Testing usually passes with hundreds of laps achieved and little indication into whether pre-season promise is genuine cause for excitement or a false dawn ahead of the new year commencing proper.

But, down at MP Motorsport, there are signs that the team may be in store for a solid opening weekend if there testing performance holds up as genuine come round one.

Kacper Sztuka, Tim Tramnitz and Alex Dunne comprise the team’s trident of rookie talent, and all three had moments that stood out during the Sakhir test.

Keeping feet firmly planted on the ground, Team Manager Jeremy Cotterill assessed MP’s work as hugely positive while admitting that it could all change come round one.

“We have been up there throughout the test. All three drivers performed well. They're learning and improving all the time. Obviously, we're encouraged, the whole test has been encouraging but we're not counting any chickens just yet.”

Dunne continued his ‘undefeated streak’ in F3 machinery when the track is wet, carrying on from his impressive wet Imola 2023 post-season test with a session-topping time in the desert rain on day one.

Dunne was quickest on the first morning session impacted by rain
Dunne was quickest on the first morning session impacted by rain

Teammates Tramnitz and Sztuka each showed their own strong pace too, with the former inside the top three on two of the three days when times were at their quickest in the afternoon. The Polish driver was beaming also after he got out of the car on the final day, very satisfied with his work over the course of the test in Bahrain.

For all three to have had such a positive experience ahead of the real racing getting underway is valuable for the team. More importantly though, each driver learned a great deal and were able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances without issue, a crucial factor going into the Sakhir weekend.

“The main thing that I'm pleased about is the progression of the drivers,” Cotterill continued. “From day one their application has been great.

READ MORE: Tim Tramnitz aiming to help MP Motorsport push for F3 title contention

“Alex, Tim and Kasper - they've all done exactly what's been asked of them. Sometimes great, sometimes not so great, but they've learned from it, and they've been able to adapt and progress from it. It's been a useful test.”

Focus now switches to analysis and ensuring the work that went on during testing is maximised for the race weekend. Engineers and drivers will be pouring over the data back at the team’s base ahead of the first race of the season in order to consolidate what has been an “encouraging” few days in Bahrain according to Cotterill.

Tramnitz was competitive throughout the test and looked comfortable at MP
Tramnitz was competitive throughout the test and looked comfortable at MP

As he notes, testing is one thing and racing is an entirely different prospect. Still, there is an air of optimism within the Dutch camp of a potentially strong start to the 2024 campaign.

Factors like track evolution will be critical though, and those teams that are able to get on top of that the quickest stand the best chance of hitting the ground running.

“The biggest thing now is that we need to go back and actually analyse properly and in detail, who, what, where and when. As with everything, we need to sit down and go through it. There's a lot of data produced; a lot of information produced in a very relatively short space of time that needs to be gone through.

Sztuka was pleased with his efforts after the pre-season test
Sztuka was pleased with his efforts after the pre-season test

“Drivers will be in the sim again before the race weekend and all of them are rookies. Testing is one thing; race weekends are another thing totally. The evolution of the circuit - all of these things you can try to explain and try and show or simulate but until you experience it for real, you can’t know for sure.

“Some people will just get to it straight away. Some people go ‘Wow’. Having said that, on a few occasions with F3 testing, it's been almost full qualifying sim, everybody out on new tyres all at the same time battling for the right track position, etc, etc to be able to do their lap.

“The next thing is circuit evolution because through over the three days the evolution has been more gradual than it normally is. But the tests have been encouraging, that’s probably how I would sum it up.”