Pre-season testing ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season is now complete, and all ten teams are pouring through mountains of data accumulated over three days at Bahrain International Circuit. While lap times are to be taken with a grain of salt, as teams are using different fuel loads, tyre compounds, and running different programs, reliability is perhaps the biggest lesson teams can learn during testing.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen offered an amazing indicator of where their VF-23 was at the conclusion of testing, in a statement shared with the media including SB Nation. “It’s been a busy three days and that’s a very positive thing. Today we got a lot of laps in, and I was in the car from the beginning to the end – I only came out to go to the toilet!”
It was a solid three days of work for Magnussen, Nico Hülkenberg, and the entire Haas team. They completed 414 laps over the three days in Bahrain, fourth-most among the ten teams:
For Hülkenberg, it was a “good” three days that provided the team with a ton of information about the VF-23, information that is important for both the engineers, and the drivers. “All in all, it’s been good. I’ve got mileage in the car and I think I got what I was personally looking for, to get off on a good foot with the car, and find a good connection and harmony,” said Hülkenberg after testing. “I feel comfortable that the car does what I say and not the other way around. We’ve collected huge amounts of data that the team will go through and analyze over the next few days, and it’s all information that’s important for a driver as well.”
As for where Haas might stack up when the lap times count for real, that is still an open question. The feeling around Haas is that the team could push to the top of the midfield this season. Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer called the pairing of Magnussen and Hülkenberg the “best ever lineup for Haas,” and some outlets have listed Haas among the winners of pre-season testing.
Team Principal Guenther Steiner keeps his cards close to his chest, but did admit there was progress from last year. “In general, the test went very smoothly with very few issues compared to years before. The whole team came here very well prepared – we did our homework – so when we arrived, we were ready to go, and you could see that,” said Steiner on Saturday. “It was good progress from last year so now we need to see where we stack-up. It’s difficult to say still but we are in the midfield, let’s see if we’re at the top or the end of the midfield but we’re now ready for the race next weekend.”