Formula 1

Everything that’s happened in final 2022 F1 test so far

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Two red flags have interrupted the first half of Formula 1’s post-season Abu Dhabi test, as Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg and Oscar Piastri made their debuts for their 2023 teams.

The one-day test at the Yas Marina circuit kicked off at 9am local time and will run until 6pm.

Alonso was the first driver to hit the track on his first morning driving for Aston Martin, which had to prepare a branding-free AMR22 for the two-time world champion, who is driving effectively on loan from his 2022 team Alpine.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Abu Dhabi, Uae

A similar agreement is why Alonso’s successor Gasly is in a neutral race suit at Alpine, although his crash helmet is decked out with Alpine’s sponsors – while Alonso has a sticker-free camouflage design.

McLaren’s new signing Piastri was the cause of the first red flag, following a minor technical anomaly that prompted a precautionary stoppage on-track.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Abu Dhabi, Uae

The second came just after the four-hour mark, to clear debris on track between Turns 3 and 4.

Hulkenberg’s Haas debut was also interrupted by a mechanical issue that caused him to stop early in the morning but he was able to park somewhere that did not require any session interruption.

The car was also able to be retrieved, allowing him to return to the track, although he was limited to just 27 laps in the first four hours.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Abu Dhabi, Uae

Charles Leclerc was quickest after the first four hours of running, improving in the third hour to a 1m25.383s. That’s 1.5 seconds slower than Max Vestappen’s pole time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Laptimes are largely meaningless in this test, not least because the cars are all running 2023 Pirelli tyres and teams have different allocations for each driver.

One car is being run for ‘young drivers’ – someone who has not competed in more than two grands prix – while the other is the nominal ‘tyre test’ car driven by a driver with an F1 superlicence.

The young driver car has two sets of C3 tyres, four sets of C4s, and two sets of C5s – which is the softer end end of the Pirelli range.

Motor Racing Formula One Testing Abu Dhabi, Uae

But the tyre test car, unsurprisingly, has a broader allocation: one set of C1s, two sets of C2s, three sets of C3s, three sets of C4s and two sets of C5s.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez has been the busiest so far, completing 88 laps in the first four hours. He hands his car over to F1 world champion Verstappen in the afternoon.

Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) will take over their teams’ respective tyre test work in the afternoon.

Abu Dhabi test times after four hours

Driver Team Laptime Laps
Leclerc Ferrari 1m25.383s 50
Shwartzman Ferrari 1m26.067s 62
Alonso Aston Martin 1m26.312s 69
Perez Red Bull 1m26.333s 88
Gasly Alpine 1m26.555s 62
Bottas Alfa Romeo 1m26.709s 51
Norris McLaren 1m26.890s 44
Drugovich Aston Martin 1m27.053s 57
Albon Williams 1m27.369s 45
Lawson Red Bull 1m27.490s 46
Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1m27.565s 55
Doohan Alpine 1m27.569s 57
Pourchaire Alfa Romeo 1m27.591s 52
Russell Mercedes 1m27.639s 45
Fittipaldi Haas 1m27.690s 49
De Vries AlphaTauri 1m27.696s 68
Piastri McLaren 1m27.892s 50
Hulkenberg Aston Martin 1m28.412s 27
Sargeant Williams 1m28.413s 37
Vesti Mercedes 1m28.446s 69

Abu Dhabi test line-up

Team ‘Young driver’ car ‘Tyre test’ car*
Red Bull Liam Lawson Sergio Perez/Max Verstappen
Ferrari Robert Shwartzman Charles Leclerc/Carlos Sainz
Mercedes Frederik Vesti Lewis Hamilton/George Russell
Alpine Jack Doohan Pierre Gasly
McLaren Oscar Piastri Lando Norris
Alfa Romeo Theo Pourchaire Valtteri Bottas
Aston Martin Felipe Drugovich Fernando Alonso/Lance Stroll
Haas Pietro Fittipaldi Nico Hulkenberg
AlphaTauri Nyck de Vries Yuki Tsunoda
Williams Logan Sargeant Alex Albon

*Must be a driver with a superlicence, usually this is the only car running Pirelli’s tyres for the following season

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