A full complement of 17 IndyCar drivers were on track at Sebring on Monday for the first day of the final preseason test, with nearly every team taking time to dial in their setups ahead of the season opener later this month.
It was Colton Herta that set the fastest lap time of the day around the 1.7-mile short course, with his best time coming late in the afternoon after plenty of rubber was laid down on the bumpy Florida track.
He finished just ahead of incoming rookie David Malukas, who piloted his Dale Coyne Racing Honda into the second fastest time of the day.
Outright lap times were not the main order of business, however, and detailed preparations in areas such as nailing down driver-engineer relationships were the main focus.
The track stayed busy as nearly a full field of drivers logged as many laps as they could manage before the sun went down, some in new teams and new paint schemes.
Even though he does not have IndyCar driving duties for the 2022 season, Kevin Magnussen joined the others on track and put in a massive total of 143 laps across the day.
Magnussen, who filled in for an injured Felix Rosenqvist at Road America last year, was driving Alex Palou’s #10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda this week, and was less than a second off the fastest drivers of the day.
Palou sat to the side on Monday but will take over driving duties of his own car on Tuesday, as IndyCar rules only allow one test day for established drivers. Incoming rookies are allowed to take part in both days of the test to gain some valuable extra seat time.
Other veterans that saved their track time until the final day of the test include the Meyer Shank Racing duo of Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, along with both Ed Carpenter Racing drivers and the two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato.