Formula 1 concluded its 2022 season in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday with a post season test used to sample Pirelli’s 2023 tyres as well as running rookie drivers.
All ten F1 teams took part in Abu Dhabi’s post season test on the Tuesday after Sunday’s 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and were allowed to run two cars, one allocated for their regular drivers but only allowed to run Pirelli’s 2023 tyres. The other car was restricted to a rookie driver with free tyre choice.
Several drivers made their debut with their new teams, those were:
Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin
Pierre Gasly – Alpine
Oscar Piastri – McLaren
Nico Hulkenberg – Haas
Nyck de Vries – AlphaTauri
Logan Sargeant – Williams
As for the rookie drivers that took part in the test, those were:
Robert Shwartzman – Ferrari
Liam Lawson – Red Bull
Jack Doohan – Alpine
Felipe Drugovich – Aston Martin
Pietro Fittipaldi – Haas
Frederik Vesti – Mercedes
Theo Pourchaire – Alfa Romeo
Max Verstappen ran 76 laps and clocked a best time of 1:25.854 good for fifth fastest, while Sergio Perez drove 88 laps with a best time of 1:26.312, the 13th fastest time.
Max Verstappen said: “We completed our programme and got a first, basic understanding for next year, which I think worked out well. It’s always nice, when you have the final compound construction, to get a few laps in but at each track the tyres behave differently, so it’s difficult to judge. Having said that, it’s always better to have something rather than nothing. Overall, everything behaved quite normally, so it was a good day.”
Sergio Perez said: “I think we have had a good morning overall and have plenty of information to give to the Team and the engineers, so I am pleased with the work we have done. The new compounds still tend to be quite close, as they were this season, but the front is a little bit stronger than the 2022 versions. We are working with the tyres in very hot conditions here and everything is still early days, so we still have a lot to learn and analyse. It will be interesting to see how they perform in cooler temperatures, which would reflect race temperatures better, when Max is in the car later on.”
The rookie driver for Red Bull, Liam Lawson drove 111 laps with a best lap time of 1:26.281 good for tenth fastest.
Liam Lawson said: “Days like today are very important. F1 testing is very limited, so track time is extremely valuable and I’m grateful that I got to drive the and to help the Team with development for next year. But also, for myself, it’s really important as well. It’s so different to anything else we drive. Obviously, you go from junior categories to prepare for it, but honestly, nothing can. And today the sessions went really well. After a full day, I definitely feel more comfortable in the car and hopefully I’ll get more opportunities like this in the future.”
Carlos Sainz ran 65 laps and clocked a best time of 1:25.245 good for 17th fastest, while Charles Leclerc drove 56 laps with a best time of 1:25.383, the second fastest time.
The rookie driver for Ferrari, Robert Shwartzman drove 116 laps with a best lap time of 1:25.400 good for third fastest.
Robert Shwartzman said: “We finished a very positive test day here in Abu Dhabi with 116 laps and a solid amount of work. The testing programme was quite comprehensive with performance runs, race simulations, tests and practice starts. I feel I made a good improvement from Friday’s FP1 and for most of the sessions I was fairly close to Charles and Carlos pace wise which is also very positive for me. There are always things to improve but I think the potential we showed was very good.
“In general I am also very happy with the work we did this year with the team back in Maranello on the simulator as the car feels very similar. It was great having the chance to drive for the team again and I really enjoyed today.”
Lewis Hamilton ran 67 laps and clocked a best time of 1:26.750 the 17th fastest in the session, while George Russell drove 73 laps with a best time of 1:27.140, the 23rd fastest time.
The rookie driver for Mercedes, Frederik Vesti drove 124 laps with a best lap time of 1:27.216 good for 22nd fastest.
Frederik Vesti said: “It’s been the most incredible day you can imagine, 260kph through the high-speed corners, braking after the 100m boards doing over 300kph. It’s absolutely insane. I got to do more than two grands prix in laps, so 124 laps in a Formula 1 car, just learning every single lap, and getting better. It’s definitely something I can use for my Formula 2 season next year which is a big help. I really want to thank my partners, sponsors and everyone who has made it possible, and of course a huge thank you to Mercedes giving me this opportunity. It’s a great boost for my career and I’m really hoping to be back in a Formula 1 car soon.”
Pierre Gasly made his debut for Alpine and drove 130 laps with his best lap time being 1:25.689 good for fourth fastest. Esteban Ocon did not take part in the test.
Pierre Gasly: “Firstly, thanks to the entire team for making me feel so welcome over the last two days and I’m feeling ready to begin this next chapter in my career. It was a fantastic feeling to drive the A522 for the first time, and, I must say, it’s an impressive car. The objectives for me today were all about getting used to my new surroundings, working closely with the engineers and, generally, building up my learning in the car and getting an understanding for its characteristics. We completed many laps – as per our plan – and I’m already very excited to fully embed myself in the team. I’m looking forward to visiting everyone at Viry and Enstone, debriefing on this test, before working towards our objectives alongside Esteban for the 2023 season.”
The rookie driver for Alpine, Jack Doohan drove 111 laps with a best lap time of 1:26.297 good for 11th fastest.
Jack Doohan: “It’s been another good experience driving a Formula 1 car today and I’m very grateful to Alpine for this opportunity. It’s been a busy day, plenty of laps, and a lot of new things to take on board, and I’m pretty pleased with how it’s progressed. Last weekend in Free Practice 1 was only one hour long, so to have a full day in the car is extremely useful as you can get a lot done in a less pressured environment. Thanks to Alpine for a brilliant year and I’m excited for the hard work to continue next season. Now my focus turns back to Formula 2 again where I’m back in the car for three days of testing in Abu Dhabi before the off-season.”
