F1 testing is finally here as the countdown to the eagerly-awaited 2023 season reaches peak excitement levels.
We’ve had the glitzy car launches [with minimal sightings of actual new cars] but soon there will be no place to hide as the 10 teams put their 2023 rocket ships on show on a public racetrack.
The annual pre-season testing takes place in Bahrain starting later today (Thursday), where timesheets and visual evidence will for the first time replace speculation and guesswork.
Here is all you need to know about when and where F1 testing takes place in 2023, how you can watch it live, and how it all works.
When is F1 testing in 2023? Full Schedule
We have three days of testing scheduled ahead of the 2023 season with two four-hour sessions run on each day.
Here are the key dates and start times:
Thursday February 23: 1000 local time (0700 UK, 0800 CET, 0200 EST, 2300 PST)
Thursday February 23: 1530 local time (1230 UK, 1330 CET, 0730 EST, 0430 PST)
Friday February 24: 1000 local time (0700 UK, 0800 CET, 0200 EST, 2300 PST)
Friday February 24: 1530 local time (1230 UK, 1330 CET, 0730 EST, 0430 PST)
Saturday February 25: 1000 local time (0700 UK, 0800 CET, 0200 EST, 2300 PST)
Saturday February 25: 1530 local time (1230 UK, 1330 CET, 0730 EST, 0430 PST)
How to watch F1 testing: TV channel & live stream
The audience for F1 is growing year on year at a significant rate - we have the hit Netflix show Drive to Survive to thank at least partly for that.
It is expected that testing in 2023 will again be carried by major broadcasters and TV channels in all key markets.
You should check local schedules for timings, but these are the outlets that have F1 rights locally in 2023, and could air the three days of tests from Bahrain:
UK: Sky Sports
Italy: Sky Sport F1
Germany: Sky Sport F1
France: Canal+, Canal+ Sport
Spain: DAZN F1
Netherlands: Viaplay Xtra
Brazil: TV Bandeirantes, BandSports
Australia: Fox Sports
Canada: RDS, TSN
Testing was also streamed in territories served by F1TV Pro in 2022, but we await official confirmation that it will be available to subscribers once again in 2023.
Where is F1 testing in 2023?
Testing once again takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, which will also host the very first Grand Prix weekend of the 2023 season from March 3-5 inclusive.
The 5.214km [3.363m] track was opened back in 2004 and blends a mix of long straights and tight corners.
The final two days of 2023 testing [Friday February 24 and Saturday February 25] are open to fans and tickets are available from the official Bahrain Grand Prix website.
How does F1 testing work and what are the rules?
There are no rules per se, but drivers will be afforded a maximum of one-and-a-half days (three sessions) in each in the car.
Schedules confirmed so far are as follows:
Thursday am: Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Oscar Piastri, Guanyou Zhou, Nico Hulkenberg, Yuki Tsunoda, Felipe Drugovich, Alex Albon.
Thursday pm: Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, Nyck de Vries, Fernando Alonso, Logan Sargeant.
Friday am: Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris, Guanyou Zhou, Kevin Magnussen, Yuki Tsunoda, Logan Sargeant.
Friday pm: Max Verstappen, George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Oscar Piastri, Guanyou Zhou, Nico Hulkenberg, Nyck de Vries, Logan Sargeant.
Saturday am: Sergio Perez, George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Oscar Piastri, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Nyck de Vries, Alex Albon.
Saturday pm: Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton, Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, Yuki Tsunoda, Alex Albon.
The cars will largely run with aerodynamic testing devices - largely aero rakes - which hang off the sides of cars and look like scaffolding.
These devices measure airflow so that teams can correlate data on track to data from wind tunnel and CFD testing.
The test will also provide drivers and engineers a chance to get back into the flow of a race weekend, going through countless procedures specific to both qualifying and the race.
This is of utmost importance for drivers switching teams and rookies, who can bed in before the beginning of the season.
Who is testing in F1 in 2023?
Testing in Bahrain gives F1 fans the first opportunity to see the new cars and their drivers in action on a racetrack this year. Apart from Lance Stroll that is - the Aston Martin driver will not be in action after being injured in a bike accident.
Here are the teams and driver lineups for 2023 (car numbers in brackets):
Red Bull: Max Verstappen (1), Sergio Perez (11)
Ferrari: Charles Leclerc (16), Carlos Sainz Jr (55)
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton (44), George Russell (63)
Alpine: Esteban Ocon (31), Pierre Gasly (10)
McLaren: Lando Norris (4), Oscar Piastri (81)
Aston Martin: Fernando Alonso (14), Lance Stroll (18)
AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda (22), Nyck de Vries (21)
Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas (77), Zhou Guanyu (24)
Haas: Kevin Magnussen (20), Nico Hulkenberg (27)
Williams: Alex Albon (23), Logan Sargeant (2)
New F1 cars and liveries for 2023
The 10 teams have now all had their season launches - from Red Bull in New York to Ferrari's supershow in front of the adoring tifosi at Maranello and Fiorano, Oh, and Alpine signing Zinedine Zidane!
Here are the first looks at the 2023 cars:
Red Bull RB 19
Aston Martin AMR23
Alfa Romeo C43
F1 testing FAQ
Will 2023 F1 cars be different?
After the radical changes to F1's technical regulations last season there are unlikely to be huge innovations in 2023, but there are subtle differences to note.
Regulation changes have been made to the floor ride height to combat the effects of porpoising after the issues experienced last year.
There will also be some rethinking going on at each team using the knowledge gained during the first campaign of the new era - some may switch concepts to something a rival used to an advantage.
What date is F1 2023?
The 23-race F1 calendar for 2023 starts with the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, March 5.
Are 2023 F1 tickets available?
Absolutely they are, but not for all races. Some of the grands prix [Austin for example] will go on sale later in 2023.
The range of ticket prices of course is wide - from thousands of euros for the most expensive grandstand VIP pass to just 40 euros to watch the action in Monaco from the Le Rocher general admission area. Several races offer general admission for fans looking for the cheapest deals.
The best places to buy official F1 tickets are either from the official F1 website or official race websites.
Which F1 drivers are not returning in 2023?
The grid will be missing some very famous and popular names in 2023. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement following the 2022 season, while Daniel Ricciardo lost his seat at McLaren and will spend 2023 as a Red Bull reserve driver.
Another man to lose his seat for 2023 was Mick Schumacher, and he will be reserve for Mercedes and McLaren this season following his departure from Haas.
The other driver missing from the grid which lined up in 2022 is former Williams man Nicholas Latifi.
Who are the new F1 drivers in 2023?
Exciting Australian youngster Oscar Piastri replaces his compatriot Ricciardo at McLaren, while America has a new F1 driver in the shape of Logan Sargeant at Williams.
Dutchman Nyck de Vries will partner Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri and Nico Hulkenberg makes a full-time return to the grid alongside Kevin Magnussen at Haas.