The 2023 Formula 1 season is upon us, so with the first race weekend in Bahrain coming up fast, a preview is in order. New drivers and old drivers shifting teams mean there are a lot of changes to the grid this season, and while the general pecking order of teams isn’t likely to change dramatically, pre-season testing revealed some possible storylines for what’s to come.
With that said, let’s dive right into every hot topic you should know about for the 2023 season.
Red Bull is still on top … for now
Red Bull and Max Verstappen walked away with both the Driver Championship and the Constructors’ Championship last season — with the help of Sergio Perez — so it’s no surprise that Red Bull are still the favorites to win this season. The 2022 F1 season saw all-new cars with fresh designs that caused a big shake-up in the running order, pushing Mercedes down and propelling Ferrari and Red Bull to the top.
Pre-season testing revealed many things for 2023, but it’s safe to say that Red Bull is still the one to beat going into the first race weekend. How Red Bull’s performance progresses as the season goes on is still to be seen, though. Being the champions last season, Red Bull is automatically given less wind tunnel time for development this season. Plus, the penalty for breaching the 2021 cost cap will cause Red Bull even more time wind tunnel testing. Ferrari is close on Red Bull’s heels, so there could be a fight for the top all season long.
Could Aston Martin have a breakout season?
The biggest surprise of pre-season testing was Aston Martin’s pace. Fernando Alonso joins Aston this year, leaving behind Alpine and Otmar Szafnauer for what he believes is a better chance at being near the top. After testing concluded, Alonso’s pace in race distance testing painted Aston’s performance in a very happy place. The real question will be where exactly Aston will find itself on a race weekend. Mercedes is still expected to at least be the third-best team on the grid, but if Aston Martin found something special with its 2023 car, there could be even more problems for Mercedes than everybody initially thought.
Despite all of the good news for Aston as of late, Lance Stroll is still questionable after a cycling accident.
Mercedes and McLaren have a rough start
The two teams that disappointed most in pre-season testing were Mercedes and McLaren. Mercedes’ driver lineup remains the same for 2023 with Lewis Hamilton and George Russel, but numerous technical issues limited the amount of testing Mercedes was able to perform, and the car still lacked performance versus top runners like Red Bull and Ferrari.
McLaren had reliability problems, too, leading it to run the fewest miles of everybody in Bahrain. Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri (making his F1 debut) will have their work cut out for them when the racing starts, as fewer validation miles with concerning performance could put McLaren on the backfoot to start the year.
What about the American?
Yes, once again, an American driver has made it to Formula 1. Logan Sargeant will become the first U.S. driver in about 8 years to take a place on the grid. Alexander Rossi was the last American to race in F1, and before him, it was Scott Speed who was dropped in the 2007 season. Needless to say, American drivers haven’t fared well in F1 so far this century. Sargeant will be racing for Williams this year, and while he won’t be competing for wins, the Williams wasn’t looking half bad in pre-season testing. In his first season on the grid, Sargeant will have more home races than any other driver, as F1 comes to Miami, Austin and Las Vegas in 2023.
Las Vegas looks to be a spectacle
Formula 1 has made the new race in Las Vegas into quite the spectacle of hype for 2023. The series brought cars, drivers and teams there in the off-season to shoot hype videos, and a ton of marketing online has seen F1 highlight Vegas. The street circuit will see F1 cars hit the infamous Las Vegas strip and zip by the outrageous hotels. It’ll also be the only race on the calendar held on a Saturday instead of a Sunday, breaking tradition. News of it being the most expensive ticket on the race calendar in 2023 keeps circulating, too, which only seems fitting for the city where everybody goes to lose money.
It’s going to be a long season
With 23 races on the schedule this year, the 2023 F1 season promises to be the longest season of F1 ever. It’s scheduled to come to a close on November 26 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where we can hope to see a fight for the championship just like the dramatic ending of the 2021 F1 season. With all that said, below you’ll find the schedule of events coming at you this year. Set your alarms or get recording, because there’s a lot of good racing to come.
March 5 – Bahrain Grand Prix
March 19 – Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
April 2 – Australian Grand Prix
April 30 – Azerbaijan Grand Prix
May 7 – Miami Grand Prix
May 21 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
May 28 – Monaco Grand Prix
June 4 – Spanish Grand Prix
June 18 – Canadian Grand Prix
July 2 – Austrian Grand Prix
July 9 – British Grand Prix
July 23 – Hungarian Grand Prix
July 30 – Belgian Grand Prix
August 27 – Dutch Grand Prix
September 3 – Italian Grand Prix
September 17 – Singapore Grand Prix
September 24 – Japanese Grand Prix
October 8 – Qatar Grand Prix
October 22 – U.S. Grand Prix
October 29 – Mexican Grand Prix
November 5 – Brazilian Grand Prix
November 18 – Las Vegas Grand Prix
November 26 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix