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George Russell

Russell, Alonso criticise lack of F1 winter testing

GPDA director George Russell and two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso have both voiced concerns about the lack of testing available in 2023.

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George Russell and Fernando Alonso have both criticised the amount of pre-season testing available to Formula 1 drivers ahead of the 2023 season.

Testing is due to start on Thursday 23 February for a three-day event at the Bahrain International Circuit, which will also hold the season-opening Grand Prix the weekend after.

With teams splitting driving duties equally between their two drivers, each will only receive 1.5 days – equivalent to about 13 hours each in the car before the first race, notwithstanding any red flags or car problems.

Alonso could be set to receive more following the news that teammate Lance Stroll has been ruled out of the test for Aston Martin following training injuries.

But, speaking at their respective launches before the news broke, both the two-time World Champion and GPDA director Russell were not happy.

Russell voices testing concerns

"Personally speaking, I don't think three days is enough," Russell explained when asked by RacingNews365.com about the lack of testing available.

"You've got to remember from a driver's perspective, that is one-and-a-half days per driver and we were fortunate to do the [Pirelli tyre tests], but if we had not, that would have been getting on for 12 weeks out of the car from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain.

"Could you imagine Rafael Nadal spending 12 weeks without hitting a racquet or a ball, and then going straight into the French Open with one-and-a-half days' training? It would just never happen.

"I understand and recognise why we do that, and I think three days with two cars would probably be a good place to be and the best compromise for all the reasons they're trying to limit it, but right now, one-and-a-half days per driver is too few."

Alonso – who, like Russell, has driven his team's 2023 car in a shakedown at Silverstone – agreed with the Briton's assessment.

"I think that [F1] is the only sport in the world that you do one-and-a-half days of practice, and then you play a World Championship," the veteran of 355 Grand Prix starts said.

"There is no other sport in the world [that does this]."

Also interesting:

Ahead of the 2023 F1 season, RacingNews365.com journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth look back on a winter break laden with intrigue and controversy.

F1 pre-season testing 2023 RN365 News dossier

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