Select F1 driver quotes from the final day of 2023 testing completed at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi
Sergio Perez said: “It was a very positive day, there was still lots to learn. It was important to put in the time, I drove more than twice the race distance today and I am pleased with the work we have done. Especially coming straight out of a race here, everything is still super fresh and the track was very representative, especially in the afternoon, so it was a productive test. We collected some good information for next season and it’s a great way to finish such a dominant year.”
Jake Dennis added: “What an amazing car! It was a very special day for me. In FP1 you sort of just jump in and try and survive, whereas today you can push the limits a little bit more and really understand the car. And I think we did just that. Between Checo and I, we got a lot of data for the Team. Obviously, my role today was a little bit different to Checo’s, but from my perspective we’ve got a lot of data to take back to the simulator side and try to improve things further for the RB20 and in general development. I enjoyed every lap out there, it’s been a great day.”
Gianpiero Lambiase, Head of Race Engineering, said: “We got through everything that we were hoping to achieve today. For Checo, it was a case of tidying up a few areas that he had some remaining question marks over throughout the season, which we completed and got some really good data. For Jake, it was about getting him even more familiar with the car. We looked at some various trade-offs between mechanical and aero test items that he can then look to provide some feedback on for his race support with us on the simulator, which is vital for us in our development for 2024.”
The 2023 season has officially come to an end. Scuderia Ferrari wrapped it up with a day’s testing in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina circuit. Driving duties fell to the two race drivers, who each spent time at the wheel of one of the SF-23s, while Robert Shwartzman had sole use of the other car all day as part of the Young Driver Test. Between the three of them they completed 258 laps: 123 for Robert, 69 for Carlos Sainz in the morning and 66 for Charles Leclerc in the afternoon.
Carlos was the first to hit the track, trying three tire compounds: the Spaniard started off on the C2, before moving on to the C5 and finally the C3. His best time was a solid 1’24”769 on the C5, the softest compound and it was the quickest time up until the lunch break. In the afternoon, it was Charles’ turn, running the C5, C1 and C4, his best time being a 1’25”371.
Robert Shwartzman did the most laps, on what was his third time this year behind the wheel of an SF-23, having previously driven it in free practice in Zandvoort and at Yas Marina last Friday. He ran three compounds, the C4, C3 and C5, his personal best time being a 1’25”050. However, he had to abort what would have been his quickest lap when Ayumu Iwasa in the AlphaTauri triggered a red flag. Overall, one SF-23 completed 125 laps and the other, 123, equivalent to two race distances each.
Robert Shwartzman #39
It was a busy day with a lot of running, during which we tested many things, completing a total of 123 laps. Both the team and I are happy with how it went and I really enjoyed driving a Formula 1 car over a full day again. We did some race runs that allowed us to check our pace with the tire degradation and we definitely gathered valuable information. At the end of the day, we also did some performance runs. Unfortunately, one got interrupted by a red flag and the other one by traffic.
The plan now is to go back to Maranello for some simulator work, help the engineers there before taking a holiday break after a long season, so as to return fresh next year, which I’m really looking forward to.
Esteban Ocon: “The on-track season has officially finished with post-race testing here in Abu Dhabi. We had a very busy day with an important and extensive program to go through. We ended up doing over two race distances and got through our plan successfully, testing different compounds, fuel loads and set-ups. It’s always nice to see your name next to P1 but on test days these things are irrelevant! We say goodbye to the A523 today, a car that brought us some highs and lows this season but which has also served as a base to emphasize the areas we need to improve in order to be better in 2024. Now it is time for some rest before starting our preparations for next season.”
