Alonso Criticises Limited Pre-Season Testing as “Unfair”

Fernando Alonso deems the reduced winter testing time in Bahrain, providing only one and a half days per driver, as "unfair".

Lee Parker

By Lee Parker
Updated on February 16, 2024

Mike Krack and Fernando Alonso 2024 Shakedown Silverstone

The format for pre-season testing in Formula 1 has undergone significant changes, moving from two separate four-day sessions, previously held mainly in Barcelona, to a singular, condensed three-day event in Bahrain.

While this change aims to streamline the testing process, making it more efficient and cost-effective at the venue of the season’s first race, Alonso voices concerns over the diminished track time available to drivers. The current approach of utilising only one car per team per day, though aligned with the capabilities of modern simulation technologies for season preparation, results in drivers having merely a day and a half to familiarise themselves with their new cars. This limited time frame poses a risk, especially if early technical issues arise, potentially compromising the already shortened practice schedule.

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“We have a very limited testing in Bahrain,” Alonso said. “I’ve been thinking all winter about this, how unfair it is that we only have one day and a half to prepare a world championship.

“There is no other sport in the world, with all the money involved and with all the marketing and the good things that we say about Formula 1 and being closer and closer to the fans, [where that happens].

“I cannot understand why we then go to Bahrain for four days, which could be two and two for the drivers. If you go to three, which is not even, which is an odd number, you cannot divide between the drivers.

“And I don’t know why we don’t go with two cars. Because we are already in Bahrain, and we race the following week.”

Alonso isn’t alone in advocating for the expansion of winter testing to include two cars per team; Mercedes driver and GPDA director George Russell also supports this proposal.

“Personally speaking, I don’t think three days is enough, because you have got to remember from a driver’s perspective, that is one and a half days per driver,” Russell said last year.

“Could you imagine Rafael Nadal spending 12 weeks without hitting a ball and then going straight into the French Open with one and a half days of training? It just wouldn’t ever happen.

“I understand and recognise why we do that. I think three days with two cars would probably be a good place to be.”

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Lee Parker
Lee Parker

Lee is our staff writer specialising in anything technical within Formula 1 from aerodynamics to engines. Lee writes most of our F1 guides for beginners and experienced fans having followed the sports since 1991, researching and understanding how teams build the ultimate machines. Like everyone else on the team he listens to podcasts about F1 and enjoys reading biographies of former drivers.

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