Formula 1 Racing

Who is driving in F1’s post-season Abu Dhabi test?

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

The final test of the year may mark a last outing for the 2022 cars, but it will provide useful preparation for 2023 as a number of drivers including Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri prepare to debut with their new teams.

The test is an important opportunity for newcomers to get a first read of their new teams, completing initial seat fittings and learning how the systems all work. Teams can also get feedback from the new driver about potential changes to make for next year on small but important details such as steering wheel buttons or pedal position.

Adding to the importance of the test is the fact there will be only three days of pre-season testing in 2023, taking place in Bahrain from 23-25 February. With the race drivers getting a day-and-a-half each, this extra day will be precious extra track time.

“It’s going to be always important, more in terms of comfort with the steering wheel, grip, buttons, pedals, you know, all these kinds of things,” said Fernando Alonso, who will make his first appearance for Aston Martin on Tuesday after his exit from Alpine.

“Next year, we have only one day-and-a-half in Bahrain, and then you start a championship. So a day like on Tuesday is gold for these kinds of things.”

The main focus for teams changing their driver line-ups for 2023 in the test will be to help their newcomers get up to speed and make an early start to life in their new surroundings.

Most drivers have contracts in place that run until the end of the year, meaning they had to get permission to get the go-ahead for the test and join on loan for a day before officially linking up at the start of the new year.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

That much is true for Alonso, who will be taking part in the test for Aston Martin in all-black overalls. He told in Austin that he always had control of his destiny to be able to do the test early, although he won’t officially become an Aston Martin driver until January 1.

Lance Stroll will complete some running at the end of the day, while Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich is in the young driver car.

Pierre Gasly and Nyck de Vries will also be changing garages and making their first appearances with their new teams at the test. Gasly will complete the full day for Alpine, while de Vries has been given permission by Mercedes to do the test for AlphaTauri ahead of his F1 debut next year.

Piastri will make his first…

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