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The five losers from 2023 pre-season F1 testing

With pre-season testing over, the teams now have a better idea of where they stand against their rivals. Some, however, might be having to play catch-up.

After looking at the five standouts from Formula 1 pre-season testing , now it's time to see who is having to play catch-up. With the first race of the season a few days away, it seems there will be a few teams that will need to spend long days sorting out their problems. RacingNews365.com takes a look at the five losers from pre-season testing in Bahrain, starting with McLaren.


It's never a vote of confidence when a team admits they are "not entirely happy" with the car they plan to use in testing. For McLaren, the signs that this would be a difficult test had already started to brew, but it was not until the team were seen working frantically in the garage instead of pounding out laps on track that the reality started to sink in. Only 312 laps were completed between Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, the lowest of any team throughout the entire test . For the laps they did complete, it appeared they were only scraping the top 10 in terms of pace. In an out-of-character moment, Norris was allegedly seen punching a wall while waiting to get back into the car. Chief Executive Zak Brown admitted they failed to meet their pre-season development targets, while Team Principal Andrea Stella has said they are not a top four team at the moment. It feels like this could be a difficult start for a team that was comfortably one of the best of the rest last year.


It was a very low-key start for a team that were boasting about their ambitions during their car launch. On the face of it, one could be forgiven in thinking the A523 is pretty much similar to Alpine's 2022 car, as the team ran a very stiff set-up on the opening day which induced a lot of porpoising in the car along the straights. This set-up was likely owing to the team wanting to gauge their aerodynamic set-up, which is more aggressive this year. A look at their times during the race runs suggests there is a lot of consistency within the car and, with the team set to bring upgrades to the first race, they may emerge higher up the field than it appears from their testing form.


It's not been the worst test from Mercedes. Comparatively from last year they are looking in much better shape, but it's clear their early optimism about the W14 was masking some underlying issues that are persistent in the car. The team claim they have solved the bouncing problem, but another issue with their floor design might still be throwing up some inconsistent results with their car balance. It was notable when Lewis Hamilton was seen throwing his hands up in the cockpit – seemingly in frustration – during his timed runs on the harder compound tyres on Saturday, as the car struggled for traction on corner exit. The hydraulic issues on Day 2 were a big set back for the team, as they ended the test having completed a total of 398 laps – seventh on the overall list of teams. George Russell believes they can get to a point where they will challenge for Red Bull , but conceded that any chance of a win would be "a bit of a stretch".


Although AlphaTauri completed the most amount of laps out of any team – 456! – during pre-season testing, the car was not the step forward they hoped it would bring. Nyck De Vries struggled a lot with understeer during his timed runs, which was reminiscent of their 2022 car that was overweight. A look at the best sector times from the final day show De Vries at the bottom, while Yuki Tsunoda was slightly further up – likely owing to the fact that the car runs well on softer compound tyres and low fuel. Talk of the sale of the team means that this season will be crucial to deciding their future as part of the Red Bull family.


The Williams looked similar to their 2022 car out on track, with the lack of downforce evident as Alex Albon fought to get lap time out of the FW45 during his timed runs. Unsurprisingly, Logan Sargeant spent most of the test building up his confidence in the car, which often meant his laps looked scruffy. James Vowles has already pinpointed his first priorities since taking over the reigns as Team Principal weeks ago, but it seems like it will be another season of making it to Q3 being a "success" for F1's popular tail-ender.

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