F1: Bahrain Preseason Testing Day 1 Quotes

By Mark Cipolloni

Select quotes from Day 1 of F1 Preseason testing from Bahrain.

Oracle Red Bull

Max Verstappen
“We had a good day today, we completed a lot of laps which is what we wanted – almost three Grand Prix’s worth. It was also a smooth day; we barely had any issues and we could really focus on the car and try a few things. We had a lot of good running throughout the day when it was hot and sunny and also in the evening which is more representative. It’s nice to see how the car has evolved from last year. The behavior is a bit different because of the tires but otherwise, we are happy. It’s difficult to tell how the car will perform this season through one day of testing, the car is running well and that’s the most important thing. I’ll be running again tomorrow afternoon, so we’ll be trying out different compounds and seeing what else we can learn before the race next week.”

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN – FEBRUARY 23: Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19 during the Bahrain February Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday February 23, 2023 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Sutton / LAT Images)

GianPiero Lambiase, Head of Race Engineering
“Today was a promising start to the 2023 season as we were able to complete the planned program without major reliability concerns. Everyone’s hard work over the winter has really paid off as the car hit the ground running in terms of balance, and we were able to concentrate on testing various broader aerodynamic and mechanical configurations to better understand the new platform as well as the subtlety modified tire construction. We will continue to focus on ourselves and ensure we are as prepared for the first race as we can be by following a similar method over the next two days. There’s plenty of data analysis to do this evening, and then we look forward to Checo experiencing his first taste of the RB19 tomorrow. For Max, he has just four hours remaining before his season kicks off, so he needs to recover well overnight.”

Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso
“Overall I am pleased with the first official day of testing here in Bahrain in the AMR23. As a team, we reached 100 laps in total, which is a strong start for the first day despite some minor issues that we resolved. We are still experimenting with lots of different things, so every lap we do is important and we learn something new about the car every time we go out. These first steps are always intriguing and so far I am enjoying this part of the winter preparation. We will use the information and learning from today to optimize things further tomorrow.”

Felipe Drugovich
“Driving the AMR23 for the first time today was great; I really enjoyed it. I spent a few laps at the beginning of the day familiarizing myself with being back behind the wheel, but I felt like I got up to speed quickly and before long I was back in a good rhythm. Despite a small electronics issue, we completed our run plan and gathered some valuable data for the team. I did quite a lot of aerodynamic testing, which is incredibly important with a new car, but I also got to do a few push laps towards the end of the session, which were great fun. Finally, I want to wish Lance a quick recovery and also thank the team for trusting me with this opportunity.”

Tom McCullough, Performance Director
“A solid opening day of testing on the whole. We had a few issues, which cost us some track time, but when the car was running we were able to get through our test plan. We will have to recover the time we lost over the next two days to ensure we maximize our learnings ahead of the race next week. The car was responding well to the changes we made and we will continue to review the data this evening ahead of Fernando’s time in the car tomorrow. Felipe did an excellent job for us this morning with a lot procedural work to gather important aerodynamic data. He did not get quite as many laps in as we had planned due to this morning’s electronics issue, but in the time he did have he got up to speed quickly and did a really good job. Fernando made good progress during the afternoon session and is continuing to familiarize himself with the new car, tires and people around him. His feedback was incredibly valuable and will be hugely beneficial as we continue to learn more about the AMR23.”


Scuderia Ferrari’s SF-23 completed 136 laps (736 kilometers) on the first day of the only preseason test for this year, held at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

Program. There were three main objectives for the day: the usual aerodynamic mapping of the car, effectively correlating the data acquired on track with that seen in the wind tunnel and in digital modelling; checking all functions on the car over a greater distance than the 115 kilometers completed at the Fiorano track during the demo-drive at the launch on 14 February and the following day’s filming day; and for Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc to learn as much as possible about the new car.

Morning. Carlos drove out of the garage as soon as the pitlane light turned green, shortly after 10am (8 CET) and tried the C2, Prototype and C3 compound tires. He completed 72 laps (390 kilometers) setting a best time of 1’33”253 on the C3 compound.

Afternoon. After the lunch break, it was Charles’ turn to get behind the wheel. His time in the car was a bit busier, with various set-up changes. He did 64 laps (346 kilometers) running the same compounds as his team-mate. Tomorrow, it will once again be Carlos to drive in the morning and Charles in the afternoon.

Carlos Sainz Jr.
“Overall a positive first day. Reliability was good and we could run smoothly, covering the whole run plan and gathering valuable data, which is encouraging. We progressed well with the setup during the day, and we also managed to get good reads on the tires we tested in Abu Dhabi so, overall good progress made so far, and I’m looking forward to continuing tomorrow.”

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN – FEBRUARY 23: Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23 during the Bahrain February Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday February 23, 2023 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Sutton / LAT Images)

Charles Leclerc
“We have a busy first day of testing behind us. We completed 64 laps on my side, testing a bit of everything. Our focus was on set-up work, combined with some tire and aero testing, as well as runs with different fuel levels. We’re going to analyze our data now, and I look forward to another session tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc. Photo Courtesy of Ferrari


It was a productive first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain. The Team completed an extensive program, focusing on learning, correlation, and data gathering with the W14.

George drove in the morning, initially running with aero rakes before switching to set-up work halfway through the session. He logged 69 laps of running and posted a best time of 1m34.174s on the C3 tire.

Lewis took over for the second half of the day, completing 83 laps and finishing with a fastest time of a 1m33.508s also on the C3 tire. Following baseline running to begin the session, the focus switched to long runs and a tire compound sweep as the sun set.

