Formula 1 - Season 2023 Preview
It's once again time to kick off an exciting season of motorsport's premier competition, Formula 1, this time with a record 23 races across the world. All the teams have now experienced the new rule changes and have been able to adapt their cars in a completely different way. Will Red Bull and Verstappen win their third straight title? Will Ferrari finally get things right with their new team boss? Or will Mercedes regain dominance after a disappointing year they would rather forget? On November 26, we'll know the answer in Abu Dhabi.
FORMULA 1 TV- & STREAMING SCHEDULE
Formula 1 - Race Schedule
The season no longer starts in Australia, but in Bahrain. Many drivers and teams have been critical of the hectic schedule, saying that there is no time for rest. Max Verstappen has even said that it will cause divorces. However, fans can enjoy a full 23 races on entertaining tracks. Here's the full schedule for the 2023 season:
Bahrain Grand Prix - March 5
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - March 19
Australian Grand Prix - April 2
Azerbaijan Grand Prix - April 30
Miami Grand Prix - May 7
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - May 21
Monaco Grand Prix - May 28
Spanish Grand Prix - June 4
Canadian Grand Prix - June 18
Austrian Grand Prix - July 2
Silverstone Grand Prix - July 9
Hungarian Grand Prix - July 23
Belgian Grand Prix - July 30
Dutch Grand Prix - August 27
Italian Grand Prix - September 3
Singapore Grand Prix - September 17
Japanese Grand Prix - September 24
Qatar Grand Prix - October 8
USA Grand Prix - October 22
Mexican Grand Prix - October 29
Brazilian Grand Prix - November 5
Las Vegas Grand Prix - November 18
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - November 26
One race that really stands out this year is the newcomer Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 18. Many drivers are really excited to visit one of the world's top party cities. However, not everyone is positive. Many fans think there are far too many races in the US. Even the track has been criticized as it consists only of a simple square. On such tracks, the power of the car's engine is usually much more important than the driver's skill.
Some other races that always attract attention are the classic Monaco and Silverstone in the UK. It is the home race for several drivers including Lewis Hamilton. However, in terms of the audience, it is the Dutch grand prix that attracts the most attention. Here, home favorite Max Verstappen and his orange army take over completely. It's an incredible atmosphere that has to be experienced on site. This year there is another Dutchman on the starting line in the form of Nick de Vries.
New drivers on the grid
It's always exciting to see how new drivers fare on the grid and this year there are some really exciting names to keep an eye on. In Mclaren, fan favorite Daniel Riccardo gave way to another Australian named Oscar Piastri. He has long been considered one of the hottest talents in Formula 1 and has been watched by many. So it was Mclaren that picked up the potential winning ticket. Can Piastri together with Lando Norris ensure that Mclaren once again becomes a stable midfield team.
Haas chose to end their collaboration with Michael Schumacher and instead choose a new driver. Nico Hulkenberg will once again drive full-time after being a reserve driver for the last three seasons. Incidentally, he is the longest-serving driver in Formula 1 without a single podium finish. There have been 181 Grand Prix. Will he finally break the record that no one wants?
Two untested drivers take their place
Max Verstappen is no longer the Netherlands' only driver as Nick de Vries takes his place in AlphaTauri. De Vries doesn't lack for credentials. In 2019, he won Formula 2 before moving to Formula E and Mercedes. Here he drove three seasons and finished one of them as champion. However, he is perhaps best known for his stint with Williams last season. When Alex Albon was forced to have an emergency appendectomy, De Vries took his place in the car. He finished in an honorable 9th place and scored points in his first ever Formula 1 race.
Last but not least we have the American rookie Logan Sargeant who will drive for Williams. The British team has been a bit of a punching bag in recent years and is keen to reverse the trend. Now the question is whether Sargeant can do it together with Albon? Sargeant comes from Formula 2 where he finished 4th in the championship.
Rule changes for the new season
Every season there are a number of rule changes to make the races more consistent and fun. The one that is most important for the audience to keep track of is that there will now be significantly more sprint races than last season. This year there will be as many as 6. The sprint races were introduced in the 2021 season and replace the classic qualifying on Saturday. The first sprint race will take place in Azerbaijan.
A sprint race is basically a shorter race of 100 kilometers. There are no pit stops and it is all about getting to the finish line first. The winner of the sprint gets 8 extra points and also starts on the coveted pole position for Sunday's race.
