What are you watching first???We have Pre-season testing AND we have Drive to Survive season 5!
AND THEN we have the 1st Grand Prix of the 2023 season.
It's the moment we've all been waiting for -
F1 is finally back (ish).
Today marks the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain! I've been on the edge of my seat for what feels like an eternity, but now the teams, drivers, and cars are finally returning to try out their new 2nd generation ground effect cars on the track!
If you are not up to speed with pre-season testing, it’s a group session where Formula 1 teams get to run their cars on the track and prepare them for the upcoming season. This year, teams will only have three days to test, and it’s taking place at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain.
What the teams want is to get the car's setup perfect and manage any issues with reliability. What they don't want to see is porpoising! That’s the fancy F1 word for bouncing, something many teams struggled with last year.
I love Pre-season testing because there are some unique sights and terms that you don't usually see or hear during regular Grand Prix race weekends. There is both STEM themes and competitive strategy. Here are three new vocab words that could be helpful if you plan on watching!
An aerorake is like a big comb attached to the car that engineers use to understand how the air flows over the car as it moves. They can be attached at different parts of the car to see if the air is going where they want it to go. In the ABCs of Racing, we learned that aerodynamics is critical to race cars, helping them stick to the ground and get better grip in the corners. That’s exactly what these fence-like devices are testing for. Pretty neat if you ask me!
Flow Vis (short for visualization 👀) paint is a special paint 🎨 that F1 teams use on their cars to see how the air moves around the car💨. The paint gets added to the car in certain spots before hitting the track. As the driver races around the circuit, the paint moves around, revealing where and how the air flows! Where is it smooth? Where is it not so smooth? This is helpful real-world testing to supplement the engineers’ work done in wind tunnels. It's like a big science experiment on wheels! 🧑🔬👨🏽🔬🧪⚗️
Sandbagging is when teams make their cars seem slower than they are on purpose! It’s like playing a game with your friends where you don't show your best moves until the end (by the end, I mean the first race of the season). That’s right, teams in F1 may not drive as fast as they can during pre-season testing so they can keep their true potential hidden from the competition until the real show begins! Sooo sneaky! I love it.
Just make sure you don’t fall for all this F1 trickery! Remember, this weekend's timesheets may not tell the full story, so we’ll have to wait until the Bahrain Grand Prix to see the cars go flat out!
-Andy Amendola, Founder of Red Racer Books
Don't worry I didn't forget about Drive To Survive! The hit Netflix show made by Box to Box films is what got me into F1 racing.
Based on episode titles alone this season will be exciting!
If you want to learn more about F1 cars before they get back on track, then check out my book "All About Race Cars"