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
We’ve had a solid start to testing. The car has run faultlessly from start to finish and that has allowed us to complete an ambitious program for day one. It always takes a few days to understand a new car, but we’ve got a reasonable handle on where we want to improve the balance. It was encouraging that it’s a much calmer, more stable platform to work with than the W13.

The performance picture is always blurred after the first day so it’s impossible to say where we stand, but we’ve already identified several key areas where we can find some performance. We’ll work on the assumption that we’re playing catch up and need to pull out all the stops to find performance ahead of the first race here in one week’s time. The next two days are going to be just as packed as today as we’re squeezing every bit of learning we can into the program. Hopefully the car continues to run like clockwork, and we can make the most of the remaining track time.

George Russell
It was great to be back out in the car and get a first real experience of the W14. It is still too early to say where our performance levels are relative to the competition, but we had a clean day and learned a lot. There are plenty of positives to take away and we can focus on maximizing the potential of the car in the coming days.

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN – FEBRUARY 23: George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14 during the Bahrain February Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on Thursday February 23, 2023 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Sam Bloxham / LAT Images)

Lewis Hamilton
It’s good to be back in the car here in Bahrain. It was a nice, cool afternoon weather-wise, though windy. We got through our program and have gathered lots of data. We also had good reliability which contributed to our strong mileage total; that is down to the amazing work done back at Brackley and Brixworth. We’ve got to keep pushing, focus on ourselves, and stay focused. It’s difficult to know where we are in the order, but we’ll get a better feeling in the days to come.

Lewis Hamilton 2023 Bahrain Pre-Season Test, Day 1 – LAT Images

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake had a successful first day of official track action, as Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas put the new C43 to the test at the Bahrain International Circuit. The team was able to enjoy a productive session with no major issues, maximizing the available time and completing more than a hundred and thirty laps.

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake will return to action tomorrow, as Zhou takes the wheel for day two of pre-season testing.

Zhou Guanyu (Car 24): “It felt good to be back in the car today. Everything went quite smoothly, and I felt comfortable straight away. Of course, this is only the opening day of testing, and there is plenty of work ahead for everyone, but it’s been a positive start. We have been able to complete all of our schedule, even though there was a pretty long red flag at the very beginning of the day. Overall, I can consider myself quite happy.”

Valtteri Bottas (Car 77): “Our running has been good today, we got through the whole program, which was our objective for today. Getting good mileage in on the first day of testing is the most important thing, and we were able to learn more about the car, find out the first indications on which setups work, how the new tires feel and all of that. Overall, it’s been a good Day One; there is still work to do, of course, but it has been a good start and I can already feel some improvements from last year.”


Nyck de Vries
“Today was our first day back on track with the AT04 at pre-season testing. In terms of execution and reliability, we had a positive day. Conditions were quite challenging with high track temperatures and strong winds, although this was the same for everybody. Ultimately, we went through the program and even if it’s early, we continue to work on learning about our car and gathering as much data as possible.”

Yuki Tsunoda
“Today went smooth as a team. We were able to achieve the targets that we had set out and I’m happy with how I felt in the car. Compared to last year’s AT03, I can feel the clear progress we’ve made. We have identified things that we will need to improve on to make the car better in terms of balance, but there is a lot of potential. I am excited to see how the car will progress over the next days of testing.”

Jody Egginton (Technical Director)
“It was a solid first day with no issues with the car and only a single red flag in the morning, allowing for the majority of the run program to be completed. Yuki drove first, with the early part of the morning given over to running the sidepod rakes and conducting several related aero tests. The data gathered from this is an important part of the correlation process. Following these tests, Yuki moved on to work on a number of test items and some basic set-up work, before handing over to Nyck for the afternoon session. Nyck continued with the various test items, making good use of both the C2 & C3 tire compounds to also gather some very useful tire data in the afternoon. It’s early days and, as normal, there will be variations in fuel loads and run programs across the teams, but overall, we are happy with what we have learned today. It gives us a clear idea of what to focus on going forward and we aim to build on this throughout the next two days.”


Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: We had a productive day of testing and completed everything that we planned. The drivers shared the workload and each now has one full day of testing before the opening race of the season. Both drove well today and quickly found a rhythm and confidence with the car.

The FW45 ran reliably all day and we found no major issues. With only three days of pre-season testing, this is very important.

Conditions today were a little tricky, with the wind gusts affecting the car’s behavior, and the tire performance changing as the track temperature varied. But this is typical for Bahrain and almost certainly representative of what we will face next weekend.

We got a lot done today and our challenge now is to complete the analysis in time to influence the setup and run program for tomorrow.

Thanks to the hard work of everyone here and in Grove, we’ve had a strong start to the new season but there is a long way yet to go. And this starts tomorrow.

Alex Albon: We got some good mileage in today which is a positive. So far, the FW45 is going okay and it’s been really useful to get some good laps in. In terms of pace, it’s really hard to say, especially in that mid-field section. We have a lot of work to do but I think these conditions are more representative of what we’re going to experience during the year, with the heat and the wind, compared to our rollout at Silverstone. It’s only day one of testing but it’s already been important for us to compare where we are year on year, seeing if we’ve improved in the right areas, and continuing to fine tune the car further and get into a sweet spot.

Logan Sargeant: It was nice to finally get the chance to get comfortable in the car. We got through a really busy run plan between Alex and I, which is great work from the team. I think it was relatively tricky as grip seemed quite low. There are a few things to work on going into the next two days, but we’re moving in the right direction. I’m hoping to make another good step forward tomorrow with a full day of driving.