Favorites to win the world championship
The big question before each season is, of course, which drivers and teams will fight for the coveted titles. There is both a world championship for the drivers and one for the teams. There are many indications that it is once again Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes who will fight for the win. Last season, it looked for a long time as if Ferrari would win its first championship since Kimi Raikkonen in 2008. Charles Leclerc had a comfortable lead until the mistakes started to happen. Then Verstappen and Red Bull took the chance to win their second straight championship.
Ferrari's chances during the season
Ferrari had by far the fastest car last year and Leclerc claimed 9 pole positions. However, not many of these ended with a win. This year Ferrari has a brand new team manager in Fred Vasseur, formerly of Alfa Romeo. They also have the same hungry drivers in Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. Many experts believe that Ferrari will be a candidate for gold as long as they get everything right. The team's biggest problem has often been a lack of strategy. This is something they need to solve if they are to have any chance in 2023.
In Ferrari there is also a potential problem between drivers. Leclerc is currently the lead driver and the potential world champion. However, Sainz has also shown that he can win races and is a strong driver. If Sainz gets a better start than Leclerc, there is a risk of conflict. Here it is important that the new team manager Vasseur can keep both drivers in check.
Can Mercedes get back to the top?
Mercedes had a terrible start last year and a car that jumped and bounced around the track. Their star driver and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had great difficulty adapting to the new regulations and car. The longer the season went on, the better it looked and they even managed to take a victory via George Russell. It came in one of the last races in Brazil. Now the question is whether Mercedes can continue to ride this wave and become a team that once again fights for victories and titles?
One question many are asking is whether Lewis Hamilton still has the strength and motivation to stay on top. He is now 38 years old and has several projects on the side. In Mercedes, there is also uncertainty about who is actually the first driver. George Russell finished higher in the standings last year and took the team's only victory. Will there be a rift between these drivers if Mercedes are once again fighting for the podium. Mercedes has had problems with driver conflicts in the past with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton often clashing. However, there is no doubt about what Mercedes are capable of when they get it right.
Will Red Bull and Verstappen take a third straight victory?
Red Bull is a team that evokes strong emotions. They were long behind Ferrari last season and Verstappen was quick to show his displeasure with the team. However, they managed to reverse the trend and eventually took a fairly comfortable victory. This time they also won the constructors' championship, which is great for the whole team. Red Bull has found a winning concept and a winner in Verstappen. He is a driver who never backs down, for better or worse. This is also why he divides fans into two camps, those who love him and those who hate him.
Unlike the other teams, Red Bull has had a clear second driver in Sergio Perez. However, we saw last season that there can also be conflicts in Red Bull. Verstappen refused to pass Perez in one of the last races, which cost him second place in the championship. Something that caused Verstappen to be heavily criticized. Despite this, there is no denying that Red Bull is one of the strongest candidates for gold.
Other title contenders
The three teams above have dominated Formula 1 for many years and there is no indication that this will change this season. However, we have seen that other teams can challenge in individual races. For example, many expect Mclaren to be on the podium at least once this season. Other teams that are likely to challenge in single races are Alpine and Aston Martin. The latter team managed to sign veteran and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. He showed last season that he still has what it takes.
Expectations for the first race of the season
On March 5, the drivers and cars will once again be on the starting line for the first race of the year. Not surprisingly, most betting companies and experts have Max Verstappen as a clear favorite. However, we know that anything can happen in the first race of the season. Is Red Bull's car really as reliable as everyone thinks it is? Last year, Leclerc took the victory at this track because Verstappen had to retire.
Other potential candidates for the first win of the year are Mercedes drivers Russell and Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Saturday's qualifying session will give us a good clue as to which teams have actually been most successful with this year's car.
All indications are that we are in for another thrilling season in Formula 1 and that we will see many iconic races during the season. Already on March 5, we will get answers to some of our questions. One of the main ones, of course, is whether Mercedes have put 2022 behind them and are once again fighting for wins. Hamilton still has the chance to become the most successful driver of all time with 8 championships. Currently, he has 7 championships just like Michael Schumacher. Otherwise, we hope for another exciting battle between Leclerc and Verstappen in many races. It is also exciting to see which teams will not live up to expectations. At the moment, Williams, Haas and Alfa Romeo are expected to stay at the back of the grid and not get involved in the podium battle in any way.
Author: Dan Anderson