red Bull. With Sergio Perez setting the fastest lap of testing and the team logging in excess of 400 laps, Red Bull showed no signs of being affected by a limited wind tunnel testing time. Whilst the Milton Keynes outfit says that there are areas to still work on, the word best used to describe their current position is “ominous”. Red Bull seems ready for the 2023 challenge and will definitely pose a threat to their competition with the team looking much stronger than the rest of the grid. Max Verstappen in particular, given the form he is in at the moment, definitely looks like the driver to beat. 


One team that is leaving testing scratching their heads and supposedly even punching the wall (As Will Buxton allegedly saw Lando Norris do), McLaren seem to be in great trouble heading into this new season. During testing, they struggled with everything, reliability and pace. With their wheel brows struggling to stay in place, McLaren would have had flashbacks of last year where reliability issues with their brakes set them far behind where they would have hoped to be, ultimately leading to a disappointing season where they took a general step back from the year before. Whilst this year, they have started off on the back foot, they will need to make efficient use of their wind tunnel time in order to be able to develop their car in order to be competitive. 


Ultimately, this Formula 1 testing has given all fans worldwide a great appetizer for what is still to come over the course of this historic season. It is truly remarkable how close the midfield is and what these teams have been able to do with the resources they have. I look forward to seeing what unfolds in this 2023 season and I am sure that it will provide us with a lot of entertaining moments over the course of the 23 races that are to come!



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