When does F1 testing start? 2023 calendar, race schedule and how to watch on TV
The countdown to the new Formula One season continues with pre-season testing just around the corner. Taking place in Bahrain this week, it will be a chance to see the newly unveiled cars in action on the track ahead of the opening race on March 5.
When does pre-season testing take place?
Unlike last year, there is only one pre-season test before the 2023 season. That runs over three days from Thursday, February 23 until Saturday, February 25 at the Bahrain International Circuit, just outside of Sakhir.
Is F1 pre-season testing on TV?
Yes, in the UK, Sky Sports F1 will broadcast every minute of action across the three days of the first test in Bahrain. F1's own F1TV will also broadcast every session of the three-day test.
What times do the sessions take place?
Pre-season testing will take place in a slightly altered format, with an extra 30 minutes a day due to each session being lengthened by 15 minutes.
Overall, though, the format is roughly similar to what came before with a 4hr15min first session and a 4hr15min afternoon/evening session with an hour lunch in between. With the final session taking place in the evening, the cars will be running under lights as will be the case in the Bahrain Grand Prix itself.
The exact timings for each of those on each day are below:
Morning session: 7am-11.15am GMT
Lunch: 11.15am until 12.15pm
Afternoon session: 12.15pm until 4.30pm
Unlike in usual race weekends, each team will run just one car each day. Sometimes they choose to have one driver in for a full day, other teams split the duties, with one driver in for one session and the other in for the second. With just three days of track time before the season begins, we may well see a lot of swapping.
Read below for more information on the 2023 season
What is the latest news?
Stroll in Bahrain GP doubt after bike accident
By Tom Cary, Senior Sports Correspondent
Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll is in a race against time to make the opening grand prix in Bahrain on March 5 after a cycling accident in Spain.
Aston Martin confirmed on Monday that the Canadian, son of team owner Lawrence Stroll, had been involved in what they described as a “minor accident”. His injuries are sufficiently serious to force him to skip this week’s pre-season test in Bahrain.
The team added: “Lance is however expecting a quick recovery and return to driving duties. His fitness to return to the cockpit will be assessed daily and the team will issue an update ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“The team wishes Lance a speedy recovery and looks forward to his usual energy and commitment within the team.”
With just one week between the test and the first race, however, Stroll’s participation cannot be guaranteed.
When is the first Grand Prix race of 2023?
The first grand prix of the 2023 season is also at the Bahrain International Circuit, running from Friday 3 until Sunday 5 March.
How many F1 races will there be in 2023?
There will be 23 races on the calendar this year, starting in Bahrain on March 5 and culminating with the season finale in Abu Dhabi on Nov 26.
What new races are there in 2023?
The brand new Las Vegas Grand Prix will be the penultimate race of the season, a week before Abu Dhabi.
Where and when will the six sprint races be this year?
Formula One has announced the six sprint venues for 2023 with Azerbaijan, Belgium, the Austin race in the United States and Qatar all joining Austria and Brazil in staging qualifying on Friday and a shortened ‘sprint' race on Saturday.
Three sprint races were held in 2022 – at Imola, Austria and Brazil – with much discussion in the early part of the season about expanding that offering for next year.
The teams and F1 were keen to double the number, arguing that sprint races have been successful in engaging fans and increasing audience sizes. But the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body, initially resisted, claiming that it would cost them more and asking for compensation.
Like last year, too, points will be given to the top eight drivers in the sprint race. Again, the sprint races will be approximately 100km – or roughly a third of a grand prix distance – and will run on Saturday, with the traditional three-part qualifying setting the grid for the sprint and taking place on the Friday.
The driver who tops qualifying on Friday, when these sprint races take place, will be awarded the official pole position, not the winner of the sprint, as was the case in 2021.
What do the 2023 cars look like?
Red Bull RB19
Alfa Romeo C43
take it all in 👌 up close and personal with our brand new AT04 💙 pic.twitter.com/qOMzYBVGdM
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) February 12, 2023
Aston Martin AMR23
What are the driver line-ups?
Max Verstappen (1) and Sergio Pérez (11)
Lewis Hamilton (44) and George Russell (63)
Carlos Sainz (55) and Charles Leclerc (55)
Esteban Ocon (31) and Pierre Gasly (10)
Lando Norris (4) and Oscar Piastri (81)
Valtteri Bottas (77) and Guanyu Zhou (24)
Lance Stroll (18) and Fernando Alonso (14)
Kevin Magnussen (20) and Nico Hulkenberg (27)
Yuki Tsunoda (22) and Nyck de Vries (21)
Alexander Albon (23) and Logan Sargeant (2)
What is the full calendar?
5: Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir
19: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah
2: Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne
30: Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku +
7: Miami Grand Prix, Miami
21: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola
28: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo
4: Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona
18: Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal
2: Austrian Grand Prix, Spielberg +
9: British Grand Prix, Silverstone
23: Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest
30: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps +
27: Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
3: Italian Grand Prix, Monza
17: Singapore Grand Prix, Singapore
24: Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
8: Qatar Grand Prix, Lusail +
22: United States Grand Prix, Austin +
29: Mexico City Grand Prix, Mexico City
5: Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Sao Paulo +
18: Las Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas
26: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
+ Denotes sprint event weekend
How to watch the season
As has been the case for some time now, in the United Kingdom, Sky Sports F1 have near exclusive coverage rights for the season. They will be showing all practice sessions, qualifying sessions, sprint qualifying and races throughout the season.
Channel 4 will have their extended qualifying and race highlights again, with the British Grand Prix in July broadcast live.
If you are outside of the UK you may also be able to subscribe to F1’s own F1TV for a monthly fee throughout the season.