Formula One: Who should we keep an eye on for 2023?

The 2023 Formula 1 season is set to begin this weekend, and there is optimism for Red Bull and Ferrari

Formula 1’s 73rd consecutive season is set to get under way on Sunday 5th March 2023 with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc got his 2022 campaign to win the driver’s championship off to the best start, finishing in pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix, ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz and 7 time world champion Lewis Hamilton.

It was also an excellent start for Ferrari as a team, picking up 43 points after the first race.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was second in the championship until the Spanish Grand Prix, where he took the lead after finishing in pole position ahead of Charles Leclerc. Verstappen now had a 6 point lead, whilst his team took a 19 point lead at the top of the constructors’ championship.

Verstappen secured victory at Suzuka, securing a second successive world championship title with four races remaining. This race was shortened due to rain, and the Dutchman crossed the line first and claiming the title after Leclerc was handed a five second penalty.

His team, Red Bull, won the constructors championship as well.

Max Verstappen will be looking to win his third successive World Championship in the 2023 season, and he is unsurprisingly the favourite to win the Championship once more. He has reasons to be optimistic as well.

Following pre-season testing, Red Bull showed some great pace, with Verstappen setting a fastest lap, before teammate Serio Perez recorded the fastest time of any driver with a time of 1:30.305. Verstappen completed a total of 157 laps on Thursday, with 413 laps being completed as a whole.

Mercedes had a disappointing 2022 season overall. They finished 3rd in the Constructors Championship, whilst Lewis Hamilton finished 6th in the Drivers’ Championship with 240 points.

Improvement at the end of the season included a first victory for British driver George Russell since he joined the Silver Arrows from Williams. This will provide optimism coming into the season.

Mercedes were third fastest overall in pre-season testing with a time of 1:30.664 recorded by Lewis Hamilton. Only Alfa Romeo (Valtteri Bottas – 1:30.827) and Red Bull got faster times.

Ferrari are amongst the favourites for the constructors’ championship, with their drivers (Charles Leclerc & Carlos Sainz) also being many peoples’ picks for the drivers’ championship. Leclerc recorded his team’s fastest time of 1:30.024.

Fernando Alonso is seen as another as a driver who could mount a surprise title challenge with Aston Martin. The car looked fast and agile in pre-season testing with a fastest time of 1:31.440 recorded by the two time world champion.

McLaren look to be heading for a disappointing 2023 season with a lack of aerodynamic efficiency on the car and their fastest time amongst the slowest with a time of 1:32.160 recorded by Great Britain’s Lando Norris.

Haas and Kevin Magnussen surprised people with a time of 1:31.381, whereas Williams and Alpine recorded the slowest times of the day. Logan Sargeant recorded a time of 1:32.549, whilst the slowest time, 1:32.763 was recorded by Alpine’s Pierre Gasly.

Pre-season testing does not necessarily mean that teams and drivers will thrive, nor does it mean a struggle. A clearer picture of those who are likely to finish near the top or the bottom of the championships coming a few races into the season.

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