What the teams said - Bahrain's Official Pre-Season Test

By on

With Bahrain's Official Pre-Season Test done and dusted, teams have one more week to analyse the data they gathered during the six-day of pre-season testing to get their revolutionary new machines ready for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin had a low-key pre-season period. Their new machine, the AMR22 has been reasonably reliable, albeit neither four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel nor Lance Stroll could deliver eye-catching lap times. It means that the Silverstone based outfit's pace remains a slight unknown, but there is certainly no major cause for concern with the first race just days away.

Lance Stroll:“We have learned a lot across the test, and every session with the car has been useful in progressing it further. Bahrain is a great circuit for testing the limits of the car in low- and high-speed corners, so it is positive that we were able to complete the programme as planned. It was quite windy at times, and that affected the cars on track.

"One of the big things around here is discovering how late you can brake, so those tail- and headwinds have quite an impact, as we discovered. All-in-all, it has been a productive test and there is a lot of data to go over to make sure we’re in the best possible position for the start of the season. The learning curve has been much greater this year, and I am enjoying working closely with the team to make improvements.”

Sebastian Vettel: “We ran through our programme and completed a lot of laps this afternoon, which capped a positive three days of testing in Bahrain. Lap times are largely irrelevant, so our focus has been on increasing our understanding of the AMR22. I am happy with the progress we have made, and we know it is going to be a long season of constantly trying to find further improvements. These cars are very different; you definitely notice the increased weight and it makes the cars a bit 'lazier' to drive.

"Everyone is coming across similar challenges and that’s part of the game. I think reading into lap-times is even more difficult this year but, behind the usual leading teams, it is a tight pack, so I expect fierce competition. Nobody really knows where they stand yet, and this coming week will be important in making sure we hit the ground running in Bahrain.”

Red Bull

Oracle Red Bull Racing completed a final day of pre-season testing before the start of the 2022 FIA Formula One World Championship, with Sergio Perez and World Champion Max Verstappen posting a combined total of 96 laps on another solid day of running. The tally took the drivers’ Sakhir test total to 320 laps, leaving the Milton Keynes based outfit well prepared for next weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen: “The main focus today was testing the tyres we are going to use next week. The car felt alright and we completed the programme we set out to do, so that’s always positive. No one gives full beans or goes to qualifying spec at testing, so we can’t read too much into the timing screens. The new parts we tested today worked well which is what we always hope for.”

Sergio Perez: “This morning was good. We have definitely learned a lot throughout this testing period and I think there is still so much to learn. There are lots of areas for improvement to arrive at the best performance package possible. Generally, we had a positive day and now I’m just looking forward to the race next weekend.”

Head of Race Engineering Guillaume Rocquelin said: “The lap times are irrelevant. Today was more about putting together the lessons we have learned over the past few days. It was about going through the process of running different compounds, so that the drivers are happy and that we have a platform to work from for next week.

"There were some slight differences in the tyre allocation between Max and Checo, but generally the idea was the same, to establish a good baseline with which we can start the race weekend and I think we achieved that.”

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo brought pre-season testing to a close with a successful day of running in Bahrain, despite a late technical issue that cut the session 40 minutes short of the full eight hours. The team completed 150 laps, its highest tally for a single day in pre-season, to finish its preparations for next week’s championship opener in Sakhir.

Zhou Guanyu: “It feels good to finish pre-season testing with a strong day: I feel we made another step forward. It’s nice to see constant progress from the team every day and to be able to get some proper short and long runs on a day when it all came together. I had my busiest day in the car and I was also able to go through the procedures that we’ll use during next week’s race weekend: there’s a lot for me to take in tonight but I can be satisfied with the work we have done in pre-season. The team did a great job making me feel at ease and giving me the tools to prepare properly. I feel I am fully ready for the start of the season.”

Valtteri Bottas: “A very positive day up until the issue that stopped us at the end of the day. We definitely learnt a lot more here in Bahrain than in Barcelona: there are still a few little issues to be solved but I can really say that the car’s potential is there and, by the end of the day, I was really starting to enjoy it.

"We need to make sure we address all issues and make sure they don’t happen again, but I am confident we will take the next few days to do so. Looking at our performance, we learnt a lot about our car and we will keep learning next week. I am ready, we as a team are ready and I can’t wait to race.”