Jack Doohan: “It’s been a great day and it’s always nice to have a full day’s testing as there’s that little bit more freedom to explore the car. Driving in Free Practice 1 was an amazing experience last week but on test days, there’s much more to do and the program is a whole lot bigger and more detailed. Today we ran through a busy checklist, assessed various tire compounds, fuel loads and set-up items and we completed 108 laps. I would say physically that’s a tough challenge but I feel good and it’s important for the team to have all the data. The car felt good and I’m pleased that we executed our program well. I felt comfortable, happy with the day’s work and now it’s time for a break from driving before we shift focus to working on next year.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Today was the final day of running in 2023 and we completed our programs as planned. The two cars completed 222 laps between them with Alex and Logan sharing the day in one car and Franco and Zak driving the Young Driver car.
Franco was very good this morning, completing more than 300km without any issues and at good pace. He experienced several of the Pirelli compounds and provided some valuable feedback and interesting comments about the FW45.
Zak was very quickly up to speed following his running in FP1. He quickly got accustomed to the improved track conditions and was able to find a good rhythm at low and high fuel. He was able to maximize the learning he got on Friday to manage the tires well and this helped him improve his lap time.
It was nice to finish the season with a clean and productive day and to end the FW45 running on a high. The whole team have worked tirelessly since February to operate and develop this car and, alongside our colleagues from Mercedes, we can be proud of what we have achieved. The travelling team now join the factory-based team in switching our full focus to FW46 and we are already looking forward to shaking it down in a couple of months’ time.
Zak O’Sullivan: It’s been an enjoyable day. Of course, for me it was good to have the reference from FP1, so I had a few areas to work on from there. Straight away from the first push lap I was able to match my pace from earlier in the week. It was good to get some proper representative running in also in quite relevant conditions in the middle of the day which was nice. We got through a good sweep of performance runs and race runs. I had more freedom to experiment with things and push a bit harder than FP1. Thanks again to Williams Racing for the opportunity to drive the FW45 this weekend and provide me with valuable experience.
Franco Colapinto: It’s been incredible to get my first taste of a Formula 1 car and to do it with Williams Racing. It’s hard to describe all the emotions, sensations and feelings I’ve went through today. Since I was very little, I’ve been dreaming of this moment of one day jumping in a Formula 1 car. Being able to drive the FW45 was an amazing experience. It’s been a great way to finish my first year as part of the Williams Racing Driver Academy. I tried to make the most of every lap and learn as much as possible. I’m very grateful to everyone one at Williams Racing for giving me this opportunity and the support they’ve shown.
“Thank you to everyone from Red Bull, Scuderia AlphaTauri, and Honda who made today possible. It was really fantastic and amazing! The morning program was designed for me to build up the pace progressively and not push to the limit immediately. In the afternoon, I was able to push more when we started putting on new sets of tires. Unfortunately, we had a car issue before the last push lap of the day that brought it to an early finish. We’re not exactly sure what it was yet, so we’ll continue investigating. I enjoyed the day, gained a huge amount of experience, and learned a lot of things about the car, the track, and from the team. I know what I learned today will help me a lot in my future racing.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)
“It was a pleasure to welcome Ayumu to the team and give him the opportunity to drive the AT04 on its final day of running in 2023. He started the day with some aero mapping work to characterize the car and compare to the tunnel data. It’s something we don’t have the luxury of completing during a usual Friday practice session of race weekends because of the time required to complete it. After a couple of runs with a baseline car, it was clear he was familiarizing himself quickly, so we were then able to complete a series of setup tests and tire work. These confirmed some of our beliefs about the recent setup directions we have explored with the race drivers. We were also able to start building up a database of test item knowledge for next year. Ayumu did a very solid job for the team and didn’t put a foot wrong. His feedback was clear, concise, and aligned with the test items he completed. He closed the day with two soft compound runs and was able to extract a good performance on the first, but didn’t get to complete the second stint due to a car issue we’re still investigating. Even with the issue, overall, it was a productive day. We completed all of the test items we had planned, and we could see Ayumu progress throughout. After a very long season, the team now heads back to Europe for a well-deserved break and to reset in preparation for coming back stronger in 2024.”