Ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell of Mercedes tested new Pirelli tire compounds at the Paul Ricard circuit in France on February 1 and 2.
This comes after Pirelli and FIA worked together to test the 2023 compounds since it wasn't possible for them to do it in the packed 2022 race calendar. The test has been done with the 2022 cars and no new developments in the car can be introduced. To ensure this, Pirelli had their observer on the track during the test.
All the teams on the grid are provided with the opportunity of testing the 2023 compound, and Mercedes were on the track on February 1 and 2. George Russell was behind the wheel of the W13 with Lewis Hamilton following him up a day later.
Mercedes had the chance to test the dry compounds, while AlphaTauri will have the chance for wet weather testing of the compounds. This will give the drivers a warm-up drive before the testing session in Bahrain in late February.
Marui Isola, Pirelli's head of motorsport, explained the need for extra tire testing sessions ahead of the 2023 season in Abu Dhabi at the end of November. He revealed that it was difficult to find the time required in the 2022 calendar and said:
"We realized it was impossible with the 2022 calendar, and also with next year’s calendar, to organize all the test sessions we needed. In the regulations, we can use the current cars until December 15 and from February 1 to the first race of next year’s championship, using the 2022 cars. They cannot use the tests in February to develop the 2023 car."
Why do Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have a potential shot at the title after a disappointing season?
Though 2022 didn't turn out to be Lewis Hamilton's year or go the team's way in a broader sense, they have a much better chance to battle for the championship in the upcoming season. This is because of several reasons; the first and foremost is their development.
The final stages of the past season reflected how much the team had improved in contrast to the initial races and Russell also managed to get a victory. Given all the data that the team collected in the entire season, the Mercedes W14 can turn out to be a dominating car.
There are other factors that will positively impact the team. Since the team does not suffer from financial issues, developments won't be too hard for them. Given the time they will get in the wind tunnel, 2023 could turn out to be a bright year for Mercedes.
George Russell's impressive performance in the past season puts him beside Lewis Hamilton for a championship-contending driver