The last day of the final pre-season test of 2022 saw Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc work on a programme which was the mirror image of yesterday’s. Overall, the Scuderia Ferrari drivers did 119 laps, equivalent to 644 kilometres, thus bringing the total over the three days to 349 laps (1.889 km). It means that the F1-75 has completed a total of 788 laps (3.941 km) between the Barcelona and Sakhir tests, more than any of its competitors.

Mattia Binotto commented: "We cannot draw any definite conclusions, because it will take a few races before we can get a picture of the pecking order among the teams. However, what we can say now is that these past few days have been positive for us.

"We were well prepared for these test sessions, as can be seen from the fact we were able to run consistently, without any significant issues, which allowed us to complete more laps than any other team. Our main aim was to gather as much data as possible to understand this completely new car, correlating it with what we had from our tools back in the factory, primarily the simulator.

"It’s very hard to say where we are in performance terms and there’s no reason why the frontrunners from last season should not once again be the favourites. We will try to be ahead of the chasing pack, which I hope to be very evenly matched Our car is a good basis on which to build and to maximise its potential given that, with such a long season, car development will play a vital role. Charles and Carlos came into these tests in great shape and they have made a major contribution to us getting the most out of these days. Finally, it’s great to see so many different interpretations of the rules among all the teams. We can expect a very interesting season", the Italian concluded.


Following a successful test in Barcelona, McLaren had a fair share of bad luck in Bahrain. At first, Daniel Ricciardo felt unwell only to test then positive for Covid-19, ruling him out of any running during the Official Pre-Season Test. Then Lando Norris encountered braking issues, with overheating looking a problem for the team. Although the Woking based team flew in new parts, the problem could not be fully solved for the final day, meaning that the British squad was restricted in what they were able to conduct in the crucial running.

Lando Norris: “A better final day. We ended with some more positives with thankfully a lot more running. The team made some good progress with the problems we’ve been having. There’s still a lot of improvements to be made for us to able to compete next week.

"We have a better understanding of the car, and we’ll try to implement all of that next week and improve everything going into the first race of the season. So, a tough three days, not what we wanted but good enough. We’ve learnt a lot and made the most of it, which is the most important thing.”

Andreas Seidl: “After a positive start in Barcelona, we’ve had a very challenging test here in Bahrain. Our running has been compromised by an issue on the front axle. Time constraints did not allow us to entirely solve this during the test but we were able to move forward, despite a limitation in the number of laps we could complete. We continued to improve our understanding of the car and extract more performance over the course of the test.

“The objective is to fully solve this issue before next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, giving it our all here at the track and at the MTC to catch-up on what we’ve lost over the past three days. Thanks to our entire trackside team, the team back home at the factory and our colleagues from Mercedes HPP for their hard work during this test. Thanks also to Lando for completing all three days, with Daniel unavailable, testing positive for covid. We wish him a speedy recovery and are looking forward to having him back next weekend for the first race of the season. Winter testing has now concluded and we’re very excited to be going racing again.”


The final day of pre-season testing for 2022 saw Mercedes complete its most laps so far in Bahrain with Lewis Hamilton running a race simulation in the morning and George Russell focusing on a single lap programme in the afternoon. The team experimented with a range of set up configurations to better understand the bouncing issues affecting this generation of cars and harvest data which will be worked on over the coming days as the team tries to unlock the true performance of the W13.

Lewis Hamilton: We have some hurdles to overcome and obviously next week we'll get a much better showing of our pace. I'm sure everyone can figure out that we are not the quickest at the moment. There is potential within our car to get us there but we've just got to learn to be able to extract it and fix some of the problems, which is what we're working flat-out on.

"I think everyone struggled out on this bumpy track and we come out of testing knowing that we still have a lot of work to do. There's a confidence within the team that we can always work through whatever problem we're facing and that’s what we’ll do. I have all the faith in the men and women back at the factories to get on top of our issues. One thing is for certain, we’ll be bringing our fighting spirit to the first race next weekend!

George Russell: It’s been a productive few days and very intriguing at the same time, with so much to learn about these 2022 cars and tyres. We got through our programme with few reliability issues so great from that perspective. We were trying to get every last bit of performance out of the car and push the limits and when you’re doing that, you’re bouncing around a lot! It’s not the most comfortable but I don’t really care about comfort as long as the performance is there.

"At the moment, we seem a step behind our rivals and we have a lot of work to do between now and next week to better understand the car. There’s a lot of potential in the W13 and I believe our guys are going to get to the bottom of it, we just need to find a way to unlock our performance. The bouncing is affecting our ability to put the car in the right window and the team are working incredibly hard to find solutions for this. This is a long game and I do believe our performance is there, we’ve just got to find it.


The final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain kicked off early for Kevin Magnussen with Haas F1 Team starting the day promptly one hour ahead of the rest of the field as the team continued to recoup its lost time from earlier in the week thanks to an air freight delay.

Magnussen quickly added to the 60 laps he recorded on Friday afternoon – where the Dane piloted the VF-22 to the top of the timesheets on his return to Formula 1. It wasn’t a problem-free morning for Magnussen however, a fuel system issue ending his run-plan earlier than planned as the team worked to rectify the issue before Schumacher’s afternoon program commenced. Magnussen recorded a total of 38 laps with a best lap of 1:38.616 set on the harder Pirelli C2 tire.

Schumacher, who was limited to just 23 laps on Friday, returned on Saturday in the later session to close out the test. The German enjoyed a productive outing steering the VF-22 – one which included an extended two-hour run into the evening to complete the making up of lost time. It was under the lights at the Bahrain International Circuit that Schumacher set the second fastest time of the day – a hot lap of 1:32.241 on the C4 tire. Schumacher bolstered his seat time in testing with a total of 85 laps on the day.

Kevin Magnussen: “The car has had a few issues and reliability is the main thing we’re working on to be able to run the whole race - that’s the biggest job for us to do. Performance-wise, we have a rough idea. We’ve seen some good trends in the car and we’ll see next week where we stack up but at least the feeling is pretty good.”

Mick Schumacher: “In summary, we obviously haven’t been driving as much as we would’ve liked to. It’s a matter of are we quick or not and that’s what is positive – we are. We have a good car, we have something we can work with so everyone can be really happy and proud of themselves that we’ve achieved that. Now we have to be able to put it down on track when it matters, and that’s next week. I’m very much looking forward to what’s coming this year.”

Guenther Steiner: “A very eventful second test this year with a driver change, and all three of our drivers were in the car and did laps. We had some issues during the test but then we had some good running, successful outings, so for the whole team it was a tough time, but a good time. We’re really looking forward now to the first race. We still have some work to do because we had some reliability issues, mainly small things we just need to fix to be as prepared as we have to be for the first race. I’m really looking forward to it.”


BWT Alpine F1 Team concluded pre-season testing on Saturday with Fernando Alonso logging 122 laps to help the team record crucial data heading into the first race of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship in Bahrain next weekend. The two-time world champion ran the A522 for the entire day and recorded his best lap time, a 1 min 32.698secs, on Pirelli’s C4 tyre to finish third overall on the timing sheets.

Fernando Alonso: “It was a good day of testing for us building on Esteban’s strong work yesterday. We’ve learnt a lot with the car and completed many laps, so I’m pretty happy. We are all still learning about the new cars and set-ups. We’ve tried several things with some clear results, and that’s what you want from testing.

"It was very productive. We don’t know what the others are doing, what programme they are following and how much fuel they have, and we need to wait until next Saturday to know. We’ll focus on ourselves and our plan is to arrive into next week with 100% effort.”

Otmar Szafnauer: “Today marked the conclusion of pre-season testing and we were able to complete a significant amount of work in preparation for next week’s opening Grand Prix for the 2022 Formula 1 season. The last two days have been equally good for Esteban and Fernando with a century of laps for both of them, which has allowed us to finalise our preparations well. It’s also meant we’ve been able to compensate for the loss of track time on the final day in Barcelona.

"We focused a little more on refining set-up and improving many of the finer details. Lots of laps means lots of learning and we’ve progressed the car significantly this week. We look forward to making further improvements in the coming days to continue our preparation in the best possible manner. Next week, we race for real and that’s an exciting time for everyone involved at BWT Alpine F1 Team and for the fans who have waited over the winter for the 2022 season to commence.”


