Nine teams to complete shakedown runs ahead of pre-season testing

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Eight of the ten Formula One teams will have completed a shakedown test ahead of the sole three-day pre-season testing that is set to get underway at the Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó reports on teams' final preparation for the pre-season Bahrain test.

Except the official pre-season testing and the post-season tyre test, teams have hardly any opportunities to carry out on-track testing. If a team wants to give their junior drivers a chance of driving an F1 car, they can only use older machines under the Testing of Previous Cars (TPC) provision. That is an opportunity McLaren have already used in the past two years to give IndyCar racers Colton Herta and Pato O'Ward the chance of proving themselves in an F1 car.

Pirelli also carries out in-season test to perform tyre test aimed at the following season. The Milan-based tyre supplier has worked with several teams over the course of the past years, carrying out sessions. Although outfits can use their actual car, but only in 'blind' conditions that means that they have to use the setup Pirelli dictates and they can only use parts that have been already used in previous race weekends. On top of that, Pirelli shares the information gained during these runs with all the other teams, helping them with the car development.

Moreover, every F1 outfit is entitled to carry out two 'Promotional Events' - or filming days - during a year with their current challenger. Many teams elect to run at least one of the days prior to pre-season testing, using the opportunity to check the basic functions of their brand-new cars.

While teams were only allowed to 100km during a filming day, a tweak to the regulations this year has seen the maximum track time increased to 200km.

While teams are restricted to Pirelli’s special 'demo' tyres during these filming days and weather often hinders running at this time of the year in Europe, many outfits feel it is vital to check out the electronics, the power unit and the installation of key components of their car to be able to hit the ground running when they arrive at Bahrain.

A total of four teams opted for a shakedown run at Silverstone, using a different layout of the circuit that hosted the inaugural F1 race back in 1950. Mercedes, Aston Martin, McLaren and Red Bull have all performed the first run with their brand-new car in Silverstone with the weather having been rather unfavourable on those four days.

The Sauber-run F1 team that will run under the banner Stake F1 Team in the next two season ahead of its transition into Audi’s works outfit, flew to Barcelona for its shakedown test, trying to get the best of the usually favourable Spanish weather.

Formula One’s two Italian teams, Ferrari and the freshly-rebranded Visa Cash App RB outfit performed their shakedown runs in Italy. The Scuderia carried out a filming day in Maranello in sunny conditions right after unveiling its new SF-24. The team let both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz get behind the wheel of the heavily-modified car while they recorded a significant amount of footage that can be used throughout the season for promotional activities.

The former Toro Rosso / AlphaTauri outfit that has gained a new identity for the upcoming season took it to the track at Misano that is located only a one-hour drive from their Faenza factory.

Speaking with, Daniel Ricciardo spoke about his first impressions of the car and their ambitions heading into the new season. He said: "From a feeling, it was just nice to get a few laps again after a Christmas break. It's hard to know yet where we will be but I felt really good getting behind the wheel again. Being back with Red Bull was already something that made me feel whole again, being back with that family.

"And now this year it's another phase of this team's 'career'. It's a time when we're no longer seen as just a Red Bull kind of junior team. It's a team that's standing on its own two feet."

Alpine showed off its new car quite early, but they are yet to gain experience with it on the real race track. The Anglo-French outfit is set to complete a shakedown test in Bahrain, a day before the pre-season testing gets underway.

Williams is the only other team to refuse to perform any on-track running ahead of the collective three-day running in Bahrain. According to team principal James Vowles, the Grove-based outfit wanted to gain more development time before the trip to Bahrain.

“To answer your question on Silverstone, we could easily have run down there. But there is a balance between doing the virtual track test in Silverstone, and I’d much rather want to spend time dedicated to the virtual track test, and then basically film it, rather than shake it down, in Bahrain. Silverstone, I have several feelings towards it. I’ve done it for a number of years. And sometimes you get some really good things out of it.

“Sometimes you’re running around on X-Rack tyres in a blustery condition with your bit of equipment falling over, and you don’t learn a single thing. And that balance means I’d much rather do virtual track testing, and then bring the car to Bahrain where we can do that properly.

“And then furthermore save that [second] filming day for later in the year, where we either need footage, or we need some other professionals or artists to be added.

“So a bit of it is we’ve pushed ourselves to the absolute limit. A bit of it is we actually need far more in doing other testing, if you like to call it that, and use Bahrain as the opportunity to get started,” he concluded.