F1 winter testing will take place in Bahrain this weekend over a shortened three-day session during which drivers and teams will get their first opportunity to get behind the wheel of their machinery for the 2021 season.
All drivers will get a chance to test out the cars which their team’s have spent the winter break working on, and in addition to the official drivers, numerous other figures will get some seat time.
Here, RacingNews365.com breaks down which drivers will be out on track over the weekend.
World champion Lewis Hamilton will be out on track for Mercedes this weekend in the team’s W12, which looks set to be the benchmark for the rest of the field once more.
He will be joined by teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Red Bull will be looking to challenge Mercedes even closer this coming season after falling behind the champions in 2021, but with a new driver pairing and as-yet to be revealed changes to the RB16B for this year, the constructor could come closer than ever.
Dutchman Max Verstappen will be leading the charge during testing, alongside new teammate Sergio Perez who joined from Racing Point at the end of last season.
Verstappen will get a full day on Day One, with Perez taking the full second day, while the latter will have the morning of the Sunday before Verstappen returns to the car for the final afternoon session.
McLaren will be looking to build on their success of last season when they came towards the top of a highly competitive midfield battle, and with a new driver in Daniel Ricciardo they will be hoping to challenge for top spot at some races this season.
Ricciardo will be behind the wheel of the MCL35M for the first time on the morning of Day One, while teammate Lando Norris will follow on in the afternoon.
The famous British marque returns to the F1 grid after a 61-year absence this season, and fans will be able to see the 2021 car in all its racing-green glory out on track for real for the first time during testing this weekend.
Sebastian Vettel will be behind the wheel of the car alongside Lance Stroll.
Fernando Alonso will make his return to an F1 car for the first time at the weekend after a two year absence, stepping into the newly rebranded Alpine team car for 2021.
He will be joined by Frenchman Esteban Ocon, who starts his second season running with the team, previously known as Renault.
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will both be in action for Ferrari over the course of the Bahrain testing weekend.
Leclerc will get the first opportunity to test the SF21 out on track during the Friday morning session, followed by Sainz later on that afternoon.
AlphaTauri had a strong 2020 season including the team’s second victory in its history with Pierre Gasly during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, and they will be looking to build on that success with a strong showing this coming year.
Gasly is joined this season by Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda, who replaced Daniil Kvyat at the end of last season after stepping up from F2.
Alfa Romeo has retained the same driver lineup for the coming season of veteran Kimi Raikkonen alongside Antonio Giovinazzi.
Raikkonen will kick off proceedings during the morning session of the Friday session, with his Italian counterpart getting into the car in the afternoon.
Giovinazzi will then have the car all to himself for the Saturday, followed by Raikkonen who has a full day on the Sunday session.
Haas parted ways with its long-term pairing of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean at the end of the 2020 season, and this year will run with two rookies stepping up from F2 in the form of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
The pair will share time in the car across the weekend, taking one session each on all days, with Schumacher the first in the car on Friday morning.
Williams are the only team to have announced so far that they will include a reserve driver as part of their limited testing time, with Roy NIssany given a full day on Friday behind the wheel.
He will be followed by the team’s full-time drivers this season with Nicholas Latifi on Saturday and Brit George Russel getting in the car for the Sunday session.