AlphaTauri completed lots of laps without real reliability concerns. While Pierre Gasly concentrated on long runs, his Japanese team mate Yuki Tsunoda conducted lower fuel runs, working on different setup options. The car has been reasonably reliable, but its potential is still a question mark ahead of the Bahrain season opener.

Pierre Gasly: “It’s good to be back to the nice weather here in Bahrain. We’ve had a pretty smooth test from our side, we completed all the program that we had planned for the three days here. We had a lot of question marks coming here and we’ve already managed to get some answers to these. I think we still need to sit down for a few days and review all the data we’ve collected, to try and put the puzzle together, so we can get the best possible car for next weekend.

"Obviously, it’s a new car so there are lots of things to learn, I would say there are still areas that we need to improve for the season but that’s part of the game when you have such a big change in F1. We have a rough idea of where we might be in the midfield, but we still don’t know where we’ll be until next week. It was great having the battle out there with Lewis today, we overtook each other a few times. Following definitely felt like an improvement to the previous car so that’s a big positive for the upcoming season, racing should be quite fun this year.”

Yuki Tsunoda: “We’ve made good progress as a team this week, I’m happy with how this test has gone and we’ve gathered a lot of important data. However, I’m not happy with how my lap went today on the C5 tyre, I think there was lots more potential there but unfortunately, I just couldn’t put it together. There are still lots of things to improve myself, and the car, but I think overall it’s been a good few days of testing. I haven’t driven too much around other cars, but from what I’ve felt so far I think the dirty air is reduced a lot compared to last year, so it’s already easier to follow and I’ve enjoyed it.

"I’ve got a good level of confidence heading into the first race next week. It’s a bit different to last year, as I’ve got more experience, and have focussed more on developing the car with the team. We don’t know exactly what position we’re in at the moment, but we’ve got a couple of days to work before Bahrain. We’ve got a good team and we’ll keep focussed ahead of the first race.”


In an overall productive three days at the Official Pre-Season Test in Bahrain, Williams Racing completed 258 laps in preparation for the new season. Alex Albon was in the FW44 on day one and made the most of his allotted eight hours, completing multiple programmes during his 104 tours of the 5.412km circuit, with only one other Formula One driver completing more on Thursday.

The Thai racer backed this up with a further 18 laps on Saturday to complete a positive pre-season and is now itching for the new campaign to kick off. The team's Canadian driver Nicholas Latifi took charge of proceedings on Friday, but suffered a fire on the rear of the car which restricted his running to just 12 laps. The Montreal-born racer was quick to deploy his firefighting skills, helping the marshalls to extinguish the flames, but the damage caused meant he was unable to take any further part.

Alex Albon: “Pre-season testing is now finished and next time we’re out on track it will finally be a race weekend. We got some good mileage in over the course of the test and I feel like we’ve ticked all our boxes, despite losing some time on Friday. In terms of the car’s performance, I think there’s some more to come from us and I’m excited to keep pushing next weekend and throughout the course of the season to get the most out of the FW44.

“Overall, it’s been a positive and incredibly valuable test and the team have done a great job, especially in some challenging circumstances.”

Nicholas Latifi: “It was obviously not a fully ideal test, specifically with the issue we had on day two, but I think the team did a great job of coming together to make the most of day three.

“There was a lot of good teamwork from both the day and night crew to get the car repaired and all the engineers pulled together to put us in the best position to maximise day three. We did a lot of good work, learned a lot and did a lot of laps. That was good for me to try to make up the lost mileage from yesterday and now there’s a lot of data to go over to see how we can be in the best shape possible for the first race next week.”

Despite a not so ideal Friday, the three-day test provided further opportunities to get the miles in, further develop the car and remedy any issues, as our Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson summed up: “Inevitably, the test was extremely busy and after the damage done to the car early on day two, we had to make a few changes to the plan.

“Although frustrating to lose a lot of track time, we exposed an issue which we have now been able to fix, and we were able to complete 142 trouble free laps on the final day. We have a lot to work through over the next few days before we run the cars again here in Bahrain, but we are in a good position as we head into the 2022 race season.”