Max Verstappen will give the Red Bull RB16B its first extended run out on Friday when Formula 1 pre-season testing gets underway in Bahrain.

The Dutchman will drive for the whole of the first day before handing over to Sergio Perez on Saturday.

The pair will then share driving duties on the final day of the three-day test at the Bahrain International Circuit.

 

 

Compared to previous years, testing will run over three days rather than eight as a way to save costs and due to the regulations remaining fairly stable compared to last season.

Red Bull launched its RB16B last month and already completed a shakedown at Silverstone handing Perez his first opportunity to drive Red Bull machinery.

The Mexican was drafted in for 2021 as a replacement for Alexander Albon as Red Bull hopes to close the gap to Mercedes.

While Red Bull rarely had the car to beat Mercedes over the course of 2020, it often had only one car in the mix with Albon often fighting in the midfield.

The signing of Perez should allow Red Bull to have a two-pronged attack against Mercedes as it looks to win its first drivers' and constructors' championships since 2013.

Red Bull finished a mammoth 254 points adrift of Mercedes and it will be hoping it has ironed out the problems it suffered during 2020.

2021 marks Honda's final year in the sport before bowing out at the end of the season.

Red Bull will continue to run Honda's power unit technology after F1 agreed an engine development freeze

Ahead of the new season, Perez said he's “in the best shape of my life” and is “hungrier than ever”.