Oscar Piastri made his debut for McLaren and drove 123 laps with his best lap time being 1:26.340 good for 14th fastest.
Lando Norris drove 115 laps, clocked a best time of 1:26.890 good for 18th fastest.
Lando Norris said: “Useful day. It was good to get some time with these tyres to help Pirelli’s development of them into 2023 and to gather important data on how they operate. It was a productive day to round out the season. Big thanks to Pirelli and the team for their hard work. We’ll now head into the winter focused on preparing for the 2023 season and doing everything we can to start next year on the front foot.”
Oscar Piastri said: “A good first day with McLaren, I think we learnt a lot. It was great to finally join up with the team, and thanks to them for a good day of running. We did a lot of laps and experimented a lot which is exactly what today is all about. I’ve got a good idea where to improve for next year. I really enjoyed it, it’s nice to be back out on track finally and experience the 2022 cars. I’m looking forward to next year now, I’ll be in the factory next week to meet the whole team, after that I’ll take a short break before getting back to work with McLaren to prepare for next year.”
Nyck de Vries made his debut for AlphaTauri and drove 151 laps with his best lap time being 1:26.111 good for eighth fastest.
Yuki Tsunoda drove 135 laps, clocked a best time of 1:27.123 good for 20th fastest.
Fernando Alonso made his debut for Aston Martin and drove 97 laps with his best lap time being 1:26.312 good for 12th fastest.
Lance Stroll drove 70 laps, his best time 1:26.263 good for ninth fastest. The rookie driver for Aston Martin, Felipe Drugovich drove 106 laps with a best lap time of 1:26.595 good for 15th fastest.
Fernando Alonso said: “It was good! It was a very nice experience. I feel honoured to drive for such an iconic brand. It was a very special day, having the first go in the car and trying to feel also the differences [between Alpine and Aston Martin]. Obviously, we raced two days ago here, so it’s very fresh and it’s very useful. I tried to meet all the mechanics, the engineers, and [I will] try to remember a lot of new names, for sure!”
Of the tyres he said: “It felt good. I think the tyres were not too different compared to last year. Obviously, they tried to improve a few weaknesses that we had in 2022. They felt good – even on the extreme heat, now at midday. I think tyre-wise we should be very good in 2023.”
Nico Hulkeberg made his debut for Haas and drove 110 laps with his best lap time being 1:27.000 good for 19th fastest.
The rookie driver for Haas, Pietro Fittipaldi drove 99 laps with a best lap time of 1:27.172 good for 21st fastest.
Nico Hülkenberg said: “It was a good day of work, good running, collected many impressions and a lot of data – which was the target. We successfully went through our program. There’s a lot of things to pick through, digest and analyze now and over the next couple of weeks with the team. Today was about learning the tires for 2023, learning their characteristics and with these test days you have a bit more time to try stuff. I’m satisfied and happy with the day. There was a bit of human degradation towards the end day, but I coped better than expected to be honest – so that’s good. There’s now three months of hard-core preparation to get ready, I have a plan and I know what I have to do.”
Pietro Fittipaldi: “It was an amazing day of testing. We got just under 100 laps of testing in using the new 2023 tires. Again, I felt pretty comfortable in the car and fast off the bat – so that allowed us to kick on with the test program. It was a very positive day from my side. Thanks to the team for the opportunity.”
Logan Sargeant made his debut for Williams and drove 82 laps with his best lap time being 1:26.063 good for seventh fastest.
Alex Albon drove 118 laps, his best time 1:25.959 good for sixth fastest.
Alex Albon said: “Today at the post-season test we got good mileage in and everything went to plan. We got to test all the different compounds for next year and there will be a lot of data to look at over the winter months to try to understand the differences of the tyre, but inevitably there’s not a huge difference, I think it’s all small things. The hard work starts now working to make sure that we enter into Bahrain with the best possible car we can and I think today, with all the data that we have learnt, is going to help us do that.”
Logan Sargeant said: “Today went well. Throughout the day we gradually progressed, got through our test plan and completed all the laps we needed to do. By the end of the day I felt super comfortable. It was really nice to get a full day rather than a FP1 to properly get to grips with everything. My season hasn’t ended, there’s a lot of work to do over the next three months to prepare myself for next season. I’ll strictly be in the gym, on the simulator and working with everyone at Grove to ensure no stone is left unturned. I can’t wait to be back out on track for winter testing for my first season in Formula 1.”
Valtteri Bottas ran for 129 laps his best time 1:26.709 good for 16th fastest, while the rookie driver for Alfa Romeo was Theo Pourchaire, who drove 106 laps, with a best time of 1:27.591 the slowest time of the session.
Zhou Guanyu did not take part in the test.
Valtteri Bottas said: “A 129 laps after a grand prix weekend here is solid. We were focusing today on the Pirelli tyre test which is for test year’s tyres. A really valuable day, the car ran beautifully all day, so lots of laps, lots of learnings. It’s a good way to finish the season like this with a clean day.”
Theo Pourchaire said: “We are here trying a lot of things on the car, trying to improve the car setup from the weekend, trying to find new solutions and for me discovering F1, because I don’t have much track time with those cars. It feels amazing. It’s been a good session this morning, lots of laps, I discovered a few different tyres, few different setups, I tried to push the limits which is good. Sometimes I touched the limits but I didn’t break the car, which is good. Very happy, just tried to enjoy every lap, and it feels very good.”